Corporatist Liberalism Victorious in Massachusetts

At Ballot Access News, Richard Winger provides the results from yesterday's special election in Massachusetts:

At the point at which 94% of the vote had been counted in the special U.S. Senate race in Massachusetts, the vote was: 1,148,400 for the Republican nominee; 1,029,600 for the Democratic nominee; 22,100 for the Libertarian who was running as an independent candidate. The percentages at that point were: Republican 52.2%; Democratic 46.8%; Libertarian independent 1.0%. Here is a newspaper interview with the Libertarian candidate, Joseph Kennedy, conducted after the results were known.

Yesterday, at the Humble Libertarian, W.E. Messamore compared liberal Republican Scott Brown's candidacy with that of independent Libertarian Joe Kennedy:
One candidate supported a major tax increase on the people of Massachusetts. The other opposes tax increases on principle. One candidate supported and helped pass Massachusetts' 2006 universal health care law. The other opposed it. One supports President Barack Obama's foreign policy. The other is unequivocally opposed to it. One is a lawyer. The other is a businessman with a background in information technology, computer science, and business management. One was born to a political family, and held signs for their father at a young age. The other was born to poor immigrants and adopted as an infant by a pastor and his wife. One supports the nanny state and agrees with Barack Obama's opposition to gay marriage, but support for civil unions. The other believes government should stay out of the issue of marriage altogether. One supports the Federal government's role in taxing income, regulating education, and allowing the Federal Reserve Bank to continue printing money out of thin air. The other adamantly opposes all three.

The first candidate in the comparisons above is not Democrat Martha Coakley . . . The first candidate is actually Republican Scott Brown, who as a state senator voted for a major tax package and Romney's universal healthcare plan, who supports Obama's reckless troop surge in Afghanistan, and who is a career lawyer and politician. The second candidate is the Libertarian Party candidate in the Massachusetts' Special Senate Election, Joe Kennedy.


Donald Borsch Jr. said...

I knew it, I knew it, I knew it! what? He's in. Did we all get hopped-up on someone who is just a moderate Conservative?

Dammit! I feel like an idiot now.

Rich V. said...

You've raised some very good points here. While Mr. Kennedy actually comes far closer to my point of view, I think that Mr. Brown is the correct choice for MA at the moment. AS a movement, we have to start with baby steps...if we can't elect the candidates we WANT...we have to start with those who are CLOSE to our positions on issues.

Only then, after we've begun moving the entire state away from the statist pap they've been served up for 100 years...unlike NY-23 where the conservative candidate was actually electable, while the GOP candidate was not, Mr. Kennedy isn't electable AT THE MOMENT! But this can change if we begin the work of educating the electorate that the government isn't the solution to every problem.

Rich vail, Pikesville, MD

Samuel Wilson said...

The problem with the electorate is twofold. There are many people who may need to be convinced that "government isn't the solution to every problem," but there are others who occupy the opposite extreme, believing that government isn't the solution to any non-military problem. Those people also need some education if moderation rather than ideology is to prevail.

As for last night's voting, it looks to me as if the last-ditch Democratic electioneering drive scared a lot of potential Kennedy voters into supporting Brown to prevent a late Coakley surge. Kennedy seems to be right, however, in saying that this was a single-issue campaign, but it remains unclear whether Bay Staters merely repudiated the current federal health-care reform plan or declared themselves against a human right to health care on principle.

d.eris said...

Rich, just to be clear, and just in case it wasn't, the comparison between Brown and Kennedy is from the Humble Libertarian blog. And THL's comparison is on the ball. It is almost incomprehensible to me how so many people who, for instance, derided Scozzafava in NY-23 as a "radical leftist" (i.e. much of the conservative blogosphere) can turn around three months later and assert that Scott Brown's election is the second coming of the American Revolution. I say "almost" because the reason is all too obvious. Many of these people are not interested in anything other than playing along with the Democratic-Republican duopoly charade, while pretending that their actions demonstrate they are something other than establishmentarian partisan hacks.

You make a good point about the "baby steps". In this race, MA independents demonstrated that they control the outcome of state elections. It bodes well for future independent campaigns there, as long people do not fall for the propaganda of Democrats and Republicans masquerading as independent candidates.

Sam, I'm not sure if it was a one-issue campaign for anyone other than those who experienced it vicariously. Maybe a lot of MA indies are just sick of voting for Democrats and reproducing the one-party state, and so "stuck it" to them by going with the Republican. The ironic thing here is that with this choice they may have also "stuck it" to conservatives by going with such a liberal Republican. (Sorry Donald!)

d.eris said...

On the one issue campaign angle: a search for some data does support your point though Sam. Rasmussen, for instance, states: "Data released earlier in the evening showed that the health care issue was most important for voters in today’s election. Twenty-two percent (22%) of Democrats voted for the Republican candidate Scott Brown."

Cecil Moon said...

While criticism of Brown may well be warranted, as is criticism of nearly every politician who ever ran for anything, I believe that you are all overlooking the most important factor. Coakley came to the contest with a CV laden with corrupt action in her job as AG. Further, her patrician and ignorant attitudes served only to distance her from the elctorate.

Brown represented the one best hope to stop the Democrat takeover from a constitutional republic which we have watched diminished over the last few decades. If you want perfection you should turn to God and not man.

I am certain that Kennedy has many valid points and we would probably enjoy lunch together. His candidacy however, only served to offer an alternative to the very realistic chances of Senator Brown. His cause was not served by his presence in the race but only as a distraction. If O is to be twarted--and that is necessary for our mutual preservation--we must put our egos on the shelf and work to our mutual benefit in every circumstance.

d.eris said...

Cecil, the framing of the issue you assume is the standard partisan prism of the Democratic-Republican two-party state and duopoly system of government. The choice between Coakley and Brown, as between Democrats and Republicans more generally, is a false choice. I do not dispute that Coakley's ignorance is matched only by her arrogance. This is a safe assumption with regard to any professional, careerist politician, whether Democratic or Republican, and hence it holds for Brown as well. What is necessary for "our mutual preservation" is the dismantling of the Democratic-Republican two-party state and the duopoly system of government. Voting Republican because they are not Democrats and voting Democrat because they are not Republicans does nothing to address this problem, but rather reproduces and compounds it. See, for instance, my ten theses toward a critique of the Democratic-Republican two-party state and the duopoly system of government.

You cannot "stop Obama" by electing Republicans, just like Democrats could not "stop Bush" by electing Democrats, because Democrats and Republicans are nothing more than symptoms of one another, representing two aspects of the very same problem: the all-consuming power of the global warfare and corporate welfare state.

Sparky said...

Thanks for the info but Oh crap! Like Donald, I knew it! Republicans are still corrupt. Oh well. I just hope this does stop Comrade Zero's and Nazi Pelosi's complete progressive takeover. Maybe next November we can get some REAL Liberarians in office and give us REAL change!
Sparky :)

Cecil Moon said...


I understand your thesis and could easily come to agree with you. However, I would suggest that this situation is like a fire in your house. Upon discovery, you are ill-advised to be thinking of increasing your insurance, fireproofing the area around your stove, moving into a more secure home, buying more fire extinguishers or doing any thing which does mot immediately contribute to suppressing the fire and insuring you and your family’s safety. Get them out of the house, pour water on it, call the fire department, cover it with blankets and devote your entire energy to solving the problem at hand. Only after the immediate danger is past can you afford the luxury of contemplation to avoiding peril in the future.

Our nation is in immanent danger. We are (possibly were) faced with advancing socialization of our peoples. There is a clear and present danger which must be faced now---not tomorrow. Obviously, no Democrat is going to come to our rescue. Several have had the opportunity and failed to rise to any bait other than a bribe for themselves or their state. No current Libertarian that I am aware of has the power (votes) or general appeal to accomplish it either. So, until the current threat is met and repulsed, we may well have to depend upon a Republican (Ugh!) to get the job done. This is in no way offered in opposition to your thinking on a possible alteration of electoral processes.

Personally, in a debate, I would much prefer offering the proof of the positive. It is a much more comfortable posture. In this circumstance, we, collectively, are much stronger presenting the negative aspects of the current administration because they constantly feed the accumulation of evidence of their malfeasance. Regardless of Senator Brown’s inner most thoughts on governance, he has presented an unheard of circumstance in fighting off an established political machine in which he has drawn mightily upon a pure citizen response. Like him or not, it is a remarkable accomplishment.

At this particular moment, I truly believe we are better served by unity and resolve than theoretical and divisive alterations of our system. Once the fire is out—let the rebuilding begin.

Samuel Wilson said...

d., my Republican (self-described "conservative") informant firmly denies the premise that Brown is a closet liberal, RINO or "to the left of Dede Scozzafava." He dismisses such claims as Libertarian propaganda, though to be cynical about it I could see Democrats spreading the story. This comes with a caveat that my informant doesn't necessarily know more about Brown than he hears on talk radio.

I could comment on some of the hysterical remarks left here regarding the Obama administration but I consider your blog a place where we should stand down from our maximum ideological demands.

d.eris said...

Cecil, I don't think you see my point here. You write: "until the current threat is met and repulsed, we may well have to depend upon a Republican (Ugh!) to get the job done." My point is precisely that the election of Republicans is not a solution to the problem, that they cannot "get the job done," because they are part of the problem which is the Democratic-Republican two-party state and duopoly system of government. To borrow your analogy, the Democratic and Republican Parties, the duopolist dynamic itself, is the fire burning this house down. I have used this analogy before myself, likening the Democratic and Republican parties to gangs of arsonists, and likening those who support Republicans and Democrats to folks who call up the arsonists in an emergency because they think arsonists specialize in putting fires out.

I am not calling for "divisive alterations of our system". I am calling on people to declare their political and intellectual independence from the Democratic and Republican Parties and from the discredited ideology that binds us to the two-party state and the duopoly system of government. And on the basis of this, I am calling for a change in our voting habits.

I most definitely agree that "we are better served by unity and resolve." What Democrats and Republicans want is division and hesitation, they want people to think in terms of lesser evilism, they want people to be afraid to to put their vote where their mind is, because it serves their end, which is the reproduction of Democratic-Republican two-party state and the political status quo.

d.eris said...

Sam, I don't think Brown is a "closet liberal." Given his record, it seems like it's all pretty out in the open, at least from what I've read of his record. That many Republicans are in denial about this, doesn't change the facts. I don't think this is libertarian propaganda either, unless applying conventional Republican definitions of 'liberal' to Republicans who fit the mold makes one a libertarian propagandist, that is. Democrats, on the other hand, have been consistently referring to him as a "hardcore conservative." It seems like standard duopolist ideological Rorschach phenomena.

"I consider your blog a place where we should stand down from our maximum ideological demands."

That's an interesting observation (especially since I tend to highlight the maximal demands of the major ideological groups, whether progressive, liberal, moderate, conservative or libertarian). For people from across the ideological spectrum to have a decent ongoing conversation this is probably necessary in some form. And Poli-Tea readers certainly span the spectrum. But maybe this is the case only at the beginning, and the articulation of maximal difference would tend to emerge over time. I guess we'll see.

Cecil Moon said...


I get your point but your insistence upon confusion over the cause of the threat does not allow me to agree. The danger, first and foremost, is the all out attack on the Constitution of the United States and our total existence as a people. I disagree that the two-party system is the cause of this departure from the founder’s intent. While they may provide an ill-intentioned affect, they are not the root cause. You choose to ignore or deny that a third force may be operative.

The first hint of an outward manifestation of this attack occurred during the administration of Woodrow Wilson with, among other things, his backing of the League of Nations. The other social programs which have done so much damage have been gradually added through subsequent administrations and the individualistic nature of the country has eroded with long lasting damage.

Today we are assaulted by the Cloward-Piven strategy which calls for bankrupting our nation’s treasury, creating chaos in our financial system, de-emphasizing our industrial capacity, providing manufactured crisis, and the subsequent replacement of our existing government. The former are easily identified with programs already in place or pending in legislation before the congress. Those who promote this thinking would love nothing better than to see the disappearance of the two party system and replaced with European style coalition government. Having a Democrat, Libertarian, Republican, Socialist, Workers, Tea Party, Labor, Whig, and Free Love Party would be the ideal to supply the chaotic mess required to further their agenda.

In the long term, I would be delighted to see a congress made up of citizen legislators of independent mind and will. I favor term-limits to prevent the likes of the Kennedy/Byrd dynasty. Educating—especially with our current educational establishment—330 million people to such a change is a daunting process and lengthy. I have to stick with my analogy. We do not have the luxury of reforming our republic to such an idyllic condition. We face immediate problems which require solutions which we may have available now. I am also not willing to believe that each and every politician is absolutely corrupt and evil. I submit that I do indeed understand what you and I both would desire. I just don’t think we have the time available before the complete collapse of the nation to implement it.

d.eris said...

Cecil, I have not said that "the two-party system is the cause of this departure from the founder’s intent." Rather, I would be more inclined to state that the two-party state and the duopoly system of government IS this departure itself. And this does not exclude the possibility that some malevolent "third force" is at work in government and society, (whether one thinks that is best represented by progressive Democrats or conservative Republicans). On the contrary, the centralization and monopolization of political power by and in the Democratic and Republican Parties under the two-party state and duopoly system of government is the condition of possibility for the deployment of those forces. My claim is that this centralization and monopolization is thus itself a malevolent force in our society and government.

btw, what you call the "Cloward-Piven strategy" bears a strikingly close resemblance to what others call "capitalist globalization."

It should also be noted that we pretty much already do have a "Democrat, Libertarian, Republican, Socialist, Workers, Tea Party, Labor, Whig, and Free Love Party." The problem is that Democrats and Republicans have rigged the system so that they control who obtains elected office, even though the majority of Americans are neither Democrats nor Republicans. As the Modern Whigs like to say, political competition is a good thing.

You may be satisfied with a lesser evil. I am not. Lesser-evilism is the ideology of Republicans and Democrats everywhere. I prefer to speak of twin evils.

I don't think changing our voting habits has to be "a daunting process and lengthy." We can do it in the next election. The slogan is very simple: anyone but the Democrats and Republicans. I'll stick with the analogy too: the house is still on fire, are you going to call up the arsonists thinking they'll put it out, again?!

Samuel Wilson said...

There's probably an unlimited number of "malevolent forces" at work in society, often at cross purposes. The fallacy of duopolist thinking is the reduction of this chaos to one big menace that can only be thwarted by an equal force. Take off the bipolarchy lenses or the ideological shades and you're more likely to see these forces in their individuality, as well as less likely to see them all as "malevolent." That recognition has to happen if people of disparate philosophies are to act together to deal with the crippling structural problem of the two-party system. Progressives, libertarians, greens, tradtional conservatives etc. have to find common ground. If none exists, this country may not have a future.