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Mr. Brown Can Woo, Can You?

Scottbrowncongress Congratulations, Scott Brown, Senator-Elect for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

Normally, special elections are barely a footnote in off-years, but once again, this provides an excellent lesson in systems thinking; namely, when some element of the system gets out of balance, the environment or the system itself will pull it back into alignment.  Sometimes, the realignment is a gentle nudge.  In the past decade of national politics, the pendulum swings the other way with the force of a released rubber band tanked up on Red Bull.

Consider this:  We as a nation put George W. Bush into office because we were sick of "Slick Willy."  Within eight short years, the White House and both houses of Congress were controlled by Democrats.  Simply a year ago, the world was gripped with Obama-fever as he took his Oath of Office.  Now, Massachusetts, the bluest of the blue states, has elected a (GASP!) Republican senator in the midst of voter anguish.  Kennedy family members of three generations are rolling in their graves (at least the ones were weren't "voting" yesterday).

While the politicians in Washington (and Massachusetts) are making excuses about why and how this happened, I can replace their excuses with explanations:  the system corrected itself.  Democrats and Republicans alike are losing sight of one fundamental truth:  we live in a centrist society.  Solutions are not at the extremes of political ideologies; they generally reside in the middle.  Obama promised a "govern from the middle" approach and quickly violated that promise.  And the system corrected itself by removing a filibuster-proof majority from the Senate.

Now the question remains - will the Democrats recognize this event for what it is (a system correction) and make the necessary adjustments, or will they keep pushing their agenda through the system?  Only time will tell.  But November isn't too far away on the political timeline.  And systems will take one of two paths:  they will continue to fix themselves, or they will break beyond repair.  No matter how you cut it, Scott Brown recognized the system was broken, and he ran a campaign which resonated that sentiment. ("This is not Ted Kennedy's seat.  This is the PEOPLE'S seat.")

How about you and your organization?  Are your systems out of whack?  Are they screaming at you for a course correction?  Are you going to do something about it?

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Comments

Dal Grooms

All good points, Tim. My bigger concern is can the system take the stress of rocketing from one extreme to another? History shows there's always been movement from one side to another, but as a gentle rolling wave so the system can adjust as changes are made. I'm afraid that these frequent, hard swings (the rubber band on Red Bull) of the past decade are going to break the system. Will the system that forms from chaos be a system worth having? I wonder, and I worry.

Timothy Johnson

And you are right to be worried, Dal. System extremes create intolerance (or worse yet, falsified tolerance). Think of how dangerous "binge and purge" is to the weight-conscious bulemic. Weight loss is intended to be consistent and incremental to be healthiest to the body. It involves diet AND exercise. When a person gets frostbite, the worst thing you can do is expose them to extreme heat; their body's natural defenses are too numbed by the cold to protect them from determining extreme heat.

My hope is that our politicians (current and potential) see this post for what it is. Our system needs to be regulated BEFORE we can begin accomplishing things as a country.

Nick Summy

We the people didn't elect George Bush because we were sick of Slick Willy. Bill Clinton's final approval rating was actually 68%, ranking him with the likes of Ronald Reagan and FDR. If you recall, the Bush-Gore election was actually decided by Katherine Harris and the US Supreme Court. I don't want to rehash the arguments of the 2000 election but do not suggest that Bush winning was a referendum on Clinton and the democrats when he lost the popular vote and won by a still contested Supreme Court decision.

Brown won simply because of all of the independents in Mass. and because of the economy. It comes to no surprise that the state with the lowest uninsured rate in the country does not put much stock in healthcare reform. The bottom line is that this has little to do with centrist policies and everything to do with job creation and economic stability. The last time I checked this recession happened under a Republican watch and the bailouts were in full swing under Bush.

Will Obama change his approach to the economy? Probably. Will Brown be responsible for sweeping change and undo everything Obama and the Democrats worked for? Not anywhere close. Republican policies of corporate interests and little-to-no oversight got us into this mess to begin with. If you think a Republican getting elected will bring "change" any quicker than what is happening I think you are sadly mistaken. While I hope Brown does what is best for the people I sadly predict he will just follow the Republican party line.

Timothy Johnson

Read Peggy Noonan's latest for another take on last week's Brown victory: http://www.peggynoonan.com/

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