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Independent Voters Roared!
By Kathy Hare

Analysts are analyzing. Pundits are spewing. Democrats are reeling from the loss of “Teddy’s Senate Seat.” And Republicans are gloating way too much about an “historic upset” that had little to do with the party. Yes, the voters of Massachusetts certainly gave the nation something to talk about on January 19, when they overwhelmingly handed Rep. Scott Brown the victory Dem. Martha Coakley thought was rightfully hers. But their yet unheralded message has not gotten through to the major political parties. Independent voters won the day in Massachusetts, proving the two-party system does not rule American politics.

Now Massachusetts residents already had a state health care system – thanks to former Republican Governor Mitt Romney. So they had no problem electing a presidential candidate who promised to implement a national health care plan in 2008. But as a candidate, Barack Obama said health care reform would be debated in the open. In fact, he promised to broadcast the bill’s senate negotiations on C-Span. But once the Democrats realized they held a filibuster-proof majority, transparency became a national joke. Instead, the president gathered behind closed doors with a few top ranking Democrats, where the only thing missing from the Chicago-style backroom atmosphere was the cigar smoke.

If it was “politics as usual” on January 19, Martha Coakley would have won the election and the “Health Care Reform Deals” would have become law. Nebraska would be exempt for all eternity from any increases in Medicare costs. Senator Mary Landrieu would have taken $300 million worth of pork home to Louisiana. And United Auto Workers’ high-priced “Cadillac” health insurance policies would be exempt from taxation until 2018. These are just three of the most publicized deals to come out of the health care debacle; many more are buried in the depths of a document few have read. So no one should have been surprised when Massachusetts voters displayed their displeasure with the status-quo on Election Day.

But when I heard Pat Buchannan, former Republican presidential candidate, bloviating about what “great things” Brown’s victory means for the Republican Party, I had to scream! First of all, only 11 percent of Massachusetts voters are registered Republicans. So the party can huff and puff as much as it wants, but mathematics doesn’t lie. It’s more factual to say Brown won the election in spite of his party affiliation. Furthermore, should Brown decide to run for higher office, he will be crucified by extreme right-wing Republicans, such as Buchannan, for his pro-choice stance. However, Buchannan ignored those facts, and went on to proclaim that all any Republican candidate has to do to win in November is “run against Obama.”

Granted, people are so disgusted with the current financial crisis that it’s just possible Buchannan’s strategy may work this fall. But maybe not! Read a variety of political blogs. Voters are no longer interested in the same tired rhetoric both parties dish out, only to do as they please once elected. And they’re truly fed-up with having to choose between candidates from the extreme fringe of the leading political parties. That is the message both Democrats and Republicans should have taken from Brown’s victory; but neither did.

The Democrats have allowed the far left, hell-bent on a socialistic agenda, to seize the day in their party. At the same time, no candidate can make any headway in the Republican Party unless they have “family values.” That quaint phrase means you want “Roe vs. Wade” to be overthrown. Your views on a free-market economy, smaller government, or national defense mean nothing, there’s no place for a candidate in the Republican Party who doesn’t have an anti-abortion bumper sticker on their pick-up truck. Ok, unless that candidate hails from Massachusetts, Vermont, or Boulder, Colorado.

The Tea Party people have already noticed that both major parties are ignoring the majority of their constituents. Mainstream politicians love to dismiss this group as a rag-tag bunch of anti-government fools. But many Tea Party members are active voters who are disenchanted with the two-party system. Other political groups are sure to emerge, especially if Democratic and Republican extremists continue to put their own agenda before what is good for the country.

Party leaders should remember there’s no law saying we must have a two-party system in this country. As independent voters decide more elections, more independent candidates will appear on the ballot. They will enter office with the freedom to judge issues based on the best interest of the people they represent – instead of party interests. That’s what Massachusetts voters wanted and got. Their victory cry is loud and clear. Independent voters roared!

And still, the potentates are deaf.

First published in The New Falcon Herald
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