What the Midterm Elections Really Say About the GOP and Obama
The Guardian’s Gary Younge argues that though Republicans won the Senate on Tuesday, they didn’t “win big” by any means. As the columnist put it, given Congress’ lack of popularity, and the fact that, according to an exit poll, Democrats are still liked by 44 percent of the nation (as opposed to the 40 percent who view the Republican Party favorably), “Americans have just elected the party they like the least to run the government body they least trust.”
And as far as President Obama goes, Younge believes that while the recent elections were not an indictment of his presidency, they were indeed a “reflection.”
This election was not a referendum on Obama. Or if it was, it was inconclusive. He is as much the president in New Hampshire, where Democrats won a Senate seat, as in Colorado and Georgia, where they lost.
But the midterms were a reflection on Obama’s presidency. His second term has lacked purpose and direction as it has lurched from crisis to crisis, many of which – the NSA, the IRS, White House security – have been self-imposed. Where he has taken a stand, like on gun control after the shootings in Newtown, Connecticut, Obama was unable to achieve legislative change. Where he has not taken a stand, as with immigration reform, he is being punished for it. Polling shows the public actually backs Obama rather than Republicans on key issues, including mending rather than repealing Obamacare, immigration reform, increasing the minimum wage, same-sex marriage and a host of other issues. The problem is few people have any confidence that Obama will actually get any of them done.
Still, 2014 was hardly an endorsement of the Republicans. That they have now taken control of the Senate marks a substantial change in terms of leadership but not a particularly consequential one in terms of legislation. The Republicans will emerge with only a small majority, and if the party’s recent experience running the House of Representatives is anything to go by, the GOP is likely to be a dysfunctional caucus – and anything Republicans do come up with that is unpalatable to Democrats, the president still holds a veto. Obama at times has proved himself in negotiations to possess the spine of a jellyfish, but unless he caves, nothing much more will get done this session than during the previous one.
Only this time the excuses will be different.
—Posted by Natasha Hakimi ZapataWait, before you go…
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