From Associated Press, in Toronto Star, November 3, 2010
The Republican party — energized by the ultraconservative tea party movement and voter disillusionment with Obama, incumbents and high unemployment — captured at least 53 seats from Democrats, and would exceed the 40 needed to gain a majority.
It is not that Republicans won over the House; it is the kind of Republicans that are going to Washington. They are not representative of the people of the country, except for the anger of those people. These same people, and party, have blocked Obama at every step of the way in the last two years, have offered no alternative policies, refuse to collaborate with Democrats and now have considerable power to obstruct even more.
And while a 10% unemployment rate is deplorable, especially for those families who have no income and no prospects, (and many of them are more than qualified with at least one and often two university degrees) and while the president and his party have not trumpeted their accomplishments, in the brash 'texan' manner that might have carried more seats, the Republicans spent shiploads of cash telling the voters horror stories about the Democrats individually and from a policy perspective, while offering nothing but "lower taxes and less government."
The auto companies have more than paid back their government loans; the financial services sector definitely required sanctions and regulation and only Republicans dependent on their money and votes would even consider undoing those accomplishments of the last two years. The U.S. is the only country in the western world without adequate health care, and while considerable progress was made in the health reform act, under Obama, the libertarian thrust of the new congress might attempt to undue some of the provisions of that act.
If the country is divided 50-50, as the Chair of the Democratic Party put it on MSNBC last night, the noise seems far louder from the "right" than from the left. And the language of the political debate is more like verbal AK-47 firings across everyone's bow, and there is little chance of reasoned, thoughtful and far-sighted debates or policy proposals coming from such a cacaphony.
And now the Republican leader in the Senate, Mitch McConnell, has declared his top priority for the next two years is to make sure Obama is a one-term president. That means gridlock through obstruction, and more decibels and more heat with less light coming from Washington when the world looks to American for leadership.
Certainly, with the Brits and the French signing a 50-year treaty to share military forces only yeesterday, leaving both countries with reduced military spending, and enhanced signs of collaboration, more and more of the world leaders will be looking to those countries, and to Europe for political models and leadership than they will to the U.S., in spite of the 2008 election of the first black president, who inherited a terrible hand and who has dealt with it as courageously and creatively and pro-actively as could be expected.
The people of the U.S. really do seem to have something close to amnesia, forgetting the devastation left by the last Republican regime under Dubya-and-Cheney.
Comment from an American reader:
It is nice to read a blog from a like minded individual. You should send this to the opinion page, in a republican paper. I would like to hear what the shortsighted, fear based individuals would have to say about it. I feel like the last administration colored on the wall then pointed at Obama and said, in their childish tone, "He did it."