Roger L. Simon

Scott Brown and Jim Webb set an example

In the wildly partisan environment of American politics, two men didn’t sound like crazed ideologues tonight. One of them we all saw was Scott Brown. The other, reacting like a grownup to the will of the voters, was Democratic Senator (VA) Jim Webb, who wrote these eloquent words:

In many ways the campaign in Massachusetts became a referendum not only on health care reform but also on the openness and integrity of our government process. It is vital that we restore the respect of the American people in our system of government and in our leaders. To that end, I believe it would only be fair and prudent that we suspend further votes on health care legislation until Senator-elect Brown is seated.

Too bad Webb isn’t the leader of his party and not that endless parade of sleaze-merchants appearing on TV tonight blaming Martha Coakley. This was a much more significant election that that. Only fourteen months ago, Barack Obama – promising hope, change, bi-partisanship and transparency (!) – won the election in Massachusetts by twenty-seven points. In barely more than a year there has been a turn-around of some thirty-two points. Is all this based on the ineptitude of Martha Coakley? Don’t be ridiculous. Not even David Axelrod believes that, no matter what he says. No, the real ineptitude was on the part of the current administration and Jim Webb clearly knows it. Good on him. In our culture, anyone who crosses party lines to make a criticism deserves our encouragement and high praise.