The election is over, results are in, and Republicans now have control of the Senate in addition to the House. This is the first time they have had control of Congress since 2006, and while Republican voters may be celebrating tonight, the party has a tough road ahead.
Republicans have benefited from the Obama presidency whether they want to admit it or not (as evidenced by this election). While maintaining their obstructionism, they’ve been able to push the blame back on the president and Democrats in the Senate. How else would the “party of no” gain control of the senate?
Some want to blame the President’s low job approval ratings. But without context, what do those ratings really mean?
Though President Obama’s approval ratings have gone down, his lowest rating is still higher than the lowest rating of every president since JFK. This despite the fact that under his watch: the stock market is rising, unemployment is below 6%, gas is on average under $3.00 a gallon, all Americans have access to affordable health care, Bin Laden was killed, the deficit is shrinking, no American has died of Ebola and there are no signs of the virus spreading on home turf, more Americans are graduating high school and moving on to college, and taxes are on average better for middle class families.
He did all this in spite of GOP obstructionism, and the GOP still took over the Senate.
If this sounds like a dystopian novel, it gets better.
Their win comes at the end of a long list of GOP “accomplishments” such as: shutting down the government; voting to repeal, damage, or delay the Affordable Care Act a whopping 50 times; blocking pay equity; blocking an extension of low student interest rates; blocking nominations for appointees such as the surgeon general; blocking a jobs bill; suing the president; and proposing impeachment. See a pattern?
They did do one shocking thing, though, they blocked legislation to place new sanctions on Iran. Iran! The place about which Mitch McConnell said this:
“If Iran, at any time, begins to enrich uranium to weapons-grade level, or decides to go forward with a weapons program, then the United States will use overwhelming force to end that program.” -2012 Senate Minority Leader McConnell
Really? You’re willing to go to war, but you wont place sanctions?
“I hope no one remembers that. A-yup.”
Well, what’s done is done, you might say. But it isn’t done. Oh no. It’s only the beginning!
And you know what, there is a silver lining here: Republicans now have no one to blame but themselves! As Democrats would probably like to point out, when you’re the majority, you get assigned the majority of the blame.
Realizing this, you have to wonder what McTurtle & Co. are thinking. They lost their coveted “minority,” “pseudo-underdog” status. But they have, and now it’s time to revamp or let the Grand Ol’Party succumb to the inevitable and die.
If you think I mean the GOP must become more inclusive and cater to women and minorities, let me clarify: I don’t. Sorry minorities and women, they won the election, they don’t need you anymore.
No, the GOP needs to become innovators, instead of nay-sayers. Before, Republicans were cozy: they could rail against Democrat actions/bills without producing their own. Now it’s their turn to make the first move.
And, for their own survival, the first move should not be impeaching President Obama. The last impeachment proceeding left a bad taste in people’s mouths and was a waste of time & money.
What the impeachment proceeding will do is set the Republicans in a bad light. Trying to impeach a “tyrant” when you have little power is one thing, but trying to impeach a president when you have the power to propose legislation is a big no-no.
That tactic will send the message to moderates of both sides and independents that the GOP will only continue their partisanship at the expense of real issues and the American people. There is, after all, Hillary Clinton to think about, and 2016 in general. While the GOP may have the House in the bag till 2020, the presidency is another thing.
Impeachment may be the key to securing a Democrat victory in 2016. And if it goes badly enough, there may be a Democrat party ready for the redistricting in 2020.
So while I really, really, really hope they throw all their effort into impeaching the president (because it will backfire so sweetly), they really shouldn’t.
The GOP victory seems solid, until you look at its foundation: they party of no has become the party in power. And with great power comes great responsibility.