I don't care. That's my core reaction to Republican Scott Brown's win over incompetent campaigner Martha Coakley yesterday.
People like me should make Obama and the Democratic leadership very, very worried. I was a hugely enthusiastic Obama supporter in 2008. Gave lots of money. Responded regularly to the frequent emails that came from the slick Obama online cyberspace machine.
Now, I take a glance at whatever is sent to me by the group that has inherited Obama's email address list, yawn, and press the delete button.
A few times in 2009 I sent in a contribution to support health care reform efforts. That was when I (wrongly) believed that Obama and the Congressional Democrats were committed to taking on the fat-cat insurance, pharmaceutical, and other corporate players.
I don't care.
This also is how I currently feel about an health care insurance reform bill passing in 2010. The Senate version has been so watered down from an already diluted House bill, which itself was far from what needs to be done to control costs, assure universal access, and improve quality.
Somehow Obama and the Washington Dems have managed, in just one year, to squander most of the progressive energy and enthusiasm that led to a presidential victory and solid majorities in both the House and Senate.
I'm almost ashamed to admit this: the Tea Baggers sometimes have a good point. Our deficits are indeed too high. Congress is spending lots of taxpayer money in stupid ways. Wall Street is raking in disgusting profits while Main Street continues on unemployment.
Last night my wife and I watched a Stephen Colbert interview with David Walker, former Comptroller General and now gadfly for getting this country back on track financially and policy-wise.
Walker has written a book called "Comeback America: Turning the Country Around and Restoring Fiscal Responsibility." I've ordered a copy. I'd much rather send $17 to Amazon and Walker than to any national political organization.
Walker made a lot of good points, including one that I heartily agreed with: most people in Congress are focused on winning re-election because politics is a job for them, not a calling.
So they don't vote according to what is good for the country. They vote according to what is best for themselves -- a huge difference. I can completely understand why Massachusetts rejected the Democratic candidate, since she represented the majority status quo in Washington.
Problem is, going back to a Republican majority in Congress won't change anything. We had wasteful spending and corporate sucking-up under the Republicans. Now we've got it under the Democrats. No difference.
Well, let's say not much difference. The Dems may be completely screwed-up, but I'll take their incompetence over the Republican variety any day.
Where to go from here?
The progressive blogosphere seems to tilt toward full speed ahead, playing the same political games Republicans used so well when they were in power, but didn't have a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate.
Ordinarily I'd agree with Jed Lewiston's hard-edged "The new bipartisan math: 41 is greater than 59."
We can debate endlessly about why exactly Scott Brown won, but the point is that his victory shouldn't matter as much as it does.
But yet it does matter. It matters so much because the Senate is a completely dysfunctional institution, and even though Republicans have been the driving force behind that dysfunction, Democrats have been all-too-willing to go along with the GOP.
Sure, it's beyond idiotic. It's the height of stupidity. But it's also what happened. And now we're seeing the consequences.
For Democrats, the only way out will be challenging the notion that 41 Republicans should be able to dictate legislative outcomes. But given Democratic acceptance of the filibuster rule, it might be too late.
Wikipedia has a graph of how times a filibuster has been invoked in the Senate since 1947. It's obvious that the Republicans have been using it about twice as often recently as the Democrats did during the Bush administration.
But as Theda Skocpol says in a New York Times blog post about the Democrat's learned timidity, they don't know how to stand up for themselves or the American people.
They have forgotten how to make heartfelt arguments, how to play hardball, and are always expecting to cave or surrender.
Well, if the Dems don't care, I don't care. At least we can agree on that.