Wednesday, November 3, 2010

A New Day in the USA

The election is over! No big surprises. The Republicans take control of the House and the Democrats now have a slim majority in the Senate.


As I was listening to the news this morning, I almost choked on my toast when I heard a sound bite from Rep. John Boehner. After months of hearing the Republicans chant their anti-Obama rhetoric, their message now seems to have changed. Rep. Boehner, set to become the new Speaker of the House, said last night: "While our new majority will serve as your voice in the people's House, we must remember it's the President who sets the agenda for our government." Did I hear that correctly? The Republicans are now deferring to the President after months of demonizing him and blaming him for everything that's wrong with the country.  What's up with this?


For the last two years, with an eye on the midterm elections and the election in 2012, Rep. Boehner and his "just say no" party have refused to put forward a clear legislative program themselves, and have blocked President Obama's attempts at compromise and legislation. They have complained bitterly about the Democratically controlled Congress and have promised swift action if a Republican majority was elected. 


Yet, now that Rep. Boehner is in a leadership position, he doesn't seem to want it. The Republicans will control the House but with control comes responsibility and accountability. So the Republican message has changed. Their new spin:  it's the President who sets the agenda, not the House, i.e. if something goes wrong, blame him. 


As to the Republican agenda, it continues to be "cutting spending," "reducing government," and "safeguarding America's traditional values." Politically, Rep. Boehner's deference to the President and the vague Republican agenda makes sense. Voters are angry and not interested in specifics. They want the economy fixed quickly and unemployment reduced.


However, there is no magic pill to take that will solve the nation's economic woes before the next election. Thus, under these circumstances, the worst place to be, from an electoral standpoint, is in power. So the Republicans will claim that solving the nation's problems rest with the President since he sets the agenda. Smart move by the Republicans. 

Asides:
  • Maine has elected its first Franco-American Governor, Paul LePage. Mr. LePage, a Tea Party candidate, favors the teaching of creationism in the schools, abolition of Social Security, and a return to "traditional values" (homophobia, gender inequality, etc.). What can I say, I'm at a loss for words. Pardon my french, but je n'aime pas Paul LePage. Il est un homme stupide et fou. Il est hors de contact avec la réalité.
  • Iowa voters ousted their State Supreme Court Justices who voted in favor of same-sex marriage. Originally, federal and state court judges were appointed for life. The reasoning for lifetime appointments was to insulate the third branch of government from political partisanship. Our Constitutional framers wanted judges to make decisions based on the Constitution, not on the political whims of the electorate. However, over time, states changed their laws and began to elect their judges. The federal system still has judges appointed for life. I applaud those courageous Iowa judges who faithfully interpreted the Constitution and voted for marriage equality. They risked their jobs, but I think history will look favorably on their decision. 

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