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Memo to politicians: Give the people what they want

Since Massachusetts sent a message to the nation by electing Republican Scott Brown to the seat held by the late Sen. Ted Kennedy (D) for 46 years, there's been plenty of advice out there for what the Democrats and the Republicans should do now. Two pieces of advice stand out -- one focused on the Democrats, the other on the Republicans -- that leaders and candidates of both parties better heed.

With this big win under their belts, the New York Post's Charles Hurt is absolutely right to warn the Republicans that being obstructionist isn't enough to curry favor in November's mid-term elections. "They must go on offense with clear, principled and imaginative ideas for fixing the unprecedented mess that Washington has foisted upon America," says Hurt. Judging by the crowing on Capitol Hill it doesn't look like they're too keen on taking that advice. They should if they don't want to remain a virtually all-white reactionary party based in the South.

Meanwhile, Kevin Huffman, The Post's America's Next Great Pundit contest winner, convincingly writes that the winning formula of "American Idol" could be the salvation of the Democrats. "One thing I can tell you about American elections (both political and reality-TV)," Huffman writes, "Bland, attractive and hardworking is a decent strategy." He adds, "Scott Brown is a Taylor Hicks, a Kris Allen. He's an appealing guy who hung in there, worked hard and sang some familiar tunes. Voters rewarded him for it."

The common thread between Hurt and Huffman is: give the people what they want. Only in Washington and in national politics would a message that simple be so difficult to sink in.

By Jonathan Capehart  | January 22, 2010; 2:35 PM ET
Categories:  Capehart  | Tags:  Jonathan Capehart  
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Comments

You want to give the people what they want? Quit. Give it all back to the Republicans. The whole thing. #@$% it, let 'em have it. Can't win, don't try. People thought 2000-2006 was such a golden age, hey, let's bring it back. Let's hand everything over to the Republicans and see where they take us. You %$#@ing asked for it America.

Posted by: crblaisd | January 22, 2010 3:48 PM | Report abuse

Capehart: Do you actually get paid to write missives like this? If so, your editor should be fired. It looks like you've read a couple of articles and noticed some good points being made, one of which was by a writer in your own paper (looks like you went far and wide looking for that one). You then report on the points being made by others. Sounds like a book report, and pardon me for snoring. Your "carefully" distilled conclusion about what the authors "really" mean is so dull it almost qualifies as a non-sequitor. It's as if you read an article about bannanas, and then read an article about apples, and you drew the conclusion (in a comparative analysis) that the articles were about fruit. Congratulations, but I'm not sure you've advanced the argument, enlightended the masses or earned a paycheck.

Please print a retraction (and an apology) for failing to make a point worthy of publication.

Posted by: ktp70 | January 22, 2010 4:46 PM | Report abuse

The most absurd part of this piece is the following: "Meanwhile, Kevin Huffman, The Post's America's Next Great Pundit contest winner, convincingly writes that the winning formula of "American Idol" could be the salvation of the Democrats. "One thing I can tell you about American elections (both political and reality-TV)," Huffman writes, "Bland, attractive and hardworking is a decent strategy." He adds, "Scott Brown is a Taylor Hicks, a Kris Allen. He's an appealing guy who hung in there, worked hard and sang some familiar tunes. Voters rewarded him for it.""

Scott Brown's genuineness is unscripted. It doesn't require a teleprompter. Voters rewarded him for his honesty and straightforwardness, not because of "singing familiar tunes."

This is just more of the same elitist progressive crap that is turning moderates and independents against you guys in droves. Why not just hand out free newspapers from the Weather Underground, SDS or Socialist Workers' Party from the 60's?

The real problem with Democrats is not their IMAGE, it's their MESSAGE.

Posted by: tacheronb | January 22, 2010 7:32 PM | Report abuse

Just get things done, Democrats in Congress! We wanted a public option and you couldn't give it to us. We still want the reform. We want to see the banks reined in. We want jobs, and we want you to prevent the States from driving the Recession deeper into a Depression with their short-sighted budget-tightening. It's a tall order, but you've got big majorities. At least make Republicans pay dearly if they are going to block what needs to be done.

Posted by: bertram2 | January 22, 2010 8:05 PM | Report abuse

This "all-white reactionary party based in the South" crap has gotten really old, especially from a writer who should know better. The problem is that it serves the purpose of demeaning those who disagree with the writer's elitist opinions.

Please refer to the WaPo's own map showing the county-by-county results of the 2008 election. Even though Obama won, mostly by carrying large Democratic cities, the map is mostly RED.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/politics/interactives/campaign08/election/uscounties.html

The GOP has had a helluva time in the past three terrible years holding the line for the average American against an oppressive Democratic leadership. Their constructive proposals have been ignored by the Democrats and the media, including this reporter.
Now that they have your attention, maybe the Democrats will listen and we can turn things around. But I'm not holding my breath as long as people like Capehart hold dismissive attitude like this.

Posted by: parkbench | January 23, 2010 2:08 AM | Report abuse

I read this article twice and still have no idea what it has as a point- other than for ridiculous cliche.

Posted by: privacy3 | January 23, 2010 3:16 AM | Report abuse

Give the people what they want? Which people? Citizens or gazillionaires? There is a difference.

Posted by: Puller58 | January 23, 2010 6:02 AM | Report abuse

The ridiculous braying about the Republican party being an "all white, reactionary party based in the South" is just another liberal delusion. Such a party could not have won so many national elections as the Republican party has.

It's a mostly, conservative party with a broad, national base. It is the party of heartland America, not the two left coasts.

It could be said that the Democrat party is a mostly disaffected, minority, reactionary, party based in cosmopolitan areas like Chicago, New York and San Fransisco.

The Democrat party has been reactionary ever since it was taken over by '60s, leftist radicals. It reacts against the American majority. The Democrat party has tried to install a truly liberal, president and Congress for almost 50 years. It has failed 49 of those years.

The liberals finally got their shot in 2009 and look what has happened.

They are getting their electoral clock cleaned by the reaction of the American people.

It will be a freezing day in hades before they can fool America again.

Lesson: the Republicans aren't perfect but they are much better than liberals at governing America.

Posted by: battleground51 | January 23, 2010 6:29 AM | Report abuse

Can you really not tell the difference between a mindless television show and reality? A senator is not some clown who may or may not end up as a successful media celebrity - something of absolutely no importance to the wellbeing of the country. No wonder so many Americans are disgusted with Washington.

Posted by: s_a_b | January 23, 2010 11:31 AM | Report abuse

To give the people what they want, you must first listen to the people.

Quoting the President of the United States:

"I don't want the folks who created the mess to do a lot of talking. I want them just to get out of the way so we can clean up the mess. I don't mind cleaning up after them, but don't do a lot of talking."

I don't think anybody is listening.

Posted by: TECWRITE | January 23, 2010 12:35 PM | Report abuse

Did you write this on your 2 minute bathroom break? It sure smells like it.

Posted by: sophic | January 23, 2010 9:53 PM | Report abuse

Looks like that "all white, reactionary party based in the South" has infected the good liberals of Massachusetts. Who would have thought it possible.

Can California be next??

How about New York??

Oh the horror.......the horror!

The ObamaNation is in danger of being aborted in mid-term.

Hey! B.O. is all for abortions. There should be no complaint about this one.

It's CHOICE.

Posted by: battleground51 | January 24, 2010 8:00 AM | Report abuse

The only true point made here is, "When do politicians ever listen?" Beyond that point, not much else to say.

Posted by: wilson0004 | January 24, 2010 9:25 AM | Report abuse

A fish stinks from it's head and the following is not the change I voted for with Obama. Start with Bernanke and Geithner calling the economic shots. From the not renegotiated AIG contracts to get silence on the full CDS payments even to foreign entities, forcing banks to put profits before lending the little guy, the current bubble built on Fed. lending, Lehman/CIT small banks zeroing out FDIC, they have worked in Goldman's interests, not the American people. Bernanke a second term, I don't think so when Bair's 41 page report to congress had solutions where he has none making too big to fail bigger. A stimulus bill with less than 30 billion spent on new job creation with 20 billion in pork should have been vetoed. Glass-Stegall not immediately reinstated, no new regulations passed, banks still gambling with Fed. dollars and no prosecution of illegal oil price manipulation, let alone a windfall profits tax on the resulting oil company profits, shows Obama in bed with the big money interests. The Senate took a decent flawed House healthcare bill, threw out the baby with the bathwater and wrote a special interest bill for LA, NE and even Schumer's NY with medicare advantage. Keeping the anti-trust exemption for pharma and insurers has seen rates jump 9% and 20% this year, and regardless of GOP sponsors tort reform and re-import of drugs will reduce costs. Putting 30 million uninsured on the rolls will become a windfall to providers and insurers without limiting profits to reduce costs. The 4-1 ratio of specialists to GPs starting med. school is the opposite of need driven by the fact specialists make more. It causes CT scans to go from 8 million in 98 to 72 million today with no appreciable betterment of outcomes. Rural providers are paid less by medicare/medicaid than oversaturated markets like NYC driving providers from where they are needed, the opposite should occur. Holder has not gone after 5 years of fraudulent payments in a trillion a year medicare/medicaid program recouping 1/2 trillion dollars. Same for illegal oil price manipulators cashing out future contracts like the Hunt Bros. with silver in the 80s. Holder also indicted Abdullatab without consulting Adm. Blair that said "Duh, I would not have made that decision". Holder must go as well as Bernanke.

Posted by: jameschirico | January 25, 2010 12:41 PM | Report abuse

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