Deja-vu All Over Again?
In 1993 the newly inaugurated President of the United States, William Jefferson Clinton, announced that the top priority of his administration would be "health care reform." The Clinton Administration set deadlines by which congress must take action, but month after month went by and despite bills emerging from committee, in the end nothing was ever brought to the floor.
With all the delays 1993 turned into 1994, a re-election year for Congress, and the members became fearful that passing controversial legislation for which there was a lot of public opposition might be dangerous to their political survival. They were right, but too late. That November the Democrats lost control of both houses of Congress and the Clinton presidency was essentially over, with national policy being set by Newt Gingrich and the other Republican leaders in Congress.
Will President Barack Obama get "Clintoned" in the same way 16 years later? Democrats are concerned over the growing feeling that they've seen this show before - a popular president enters office on a wave of "change" only to find the public revolting against that change and shutting down the president's agenda in the first mid-term election. And no one has forgotten that the issue that triggered the Democrat bloodbath of 1994 was healthcare.
Yet even if Obama ends up being "Clintoned" in 2010 it may not be the end for him personally. Bill Clinton managed to get re-elected despite the healthcare debacle and the bloodbath of '94, because upon taking over Congress the Republicans immediately passed a wave of pro-business legislation that caused the economy to boom. Clinton then rode that good economy to re-election in 1996. If returned to power in 2010 the Republicans would probably once again pursue economic revitalizing policies that Obama can then try to claim credit for.
Therefore Democrats can still cling to the crumb of comfort that even if 2010 is a repeat of 1994, like Clinton before him the loss of congress may only mean the end of the President's policy agenda, not the end of Obama's political career. Especially if the Republicans repeat the mistake in 2012 that they made in 1996, when they put their weakest candidate forward in the form of Bob Dole.
The Globe on Matty
There is a must-read article in the Boston Globe today by Kevin Cullen about Springfield's former District Attorney Matty Ryan, who died last month.
Matthew J. Ryan Jr. was district attorney in Hampden County for 32 years. He was DA longer than anyone in any county ever was and probably ever will be. They don’t make DAs like Matty Ryan anymore. Then again, the world he occupied simply doesn’t exist anymore.
He was more powerful than any mayor, any congressman, anybody in all of Western Massachusetts. He was like a sheriff in the Wild West. Over a huge swath of land, on either side of the Connecticut River, the only law was Matty Ryan’s law. There was a lot of good in that, and there was some bad.
To read the whole article click here.
There was a gay rights demonstration at UMass, but by the time I got there the rally was over and the protest signs trashed.
These are some pictures I didn't use in my previous Amherst 250th birthday coverage. Here are some Amherst vets.
This guy was dressed to honor the veterans of the Civil War.
The Army National Guard Band waiting to march.
A woman dressed for the 1700's.
Kids marching for the Amherst Survival Center.
Longtime Springfield troublemaker Michaelann Bewsee (above) took some nice pictures in nearby Granville recently. Frankly, this time of year it's hard not to capture great images of the magnificent New England foliage, like this scene from the Westfield River.
Autumn teaches us that there is beauty even in decline.
So treasure every day of Autumn as precious.
Come back unchanged, your demons all tamed and your flowers uncut.