A question that has arisen recently is how to judge the actions of Congress in historical terms.
If a party loses control of Congress after bringing about historic legislation, does that mean it should be regarded as a failure for the party historically?
Many are saying that Nancy Pelosi and the Democratic Party have failed, because they have lost control of the House of Representatives by the biggest margin since 1938!
Others would, however, say that in the long run of history, the fact of repudiation means nothing, as the health care legislation and other massive changes passed by the 111th Congress will be long lasting, and eventually be seen as positive upon reflection!
Are momentary reactions to leadership always seen as accurate in historical terms? If that were true, then Abraham Lincoln and Harry Truman would still be regarded as among the worst Presidents we have had, instead of being ranked in the top five of our Presidents, with Lincoln first and Truman fifth!
Is the only purpose of holding power to continue to win elections, or to bring about reforms that affect the country long term?
Despite the results of the election, it is still a fact that the present Congress has accomplished more good for the nation than any since 1965-1966, 1933-1934, and 1913-1914, and despite much rhetoric in the past against those Congresses, what they did has had a long range impact on the nation, as this Congress will have, when we look back in future generations, and wonder why there was such short sightedness and anger over the good actions taken in the midst of economic hard times!
History will record that it was the Democratic Party under Woodrow Wilson, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Lyndon B. Johnson, and Barack Obama which brought about fundamental change in so many ways, and that it was the Republican Party which stood in the way of reform, but despite later Congressional gains, failed to repeal the reforms that have made America a better place for the middle and lower classes, even as the upper class wealthy condemned what was happening as “socialism”!
So forget all the rhetoric of the campaign, and the pledges to “repeal” what has happened, as it will NOT happen, and the Republican Party will suffer as it attempts to destroy the changes that the Democratic Party has courageously brought about!
Nancy Pelosi may be condemned by many, but she will remembered as the Speaker of the House who historians will record as the path breaking Speaker who will compete with Sam Rayburn and Thomas “Tip” O’Neill as the greatest Speaker in the past one hundred years!