‘Brown Democrats’

Eighty-two percent of them said they want a public option as part of the Democrats’ health care reform.

Yet they just helped elect a guy who opposes the public option and the Democrats’ health care reform.

They’re Obama voters who cast ballots for Massachusetts’s new Republican senator, Scott Brown. He promised to be “the 41st vote” against what the GOP slams as “Obamacare.”

The 82 percent number is from a Research 2000 survey taken right after the polls closed in the special election to fill the unexpired term of the late Sen. Ted Kennedy. He championed health care reform, including a robust public option.

The poll was conducted for three liberal groups who favor a public option – the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, Democracy for America and MoveOn.org.

Progressive Change says the poll number means “even Scott Brown voters want the public option, want Democrats to be bolder.” Thus, the Democrats should get busy and pass health care reform with the public option, Progressive Change says.

The poll number hit me differently. It reminded me anew of Pogo’s immortal words: “We have met the enemy and he is us.”

I’m a union-card carrying Hubert Humphrey Democrat. I support a public option. But you can bet your snow boots if I were a Bay State voter, I’d have trudged through a blizzard to cast my ballot for Martha Coakley, Brown’s Democratic opponent.

Don’t get me wrong. The House and Senate Democratic health care plans don’t go far enough for me either. But I don’t see the wisdom of showing my displeasure with the president I voted for (and plan to vote for again in 2012) by helping elect a Republican who says he and the Democrats have gone too far on health care.

I suppose the pro-public option Obama voters who backed Brown figured they were casting a “protest vote.” I read where one woman said she was a “Brown Democrat.”

Motives for voting don’t matter when ballots are tallied. “Protest votes” count the same as the votes of true believers.

Other Obama voters helped sink Coakley by not voting. Both she and Brown said turnout would be the key in the election.

The Democrats hold a big-time voter registration edge over the Republicans in Blue State Massachusetts, though most voters are signed up as independents. Brown’s only chance was to turn out the GOP base and pick off a big chunk of independents – most of whom vote Democratic — and Democrats who feel disaffected for one reason or another.

A lot of Obama voters evidently did stay at home. The Research 2000 folks also polled some of them. Eighty-six percent said they favor the public option. I guess like the “Brown Democrats,” the no-shows wanted to “send a message.” No doubt Brown is thankful for their service to him, too.

I don’t know if Sen. Brown or his campaign staffers are planning to pass out Most Valuable Player awards. But if they are, I’d like to nominate the Obama voters who “want a public option, want the Democrats to be bolder” but who didn’t vote or voted for a candidate who is anti-public option and is the new hero at Fox News.

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About Berry Craig

Berry Craig is a native Kentuckian, a professor of history at the West Kentucky Community and Technical College in Paducah and a freelance journalist. He is a member of the American Federation of Teachers and the Kentucky Education Association/National Education Association. He is the author of True Tales of Old-Time Kentucky Politics: Bombast, Bourbon and Burgoo, which he describes as "a strictly non-partisan chronicle of our political past from Gov. Isaac Shelby to Gov. Ruby Laffoon."
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5 Responses to ‘Brown Democrats’

  1. Berry

    The majority of voters here in Massachusetts are Independents. They no doubt carried the election for Brown, not Democrats. The wrong impression is getting tossed around that it was Democrats. Although there were no exit polls, it is clear to people in the state who know this that Brown woo’d the Independents and Democrats did not.

    See the link here for voter enrollment in MA (“unenrolled” are Independents):
    The Commonwealth of Massachusetts – Enrollment Breakdown as of 10/15/2008

  2. Berry

    The other part of all of this is that thankfully team Obama has learned something from this loss in MA. What will happen with the healthcare bill remains to be seen, hopefully it will pass.

  3. cadmium says:

    All the national spin on this election totally neglects the local factors.
    The Brown family are local media stars.
    There are many more conservatives in Mass than people think – they are mostly independents.
    Latent racism is alive and well in Mass and many voters crave a return to rule by stron gwhiet men
    Talk radio is right wing and pervasive – that includes Sports radio which was pushing Scott Brown ostensibly for sports related reasons: Shilling/Flutie, Daughter Ayla BC basketball star, Coakleys mistake in saying Shilling is a Yankee fan. Sports radio has a larger audience than news/talk
    Brown flooded the media and still had 4 million left over.

    I could go on —> but the election was more a popularity contest than a referendum on issues.

  4. jacksmith says:

    A LINE IN THE SAND – From jacksmith – WorkingClass



    My Fellow Americans and People Of The World

    A strong Government-run MEDICARE like Public Option is STILL! CRITICAL!

    We have had a long hard struggle to find out what would be the BEST! that this congress and the Whitehouse could do to fix our highly dangerous, poor quality, most costly, and MOST! disgraceful healthcare delivery system in the world. It is clear that congress can do much more for the American people than what is proposed so far.

    It is clear that congress can pass a strong GOVERNMENT-run public option CHOICE. Available to everyone on day one. Expand Medicare and not levy any new taxes on workers healthcare benefits and plans. LET THIS BE YOUR LINE IN THE SAND!

    Lastly, there can be NO! INDIVIDUAL MANDATES without a strong Government-run MEDICARE like Public Option CHOICE. Or the American people WILL! and SHOULD! revolt with an all out CIVIL WAR against congress and this Government.

    House and Senate progressives and the tri-caucuses should aggressively push for the inclusion of a strong Public Option, Medicare expansion, and no new taxes on workers healthcare benefits and plans. If the obstructionist kill meaningful healthcare reform, then you should kill this bill. Because it will be far worse than the healthcare disaster we have now. It’s failure will be on the obstructionist heads. And they will be punished and replaced.


    What is proposed in the Senate bill is the worst case scenario for health-care reform. It would shift trillions of taxpayer, public and private dollars into the hands of the private insurance industry (The single most costly, deadly and dangerous product sold in America). And it would compel by law millions of Americans to financially support this oxymoronic criminal enterprise. You cant have a individual MANDATE WITHOUT A STRONG PUBLIC OPTION CHOICE!

    You will have NO! realistic way of controlling cost and quality. Cost will continue soaring through the roof bleeding the American people dry, and KILLing our economy. And our quality of healthcare will continue to decline below our current ranking of “WORST! quality of healthcare delivery in the developed World”.

    From the very start, the American people have been crystal clear about what they wanted. They wanted a humane single payer system like the rest of the developed world has (HR676). Or at least a humane strong GOVERNMENT-run public option CHOICE!! This is what the American people gave the democrats control of the house, control of the senate, and control of the Whitehouse to do.

    Those of you that can, should prepare now to remove every member of congress that fails to support YOUR healthcare reform with a strong Public Option, Medicare expansion, and no new taxes on workers healthcare benefits and plans. Run against them in teams if you have to. But take them out. And replace them with a strong single payer or PRO PUBLIC OPTION CHOICE candidate.

    Now! is the time to bring maximum pressure on your members of congress. Contact your representatives and spread the word.

    The Public Option http://tinyurl.com/yfftf76


    I have to tell you now that the H1N1 virus is a man-made WEAPON OF MASS DESTRUCTION! and TERROR! It is a WEAPONIZED version of a flu virus. It has swept the planet infecting millions. And causing a global pandemic that has killed tens of thousands, and injured millions.

    The H1N1 virus is the product of the DISGRACEFUL, GREED DRIVEN PRIVATE FOR PROFIT MEDICAL INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX! It was released in the U.S. in Texas in early January of last year, but not recognized until around April 2009 in California. The reason I know this is because when it came to America, it came to see me FIRST! How sweet…

    This was around the time the MEDICAL INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX! assaulted the Whitehouse with all their devils deals to cripple and weaken YOUR! healthcare reform. Especially your right to have a single payer system like HR676 (Medicare For All) which most of you wanted.

    They don’t even want you to have your HUGE!!! compromise position of a strong government-run MEDICARE like Public Option CHOICE. To compete with their DISGRACEFUL, GREED DRIVEN, MURDEROUS, PRIVATE FOR PROFIT PRODUCT (The single most costly, deadly and dangerous product sold in America).

    They also wanted to take away your rights to have your government meet it’s responsibility to use it’s full power to regulate, negotiate, and control drug cost, healthcare cost and quality. Something every other civilized country in the developed World has done for it’s people. Their Greed! moral degeneracy and lack of patriotism knows no bounds.

    Many of you will remember that before we knew about H1N1. I posted a open message to the President and Congress warning them to be vigilant about their health, and cautious about any medical advice they received. As I said then “they will not hesitate to try and hurt you”.

    The U.S. and the World have been under a BIOLOGICAL TERROR ATTACK! for over a year now. It is CRITICAL that We The People Of The United States take away control of our healthcare system from the GREED DRIVEN MEDICAL INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX!

    For our own National security, and the security of the world.

    A Strong, government-run, MEDICARE like Public Option CHOICE. Available to everyone on day one, with the full unfettered power of the federal government to regulate, negotiate, and control cost and quality. Would be the most workable way to deal with this global crisis at this time. Including patent suspensions as needed for national security or the greater good.

    As an American I invite the peoples of the World to help us fix our healthcare crisis. And bring pressure on our government to meet it’s responsibility to protect global security by controlling, and removing the corrupting influence of GREED and the PRIVATE FOR PROFIT motivations from healthcare in the U.S. and around the World.

    I call on the governments of the World and the global intelligence community to track down these MASS MURDERERS, and bring them to justice. CONNECT THE DOTS! And be vigilant that they don’t slip in another viral strain on you under the cloak of H1N1 sequestration.

    Further, the proposed patent protection on biologic’s must be stripped from the US bill. And greatly shorten/restricted, or abolished completely. This is a grave danger to humanity and global security.

    I think President Obama is doing the best he can at playing the disastrous deck of cards he inherited from the previous administration. And I think he is doing an excellent job. But the wolves and devils of the medical industrial complex! are trying to exploit, and take advantage of his good heart, and desperate desire to help suffering Americans. But we must be strong and insist that healthcare reform be done right for the American people. Or everyone loose’s.

    This is all I can say in a message post. I’ll try to find a way to tell you more later.

    God Bless You My Fellow Human Beings

    jacksmith – Working Class

    p.s. The so-called nominal H1N1 virus is designed in such a way as to make it more lethal to children and young adults. The medical community must be more vigilant of secondary bacterial infections in the young caused by H1N1. And remember, a viral infection is also a transfer of genetic code to you. Think about it, and be vigilant. 🙁

  5. JackSmith

    Ummm… wow. Thanks for sharing. On H1N1 — people born before 1957 were already exposed to very bad flu with similar protein, thus young people are prone to catch H1N1.