Kish and I have watched a fair amount of cable TV news programs in the wake of the Massachusetts special election and I have been struck by the efforts to spin the election by at least some commentators. Spin, of course, almost always comes from the losing side. The winning side doesn’t really need to spin; its victory is self-evident.
The spin from the losing side, like so much else in modern politics, is based on the assumption that viewers and other American citizens are a bit dim and gullible. There is no other way to explain why people would attempt to argue that a vote for a candidate who specifically opposed the “health care reform” legislation during his campaign is nevertheless not a reflection of popular reaction to the “health care reform” legislation. There is no other reason why an otherwise experienced “political observer” would assert, with a straight face, that the proper response is for President Obama to give still more speeches about why “health care reform” is so important when he has already given dozens and dozens of speeches about that topic to no good effect.
I think the contrast between the spinning commentators and the politicians themselves is instructive. Commentators may try to convince us that a terrible loss really isn’t as bad as it seems, but any professional politician can’t afford to be delusional about such things if they want to stay elected. At the same time many commentators are urging a “double-down” on “health care reform” legislation, there seems to be no real appetite for that course in the halls of Congress itself. Their actions of Senators and Representatives, or in this case inaction, speak louder than commentators’ words.