After the Nov. 2, elections, many Americans believe their country has turned to the conservative right vastly. Coming from the dramatic shift to the left only two years ago, how could things have changed so much?
No matter what the politico’s say, America hasn’t changed that much over the time; Americans vote against the political party in power when their power is unchecked. In a sense, voters didn’t totally reject President Obama’s administration; they simply restricted and counterbalanced it by authorizing the Republican Party to check the administration.
Believe it or not but this is déjà vu. According to the Washington Post, This is the largest political shift in the House during one election since the Truman administration. However, the 1940s were not the last time a President saw his policies rebuked at midterms. Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush can all feel Obama’s pain on the subject. Yet, while it does throw a monkey wrench into the ruling party’s agenda, many times this jolt of reality brings about a sense of urgency and compromise that can be productive.
Forcing both parties to reconcile their policies and acknowledge that they have to work together to get anything done is usually what everyday Americans really want because that’s what they have to do too.
Despite what political parties tell you, mixed government is a natural part of the American political system and balance of power is a healthy guard against too much of a shift to one direction in just one term.
Many Democrats already are moaning that this will end the passage of new legislation. However, this is not necessarily true. Clinton faced a similar situation in 1994, when Newt Gingrich brought his Contract With America. Despite obvious battles over the economy, budgets and other policy, bills were passed and enacted. The difference is that they were discussed and eventually re-written to compromise with the opposition, something that must happen in a country where the rights of the minority are to be respected.
A common misconception is that gridlock in government means it’s not doing its job. This is false because government is supposed to debate bills before they become laws. Government is not doing its job when it passes bills without any debate. It may be messy, but if we desire efficiency, dictatorships are the most efficient governments.
The common view is that nothing will get done, but politically that’s not likely. The shift will now mean that both Republicans and Democrats will have a vested interest in passing bills because they will have to answer to their constituents in 2012, when the next election rolls around again.
While it’s true they will clash on issues, they will hammer out compromises when it is needed most, and we need compromise the most right now. Politics, like all things, needs balance. God has the devil, the Beatles have the Rolling Stones, Rick Bobby had Jean Girard, and now President Obama has John Boehner.