The pundits are emoting, the editorials are advising and the populace is confused. What did the mid-term elections mean in a general sense?
Did they mean that the country has rejected the Democratic agenda? Did they really mean that the Republicans have a better plan? Or did the voters send a different message to the politicians? Did the Independents sway the election to the right this time, when they had gone to the left in 2008? It has been said that this was a wave election, one which rejects the status quo and instead sends a tsunami crashing ashore, washing away those pols who did not listen to their constituents. Was it really?
Minority Leader Boehner has indicated that the new agenda of the Right will be to undo the gains the Democrats have made over the last 22 months. He has said he expects adherence to his agenda by the President, and indicated his belief that the people have spoken and rejected the so-called excesses of the current Congress. This group of negative thinkers, whose main contribution to significant outreach by the President was to refuse to negotiate, decline to produce constructive alternatives and in short, not earn their pay, now claim they are in charge. Senator McConnell is now calling for Republicans to pledge not to support earmarks. Do you believe him, or is it another ploy for publicity? Did earmarks or years of war spending put our country in this financial mess? Is that actually what this election meant? Do any of these negative folks remember that this was a mid term-election and that President Obama's term is for four full years?
This election seemed to show that the country is still divided, between polar opposites. Large numbers of unemployed people need jobs and they do not particularly care who they blame. Unlike the Great Depression, which lasted for several years, the current generations know only brief recessions, mild downturns, which like pendulums swing back again quickly. Workers today face a rust belt crossing our great industrial core states as jobs have moved overseas to far off lands with cheap labor. Unemployment at 9.6% is far too high; too many also are working at low wage interim positions. Outsourcing has been a real issue. American workers have a right to expect better of their country. Why have we given tax breaks to companies whose workers are based offshore? American companies moved factories from the New England and Midwestern industrial centers, first to the South and then to Mexico and the Caribbean, and finally on to the Far East, always in search of the cheapest prices for labor, goods and services. When the Chamber of Commerce boasts of American industry and small businesses, they neglect to mention how many large companies outsource. Who thought that when Americans played ping pong in China and President Nixon visited, that a generation later, the Chinese would hold many of our financial fortunes, from the dollars they own, and the bonds they could call due, to the goods they produce so inexpensively? Where can an American worker go to count on a good paying job? Certainly one could now begin to head to the centers of the auto industry which is starting to rebound -- in part from their bailout and partially from previous concessions from the workers. They should thank the Democrats for this. General Motors will soon again sell stock through an IPO -- Ford is showing profitability now. The TARP has made a profit and the financial sectors are bouncing back; but this has not been well promoted. The stimulus money is planned out over a couple of years and its marks are seen as communities have added roads and fixed water mains and bridges. Schools are beneficiaries as well. Teachers have been returned to work in many communities due to supplemental funds received for education.
Banks are again making money for the most part, but they are still not loaning to the small business owner. Banks are continuing to foreclose, even when homeowners are negotiating in good faith. Many have been found to not allow required due process. With all of these problems, none of which can be solved by the click of a pen, or the snap of a finger, no wonder that the Democrats were turned down at the ballot box. After all, it was they who were in charge, right? Some might say "wrong"; the first year of President Obama's term was spent trying to right wrongs, reign in financial markets, and create some guidelines for a run-away Wall Street culture. He took office with the country already deep into the recession and the confusion over the stability of the American model of unregulated finance promoted by the previous administration. The United States is slowly climbing out of this hole. President Obama's analogy of finding the car in the ditch was quite apt; he tried to drive it out with no tires, is it any wonder the ride was a rocky one?
Have the Democrats tried adequately to market their record of achievements? No. Has the incessant drum beat of negativity on conservative talk shows been misleading and deliberately so? Yes. Should the President change his communication style? Maybe. Should he capitulate to the acclaimed but artificial "will of the people" –NO. The President was elected to serve a four-year term. It is not over. Should he talk to the Republican leaders? Certainly -- part of their job is to also find a way to work together with the Democrats and to compromise when reasonable for both sides. The President should stand his ground: talk and listen but absolutely remain in charge. Those of us who agree with him should also let him know of our support.
What do you think Democrats should do to change the dialogue?
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