So it appears the race to fill the Senate seat formerly held by Ted Kennedy is a toss up. A dead heat. A nail biter.
Or will it be a landslide for Mr. Brown?
At this point, I suppose anything could happen.
A former President could tip the scales for Ms. Coakley. The current President might. And I certainly hope they do, because I’m still rooting for Ms. Coakley, for the same, single-minded reason I articulated Tuesday when I started this accidental series: I want health care reform to pass, and I don’t see how that happens if Mr. Brown is elected.
Even so, I’m less inclined to fret over the outcome today than I was earlier this week. I knew the facts Tuesday, but now I’ve made peace with them: I can’t cast a vote in this race. My other obligations won’t allow me to contribute in any meaningful way to Coakley’s campaign. And even if I could, the voters of Massachusetts will elect the candidate of their choice, not mine or anyone else’s.
I’m also less inclined today than earlier this week to make radical proposals, like bolstering one party (the Democrats) in order to make all parties meaningless. As you might recall, Jim Geraghty suggested that proposal was less than moderate. I countered, on the pages of this blog and in an email to him. But after more time to think about it, plus more time to consider the equally critical perspectives of others — e.g., my friend Dennis Sanders’ point of view — I offer this mea culpa: My original proposal was, in fact, immoderate.
That does not mean this blog is immoderate; this blog is not defined by one writer or one post. Nor does it mean, I’m immoderate; despite my passion on issues such as health care reform and stem-cell research — not to mention my occasional, all-too-human lapses in judgment — I think I’ve otherwise proven my moderate credentials. (You, of course, will be the final judges.)
Regardless, I’m now prepared to admit that the concept of gutting the power of parties by seeking an ultra-super-majority for one party was nothing even close to moderate. I’m also willing to admit that, despite my emotion-driven outburst Tuesday, I will continue to vote (by and large) for individuals rather than parties. I’ll also continue to vote for balance.
Case in point, and this will probably shock my progressive readers: In the 2008 race for Congress in Missouri’s Second Congressional District, the district where I live, I voted for Republican Todd Akin; the very same election in which I voted for Barack Obama. Their politics couldn’t be more different. I’ve already explained ad nauseum why I voted for Obama. I voted for Akin for two reasons: I’m convinced he has integrity and, agree with him or not on every issue, I believe he provides a necessary counterbalance to the current, progressive-inclined office holders from the other two Congressional districts covering the St. Louis Metro-West area.
Of course, none of this changes my attitude toward political parties. I still think they’re more trouble than they’re worth. Nor does this mean I’m willing to accept the premise — expressed by Geraghty in our email exchange and later by one of the commenters on the last installment to this series — that political parties are a function of human nature. I’ll concede that coalitions are a function of human nature. But there’s a difference, I think, between coalitions and parties. Coalitions rise and fall. Parties seem to live on, far past the point of their usefulness.
Net: I will continue to advocate for the abolition of political parties — or, failing that, a reduction in the power and influence of the two major parties — because I consider these parties, as currently constructed, a scourge; they distort the political process through gross oversimplification, the stifling of nuance and the dumbing-down of debate. (Much as I did with my earlier proposal.) But I will not vote all Democrat, nor will I vote all Republican.
Frequent commenter DLS suggested there’s no need to apologize or defend. But I think it’s important I acknowledge what I now consider a mistake. Of course, others might respond that there was no mistake; that I was right the first time. They might also chastise me for backtracking. So be it. Life goes on. But this series of posts, hopefully, does not.