Well, it's all over except a few races so tight we'll need to see the final returns. But, the message is clear. America has decided it needs a change of direction and has cast its collective lot with the Republicans. The Republicans scored a huge victory in the House of Representatives, closed the gap considerably in the Senate and had big wins in the Statehouse races winning almost all the contested governorships. So, we have had enough of Obama and his side? Evidently. It seems as I watch these elections over the years we as a people get more and more impatient. In less than two years, the majority that swept Obama and his party into complete control of the legislative and executive branches of government have decided to go the other way. There are of course many reasons for this and many of them are legitimate. This post won't go into a detailed loss analysis as I'm too busy, tired and hung-over to do it right now. Hung-over not from a celebratory stand-point but from one of those depression induced hangovers. I'm literally a sore loser this morning.
Anyway, it is interesting to see how fast the Americans have decided to go toward the new Bright Shiny Object. The Tea Party energy was real, it was angry and it was effective in accomplishing the task of taking legislative power away from the Democrats. It's not like they did anything with it to begin with, but it has been wrenched from their hands nonetheless. Mr. Boehner is the likely Speaker of the House now, unless he receives a challenge from someone in the Tea Party faction (Michelle Bachmann perhaps?) who wants to wield the big hammer. We'll see what they propose. So far, at least since 2006, the Republican House leadership under Mr. Boehner and Mr. Cantor have been woefully short on substance and incredibly prolific on rhetoric. It's now time for them to do something useful.
My concern is this. They will focus their efforts on repeal and moving backward. We've spent two years getting a health care bill that actually helps people. The Republicans have vowed repeal. We've spent significant political capital and time on attempting to reform Wall Street and support small business through a Jobs Aid bill and Financial Reform. The Republicans blocked the small business bill and have vowed to repeal the Financial Reform bill. Okay, let's say for some reason they accomplish this. What happens? Let's revert back to exactly where we were on January 19, 2009 by eliminating all the legislation that has been passed. Let's extend the tax cuts before they expire at the end of this year.
Now, what has been done? Nothing helpful I can assure you. The market will still be at 7-8k on the Dow. Unemployment would be significantly worse than it is (analysis from various sources say 15% or higher) and we'd have a health care system still denying coverage, rescinding coverage and raising rates 3 times the rate of inflation.
Let's do all that the Republicans have suggested and I still don't know what they are for. They have offered up nothing as an alternative to legislation that has been passed. Nothing. So, Mr. Boehner, governing is much more than saying no. Your party now must deal with issues that still face this country: depressed economic growth, high unemployment, continued foreclosures, lack of capital in the markets. How are you going to fix this?
It's time for you (Republicans) to celebrate. You've won your victory and I must say congratulations. However, when the new Congress begins, the celebration has to stop and the work must begin. You need to explain what you will do, when it will occur and what the benefit of your efforts will be to the country and those who voted you in. To do otherwise would be at your peril. The American people are nothing if not impatient. You have by my calculations less than 2 years to get it right or face the fate of your opponents from your recent victory.
Tell me what you think, (but not too loudly as I have a headache)