Obama or Congressional Democrats to blame?
Who’s fault was it?
Primarily, I’d have to say the weak-willed, selfish and incompetent Democrats in the House and Senate. I still don’t think the rise of the Republican Party is specifically a referendum on President Barack Obama. While he didn’t help himself, it was the child-like members of his Congress that hurt his administration and the American people.
The Democrats in Congress became flush with power after riding President Obama’s coat tails in 2008. Instead of coming together to represent a nation, they turned Congress into a frat mixer – partying like Bush Administration era Republicans, but with none of the political muscle and focus.
Say what you will about the Republicans 2000-2008 Congresses – and what most people would say is probably “unethical, ruthless, soulless, heavy-handed, unwavering and myopic” – but they got things done by acting as a unit and following their political leadership.
The Bush-era Republicans really only made one mistake. They didn’t do a lot of good. But they did make a ton of money for major corporations, they promoted the image of America as a healthy nation, and they hoodwinked most of the globe into thinking the U.S. was still an agent for good in the world.
And most of us fell for it, at least briefly. Probably due to a 9/11 hangover, but we did.
The Democrats on the other hand, riding the wave of “CHANGE” in 2008, just could not get their collective asses together. The first black president and the first woman speaker of the house were cute little stories for about 4 months after the election, but eventually you need to lead and actually change what you promised to CHANGE.
It didn’t happen. The Administration and the Congress could not get together on anything. Rather than mowing down Republican resistance with tank-like ferocity, they preened about while skipping through Washington in their new robes of power. Perhaps this should be called the Nero Congress, they fiddled while America burned.
When Democrats didn’t seize power and marshal their resources, they became vulnerable. The Republican Party may be an easy punchline for lefty Hollywood, but they’re shark-like when there’s blood in the water. And the Democrats spilled a lot of blood in the last two years.
Failed attempts at healthcare, a financial recovery plan, fiscal responsibility – these were the big hemorrhages, but I’m not sure they were the worst.
The American people don’t like to be lied to. The Republicans were able to last 8 years in office because they did a superior job of fooling the electorate, but when voters began to see through the rhetoric and became thirsty for an alternative, they voted for a Democrat presidency and Congress.
The Democrats were never able to fool the electorate into thinking they collectively knew what they were doing. It would have been nice if they actually accomplished what they promised in 2008, but I never put much stock in campaign promises. I look for candidates with some gravitas and try to have faith they’ll rise to the occasion. Just telling me what I want to hear won’t impress me, but I digress.
So has this election crushed the hope of 2008 and sounded the death knell for the Obama Presidency? Probably not.
In some respects it may actually be a benefit to President Obama. If he’s up for a fight, the new Republicans with their Tea Party backers may give the president a proper sparring partner. It also gives him the chance to become bipartisan. He can accept the more moderate options of a Republican congress and fight against the ultra-conservative issues.
The Republican Party still doesn’t have a standard-bearer for 2012. It won’t be former Governor Sarah Palin, to paraphrase one of my favorite West Wing quotes, she’s got support two miles wide and an inch deep. It’ll probably be a semi-well known governor from a middle America state. We’ll have to see who rises to the top.
With regards to the Congress, Republicans should not get too comfortable. They’re not going to have a large margin of support in the House or with the voting public. There’s no mandate from the populous. America is now very split. If you check out the voter maps on every cable news network, you’ll see that it’s close to 50% everywhere. Very few politicians are winning overwhelmingly, they’re all fairly tight races, which means in 2012 it’s going to be a lot of “what have you done for me lately.” If the Republicans want to hold office and win the presidency in two years, they’re going to have to show real accomplishment, they won’t be able to survive just holding on to the memories of this Congress’ incompetence.
- Scott Rasmussen: A Vote Against Dems, Not for the GOP (online.wsj.com)
- Voters Poised to Punish Democrats in Election (foxnews.com)
- Op-Ed Contributor: Where Do Democrats Go Next? (nytimes.com)
- Republicans making major gains in U.S. mid-term elections (nationalpost.com)