The Midterms of 2010

Four years after regaining control of the House of Representatives and two years after winning a supermajority in the Senate, the Democrats are hard pressed to defend their position in the 2010 midterm elections for Congress.

The overwhelming rejection of Bush era Republicanism has quickly evaporated. The opposition was able to recover in the polls by fiercely criticizing the Democrats’ agenda. The mounting impopularity of health-care reform coupled with fiscal irresponsibility on part of the ruling party allowed the GOP to reinvent itself as a viable alternative. Divisions between neoconservatives and the more libertarian wing of the party are strained however — a split made all the more apparent as the Tea Party movement gained momentum.

Both parties should be forced to reconsider their political direction in the run-up to both the midterm elections of November and the presidential primaries of 2012.

Republicans must come to terms with their internal confusion about the proper role of goverment. All oppose an overhaul of health care that extends the power of the federal government yet social conservatives are stepping up to defend the entitlement programs. The party may need to break with the Bush legacy of “compassionate conservatism” if it intends to appeal to the recently reinvigorated libertarian sentiment that fuels the Tea Parties and hostility toward the Obama Administration in general.

Democrats face a similar dilemma albeit with different actors. Should they move to the center and settle for a toned-down reform bill, they risk alienating the unions and low-income families that occupy their base. These voters as well as their intellectual spokesmen had high hopes for President Obama but are sorely disappointed with his inability to enact financial reform.

Moderate middle-class voters meanwhile have little appetite for higher taxes and are more concerned about jobs creation — an issue that has been largely overshadowed by health care throughout the past year. These people lean toward the Republicans once again who pledge to bring spending under control.

Whether the Democrats manage to pass health-care and financial reform before the elections will greatly affect their popularity. The Republicans will do everything they can to prevent the passing of meaningful legislation. Besides making the Democrats seem ineffective this way, they know that the threat of “big government” brings conservatives together whereas with reform in place, they lose a great advantage and run the risk of descending into philosophical disunity.

Comments

  1. Hmm. Most American’s oppose large government. Yet, congress swings to the left and then to the right and then back again. Voters throw out the bums and elect a different group of bums. Slowly and inexorably with an almost inevitable quality the country swings toward statism. Today the pace has quickened.

    They can’t get out of their contradictions. They dislike big government but they want all the programs. They want the prosperity of capitalism but the seeming security of socialism.

    It’s not inevitable of course but so far all great civilizations and nations have fallen. Historical cycles are real; since human beings have the ability to make choices they are not inevitable.

    The tea parties represent a tremendous educational opportunity. Possibly, just possibly some of these people might be open to rational argument. It is worth noting that the tea party phenomenon would never occur in any other country but America.

  2. We need to vote everyone out. Or better yet, people need to vote for what they believe in, regardless of worrying about “throwing away” their vote. The “throwing away” mentality is a huge cop out for people not to make a stand on issues that are important to them. It is also an excellent mechanism for the two bloated parties to maintain their power. I will vote for Mickey Mouse before voting for any of these clowns again.

    Do they honestly believe in anything anymore besides maintaining their own power? It seems like it is all for the sake of the party, not the people they supposedly represent. I attempt to communicate with my representatives all the time, yet I don’t see them acting in my interests. They completely ignored my numerous entreaties about HSAs!

  3. While I agree that voting for either of the two main parties is irresponsible, it’s going to take a lot more than just voting in a completely new set of ‘bums’. The culture needs to be changed from the top down.

    “people need to vote for what they believe in”

    Of course, that depends upon what they believe in.

  4. Isn’t this just reflective of the typical “Hate all politicians but love your own Congressman” attitude?