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Web Letter

I can't agree with Mr. Schell's contention that Scott Brown's election in Massacusetts reflected voter ambivalence rather than voter anger. The main reason Brown won was that he tapped into a deep vein of revulsion against Obamacare.

Voters detested the sleazy backroom deals that Obama orchestrated despite his pledge that all healthcare negotiations would be covered live on C-SPAN, and they were outraged by his insistence that the Medicare programs that retirees depend on would be cut by $500 billion in order to pay for new entitlements for younger people still earning a living in the workforce. I don't live in Massachusetts, but if I did, that Obama scheme to slash Medicare funding would have been all that was needed to persuade me to vote for Brown. Here's why. If it weren't for very costly heart surgery paid for by Medicare, I wouldn't be alive today.

In short, it's no accident that Brown's 5 percent margin of victory over Coakley exactly matches the 5 percent margin by which voters in Massachusetts and the rest of the country have told polltakers they oppose Obamacare.

As for your suggestion that Obama has been too conciliatory and needs to swerve to the left to save his presidency, you can't be serious. What voters want most today is more jobs, and good private-sector jobs can't be generated by raising taxes or increasing the size and powers of the federal bureaucracy.

As I argued in a Baltimore Sun op-ed last July, the only way to induce employers to put workers back on their payrolls is to enable cash-strapped consumers to buy their products and services by giving families tax rebates averaging about $950 per quarter for at least four quarters. This would cost the government about $400 billion (roughly a third of its individual income tax revenue over those same four quarters), but it would be well worth it. Even if only half the money flowed from consumers' pockets into employers' payrolls, it would still be enough to put 4 million people back to work.

With a twelve-month payoff like that, there's no better investment the government could make.Too bad Obama is too much of an ideologue to realize it.

John D. Hartigan

Chevy Chase, MD

Jan 31 2010 - 1:15am

Web Letter

Do Jonathan Schell and the readers of The Nation really want to understand Massachusetts? Let me try to explain:

You lost.

fred gill

Oakland, CA

Jan 30 2010 - 11:15pm

Web Letter

The stimulus package? Obama said that if the stimulus package were passed, unemployment would not go above 8 percent. The package got passed... and have you looked at unemployment lately?

And here's Obama, in his own words, about his latest healthcare lie: "The last thing I will say, though--let me say this about health care and the health care debate, because I think it also bears on a whole lot of other issues. If you look at the package that we've presented--and there's some stray cats and dogs that got in there that we were eliminating, we were in the process of eliminating. For example, we said from the start that it was going to be important for us to be consistent in saying to people if you...want to keep the health insurance you got, you can keep it, that you're not going to have anybody getting in between you and your doctor in your decision making. And I think that some of the provisions that got snuck in might have violated that pledge" (courtesy of Real Clear Politics Com).

Excuse me? "Snuck in"? "Stray cats and dogs"?

Clearly, Obama should be chief animal control officer, not chief executive.

Jack Davis

Phoenix, AZ

Jan 30 2010 - 6:47pm

Web Letter

While the president did choose to run when our country faced a number of unique challenges, the "climate change" challenge he apparently faces is a bit specious.

First, climate change is a constant. Second, climate change occurs over geologic time--not mere decades!

I would posit that the leaders of our nation who had to contend with real climate change were Presidents Washington through Taylor--after all, they had to contend with the "Little Ice Age"--and there is evidence that cooling periods tend to have greater adverse impact on our species than warming periods.

STEPHEN GRABE

Seminole, FL

Jan 30 2010 - 6:25pm

Web Letter

"The election of Brown, who opposes cap and trade, could kill that hope, and with it the hope of a serious global agreement to curtail greenhouse gas emissions. All of which is how his election could end the world as we know it." ROFLMAO--you people are unreal.

Dennis Kosin

Aurora, IL

Jan 30 2010 - 4:36pm

Web Letter

I've been a New Deal, New Frontier, Great Society Democrat for sixty years. I voted for Scott Brown, contributed to his campaign, held signs for him on heavily travelled streets, wrote supporting letters to my local weekly and contributed to two groups that endorsed him, the Massachusetts Citizens for Life Federal Political Action Committee and the Coalition for Marriage and the Family.

I've studied Roe v. Wade, and I'm convinced it was a bad decision on strictly constitutional grounds. I'm convinced the same is true of the Massachusetts SJC's Goodridge decision on marriage. Both decisions represented extra-constitutional intrusions by the courts into what ought to have been dealt with legislatively. They were profoundly anti-democratic.

The Democratic Party at the national level and also in Massachusetts has marched in lockstep with the most extreme advocates of the abortion liberty. And in Massachusetts the legislature, dominated by Democrats, caved in the face of the Goodridge decision. Thus, the party has ignored Democrats like me who would support the party on economic and distributional grounds. The fact that the party took Democrats like me for granted was driven home to me in a dramatic way by the manner in which Robert Casey of Pennsylvania was treated at the 1992 Democratic Convention.

Brown gave me a rare opportunity to vote for a candidate who was open to reasonable regulation of abortion consistent with the jurisprudence of Roe v. Wade, and who supported those of us who wanted a chance to defend our Constitution against the illegitimate extension of judicial power represented by Goodridge. The Brown candidacy provided an opportunity Massachusetts Democrats rarely get, and in my heavily Democratic section of Boston we gave Brown the edge over Coakley.

Francis M. McLaughlin

Boston, MA

Jan 30 2010 - 12:11pm

Web Letter

Rather than obstructionism, Massachusetts voted for progress in a different direction.

Congress should incorporate a mix of what the majority of both parties can agree upon. For example, interstate sales by 1800 insurance companies would provide plenty of competition, while allowing business federations for purchasing insurance would also lower costs.

Meet halfway and make progress!

John D. Froelich

Upper Darby, PA

Jan 30 2010 - 11:16am