Jason OMahony - Irish political blogger, Irish politics, EU politics

Massachusetts: Americans just don’t like each other.

Posted by Jason O on Jan 26, 2010 in US Politics

Republican Scott Brown: Senator for some of Massachusetts.

Republican Scott Brown: Senator for some of Massachusetts.

There has been a lot of analysis as to how the Democrats managed to lose what should be their lock seat in the Senate special election. But one fact seems to be missed by Europeans. See, we just don’t get it: How could anybody be against universal healthcare? Even people like me on the centre-right believe that affordable healthcare is a must. Yet on a turnout of 54%, which is respectable if not spectacular, 52% of Mass. voters voted for a candidate who is openly hostile to the president’s plan. Of course, there are mitigating factors: Mass. voters already have universal healthcare (Brought in by Mitt Romney when he was Mitt Romney.) and it seems that the Democratic campaign was a bit lacklustre, but the fact is, they lost what should have been a solid seat. Why?

Europeans talk about social solidarity, and it is, for the most part, bollocks, and usually a code for people in cushy state jobs to demand that actual wealth creaters pay more tax to keep them in the lifestyle to which they have become accustomed. Having said that, it is hard to imagine crowds of Europeans taking to the streets to deny other Europeans healthcare rights. Yet, not in the states. Deep down, Americans don’t really have the same connection to each other. Just look at gun sales: Who are they buying guns to protect themselves from? Bin Laden? The French? Nope. From each other. During the LA riots and Hurricane Katrina, Americans took to their roofs and properties with guns to protect themselves from other Americans, and that’s why healthcare is not the slam-dunk it would be in a European country.

One other thing: If I hear another Republican talk about the need for bipartisan support and to bring this thing “Back to the drawing board” I’ll puke. The Republicans controlled Congress from 1994-2006, and the White House from 2001-2009, and did damn all to fix healthcare, so it’s a bit rich to suddenly start talking about the need to work together in this. The fact is, most Republicans regard poverty and hardship as self-inflicted, which explains why they don’t really give a damn. The sad thing is, they may well speak for the majority of Americans on the issue.

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