With less than 70 days to the Congressional midterm elections (not to mention 37 governors’ races), independent political handicappers are already predicting massive Republican gains in the House, Senate, and governors’ mansions. Several Democrats have already privately conceded some form of defeat and are working to mitigate what could be a seismic political shift.
To be fair, history is not on the Democrats’ side. The new president’s party has almost always lost seats in the midterms following the presidential election. To some extent, then, political realignment is to be expected.
Yet as potentially disorganized as the Republican Party is, all GOP-ers, and even many Independents, appear united around one central tenant: their unhappiness with Barack Obama’s governing style during his 19 months in the White House.
The man who campaigned on themes of “ending the partisan bickering” in Washington and “changing the way Washington does business” appears to have shed those promises upon inauguration and instead summoned his inner FDR. Determined to recreate a massive role for the federal government, Obama passed the largest economic “stimulus” in U.S. history. The economic news in the past week demonstrates that move was likely unwise. Unemployment remains near 10 percent, housing prices continue to plummet, and America’s standing as a financial power in the world is now, for maybe the first time in modern history, potentially in bona fide jeopardy.
Instead of working harder and smarter on jobs and the economy, Obama next set his sights on his golden calf: healthcare reform. Obama didn’t achieve his ultimate goal: a public option that would force American taxpayers to foot the bill for all the uninsured. Instead, however, he passed party-line legislation that thus far, has done nothing but anger and upset the states who now have to implement the massive federal legislation and confuse American citizens as to how and if the legislation affects them. Throw into the mix the CBO’s recent claim that the legislation will not, in fact, “bend the cost curve” over the long run (one of the primary selling points for passage), and one can’t help but question the wisdom behind the healthcare decision.
We could go on--a financial reform package that threatens our nation’s economy at a fragile time, a sluggish and half-handed response to the oil spill in the Gulf, embarrassing failed bids at the climate change summit and Olympic selection committee, and the recent mosque gaffe. And we haven’t even touched on foreign policy.
As voters close the curtains the first Tuesday in November, it is difficult to imagine them rewarding President Obama and Speaker Pelosi (his partner-in-crime for most of these “achievements”) for their efforts.
Both of these top Democrats interpreted the 2008 elections as a mandate for an unprecedented expansion of the federal government, and in the process, forced far too much regulation down the throats of the American people. Their reward for this is potentially the loss of their majorities in both houses of Congress.
Sixty-eight days is still an eternity in politics, but, at this point, its hard not to envision some serious political backlash.
Much like the signs we’ve all seen in expensive boutiques, “you break it, you buy it,” President Obama has no one to blame but himself and his political team for what will likely happen in November and, much like those signs, he will have to take responsibility for those losses.