Wednesday, September 8, 2010

And If the Republicans Win This Fall, Then What?

The polls indicate the Republicans will do well in the fall mid-term elections, likely winning the House and perhaps the Senate as well. Let's assume that happens. Then what?

We will have a Democratic White House and a Congress partially or entirely controlled by Republicans. The government will largely be deadlocked. Even though the economy will still be a sick puppy, little will happen. But the blame for little happening will fall on both Democrats and Republicans. Once in power, the Republicans also have responsibility. If their only platform is to obstruct and criticize, they will have failed in their responsibilities. Voters don't put them in control just to whine and play gotcha politics. The electorate expects action.

Action would mean compromise and bipartisanship. In today's Tea Party-driven, hyper-partisan politics, compromise is the one thing that ain't gonna happen. All the more so since some of the soon-to-be elected Republicans are insurgents within their own party and can't reach agreement even with their own colleagues.

A political deadlock may well favor Barack Obama. As the chief executive, he can still pursue his goals through administration policies and executive orders. He will be prominently visible as the commander-in-chief and as the first among equals when dealing with foreign leaders. There remain plenty of problems and threats, foreign and domestic, that will give him frequent opportunities to look Presidential.

Congress will continue to look like a bunch of squabbling idiots, only with a Republican hue. It will become easier for the Democrats to take shots at the Republicans, since legislative control also means accountability. The Republican Party, a morass today with a controversial RNC chairman, no organized leadership structure, and lots of insurgents who each may take their own tacks whenever they feel like it, will struggle. Political advantage will shift toward the Democrats. Barack Obama may well be re-elected in 2012.

It's happened before. Ronald Reagan didn't do well in the 1982 mid-term elections but he was a two-term President. The Clintonian Democratic Party got clobbered in the 1994 mid-term elections, losing control of the House. But Bill Clinton was re-elected in 1996. The Republicans are about to get what they wish for. And they had better beware.

No comments: