A WORD OF INTRODUCTION: This the "b" portion of the Nov. 3 issue
which we promised on Wednesday. This is the analysis and commentary
on the results of the Nov. 2 Election. In the "a" portion on Wednesday we
only had time to report on the results which were available to us at our
6:00 AM (Pacific time) publication deadline. The overall importance of
that election will doubtless mean that there will be ongoing analyses for
a long time, and so our commentary today cannot be considered to be the
"final word" on the results . . . but there has to be a time when we express
our opinion, and then get on with discussions of continuing current events.
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In 1776, years before our Constitution existed, John Adams, our nation's
second president, wrote in his "Thoughts on Government," "Government is
instituted for the common good; for the protection, safety, prosperity,
and happiness of the people; and not for profit, honor or private
interest of any one man, family, or class of men; therefore, the people
alone have an incontesable, inalienable, and indefeasible right to
institute government; and to reform, alter, or totally change the same,
when their protection, safety, prosperity, and happiness require it."
In those few clearly defining words, one of our better known, very often
quoted Founding Fathers, foresaw the problem we have been facing, and
prescribed the solution to it -- "reform, alter or totally change" the
And that is what happened in the mid-term election, Tuesday, Nov. 2,
2010. Granted, the "government" wasn't "totally changed," but it was
"altered" as the three-point Democrat control of the national legislative
process (President, House and Senate) was changed to two-point
Democrat control (President and Senate) and one-point Republican
It was a dramatic -- earlier we termed it "historic" -- election, and the 60
seat Republican gain as control of the House shifted was the largest since
1948 -- or more than 60 years ago. It was in every sense a repudiation of
the two years of the Obama agenda. However, in his press conference
(the new White House term is "presser") on Wednesday, the most
frequently used term to describe it was "He just doesn't get it." The
administration is completely out of touch with the American people. Yes,
Mr. Obama admitted he and his party had taken a "shellacking," and
yes, he said it felt bad -- but when asked if his policies had contributed to
that massive defeat, he suggested that the public doesn't understand just
how good his policies are, and there has been a failure in communication.
How best to summarize the broad viewpoint on how government will
function as the result of Tuesday's election? This brief comment by
Charles Krauthammer expresses the present situation very succinctly:
"I think that the message is unmistakable that the Obama agenda is
dead. ... Now it will depend on how Obama proceeds. He has tried a
two-year experiment in hyper-liberalism, and the country has said no."
What does it all mean? First, it has to be understood that no one should
expect an abrupt turn-around in the way our national government operates.
True, Republicans have won control of the House -- but did not win
control of the Senate. However, the Democrat control of the Senate has
been weakened, and on a party line will no longer be able to impose
cloture, which means the Republican members -- if they vote as real
Republicans -- can delay or even block some Obama sponsored proposals,
not only in the House but also in the Senate.
The probable Speaker of the House, John Boehner, has put extension of the
"Bush Tax Cuts" and repeal of Obamacare at the top of his agenda. Already
Mr. Obama has indicated that he may be willing to extend the tax cuts, not
only to his much-cited "middle class," but even to his much maligned
wealthy Americans. As for repeal of Obamacare, the Republicans can't
accomplish that, because even if any such bill could be passed (and
remember, it must have Senate approval), it would face an immediate
presidential veto -- and there is no way to gain the two-thirds vote in
both the House and Senate to over-ride such a veto. There is the possibility
of stopping the funding of certain aspects of Obamacare, assuming that
such appropriation bills remain when the new session of Congress convenes in January.
One of the great problems of controlling the House and nothing else (the
Presidency or Senate) is that there is little likelihood of accomplishing
anything of major importance. It has been said that control of the House is
more useful as a brake than as a steering wheel; the Republican majority
can stop new Obama proposals, but it can't force him to accept any new
Republican proposals. George Friedman, writing in "Stratfor" made this
comment: "The Republicans cannot override presidential vetoes alone,
so they cannot legislate, either. The possible legislative outcomes are
thus gridlock or significant compromises."
Given the ideological differences between these two future opponents,
that is not an unrealistic prediction. In comments from the two men on
Wednesday, every suggestion of cooperation between them was met by the
insistence that there be more give-in by the other. John Boehner said, "The
new majority here in Congress will be the voice of the American people,"
and has made it clear that he intends to repeal or change Obama's health
care reform law. Mr. Obama expressed a totally opposite viewpoint,
saying that any effort to bring Obamacare up for vote again would be
"misreading the election." So that is where we are as of today . . .
An almost overlooked factor in the election: According to a post-
election survey conducted by Public Opinion Strategies, the largest single
constituency in the 2010 mid-term election was that of self-identified
Evangelicals, who made up 29% of the total vote, and who cast 78% of
their ballots for Republican candidates. That survey also found that 52%
of members of the Tea Party movement claim to be conservative-
evangelicals. In another exit-poll survey by CNN, Roman Catholic voters
cast 58% of their ballots for Republican candidates and 40% for Democrat
candidates. This is the sort of response we had hoped -- and prayed -- for,
and is expressed by Chuck Colson in these words: "This is the time for
the Church to rise up and really be the Church"
And what do we do now? Very simply, we start right now to prepare for
the 2012 Election Day, Nov. 6. We achieved some great accomplishments
this week -- control of the House, and the election of some important
Senators, and the election of several state Governors, and the control of
several state legislatures. In 2012 the entire House will be up for election,
along with one-third of the Senate . . . and, of course, the president. Those
are significant tasks to Pray and Vote for. This week's election was Step
One. Step Two is 732 days away.