As is obvious to any visitors to this space, this blog is almost dead. But as a Massachusetts resident I think the current events are worthy of my annual post.
By now most people are probably aware that a Republican (Scott Brown) has a real shot at winning Ted Kennedy's senate seat on Tuesday. The Democrat, Martha Coakley, is reported (notably via Huffington Post) to be a party operator with low charisma and limited abilities to stand up to the party establishment. I don't know if that's true or not but she certainly hasn't evoked strong feelings one way or the other the few times I've heard her speak.
However, while I can't pretend to know much about the candidates or even the Massachusetts electorate, I do have a strong opinion on what's going on right now. In essence, the centrist political establishment, including centrist media, is dead. And that is allowing extremists on both sides to dominate the political discourse. This has been clear on the right for a while (see Limbaugh, Rush and Palin, Sarah) but I think Massachusetts voters are showing us that it is also clear on the left.
Even a charismatic and talented centrist like Obama is not strong enough to withstand the strong forces that are leading Mass liberals to stay home in disappointment. Obama has not governed like a leftist Karl Rove, and liberals are pissed. He is actually trying to focus on policy and making the country and the world a better place, instead of bashing conservatives and preaching to the liberal base.
30 years ago the centrist political media establishment would have recognized that fact and they would have pointed it out to regular Joe Schmoe voters. But today's spineless infotainment media do the opposite: They uncritically give voice to extremists and thereby allow two blocks of voters to alternate between "red meat" candidates that campaign 24/7 and never get anything done.
I thought Obama was different, and I still think he is. But it looks as though that doesn't matter. He's a pawn in this political mob game just like the rest of us. And that worries me to the core...