Day: November 3, 2010

Divided Government: More Typical Than Atypical Since World War II!

The fact that the 112th Congress will not be of the party of the President in at least one house, and historically often in both houses, is actually typical more than atypical, when one looks at the history of Congressional-Presidential relations since World War II!

In 38 of the past 66 years, we have had a divided government, with the only years it was not being: 1945-1947 and 1949-1953 under President Harry Truman; 1953-1955 under President Dwight D. Eisenhower; 1961-1969 under Presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson; 1977-1981 under President Jimmy Carter; 1993-1995 under President Bill Clinton; 2003-2007 under President George W. Bush; and 2009-2011 under President Barack Obama!

So divided government has been much more common, basically 60 percent of the time since 1945, and therefore, is not the tragedy some think it is!

However, having both parties controlling one chamber each has only, as stated in an earlier entry, occurred in the first six years of Ronald Reagan (1981-1987), in the years since 1945, and that IS the problem–a divided Congress, more than a divided government where both houses are in the hands of the party opposing the President!

Was The Scott Brown Senate Victory In January The Beginning Of A Trend In Massachusetts Politics? NO!

When Scott Brown won the Senate seat of Ted Kennedy in January, it seemed to many that it was a sign of the growth of the Republican Party in Massachusetts!

Now, however, with all the results in, it turns out that Brown’s victory was a fluke, as EVERY House seat was won by Democrats, as well as the Governorship and other statewide executive positions! This is, of course, nothing new in Massachusetts, and Brown’s victory was an aberration!

So this should be a sign that Scott Brown, despite his celebrity status, faces a major fight to keep his seat in the 2012 election season, when he has to run for a full term!

Scott Brown cannot afford to rest on his laurels, as he is definitely an “endangered species” in Massachusetts politics!

The Loss Of The Democrats In The House Of Representatives: 4 “Progressives” And 24 “Blue Dogs”!

One of the most significant developments of yesterday’s election was the loss of many Democratic House members, most of whom had voted against much of the Obama Administration programs, including the Health Care legislation, in order to save their jobs, but the tactic failed!

Statistics show that only 4 out of 80 “progressives” lost re-election while the so called “Blue Dogs” lost 24 of 53 members!

So the concept that cooperating with Republicans would save their seats failed miserably!

It makes one wonder why anyone would feel that they should cooperate with a party which is totally negative and unwilling to compromise!

It is already clear that the GOP and the talk show hosts on radio and Fox News Channel have no goal, but the defeat of the Obama Presidency, and that they have no desire to solve any problems facing the nation in the next two years!

So a warning to those Democrats that remain in the House, the lowest since 1948: Lick your wounds, and come out fighting over the next two years for what you believe in, as compromising with the opposition was a total disaster for the so called “Blue Dogs”! 🙁

A First In Congress: A Democratic Senate And Republican House Of Representatives!

For the first time ever in modern times, the country faces the unusual situation of a Democratic Senate and a Republican House of Representatives!

From 1911-1913, 1931-1933, and 1981-1987, we saw a split Congress, but with a Democratic House of Representatives and a Republican Senate!

So the 112th Congress in 2011-2012 will be extremely unusual, with “the people’s branch” being under the control of the GOP, and the Senate in the hands of the Democrats!

What will this mean, as far as progress in dealing with the problems faced by this country internally, as well as overseas?

Unfortunately , the likelihood is total stalemate and gridlock, which is bound to make things worse, rather than better!

So has the anger and frustration of the voters led to creation of the possibility of appropriate dedication to the “people’s business”? The answer is clearly NO! 🙁

The Republican House will try to derail the entire Obama agenda and accomplishments of the past two years, with the Democratic Senate blocking any such repeal, and if by some reason, some Democrats join a united Republican party against the President’s policies, the result will be that President Obama will utilize the veto. If that happens, the Republicans will be unable to override the veto by a two thirds vote!

So again, what have the voters done in their wisdom? They have created a government which is LESS LIKELY to accomplish ANYTHING, and will leave the voters more frustrated and angry in 2012, than they are in 2010!

And who will they blame? The Republican House, the Democratic Senate, or the Democratic President? It should be an interesting scenario, leading to more chaos and anarchy!

So was it smart for the American people to react to difficult times by anger and temper tantrums? NO, and they have almost certainly guaranteed absolutely no improvement in the unemployment rate, in creation of jobs, in the foreclosure crisis on home mortgages, in dealing with the myriad of other domestic problems this country faces! 🙁

Should people make important decisions when they are angry and frustrated? Anyone who is rational knows the answer is clearly NO! 🙁

The Good Side Of The Election Results: Democracy In Action!

For those of us who are progressives and liberals, the results of the midterm elections are a time for reflection and reorganization.

It is obvious there is a need for mid course correction by the Obama Administration, and certainly the battle for progressive principles is re-energized by the triumph of the Republican party in taking over the House of Representatives, gaining many seats in the US Senate, and taking over a substantial number of governorships.

But while we assess the results, which the author will do over a period of time in detail, we can all agree that we are fortunate to have the great democracy that we have that allows the American people to register their feelings and change government policies and personnel on a regular basis.

Even if at times the results are seen as disappointing, we can be thankful that we live in a nation where government can be changed without bullets or violence in other forms.

So as we move to the uncertain future, let us all keep a sense of sobriety and balance as the challenges we all face present themselves. And the fight for social justice will continue no matter how much opposition may now exist to the progressive agenda!