Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Anyone else hoping for gridlock?

The day after an election is always a little surreal. If your side wins you feel a wonderful sense of elation and possibility; if your side loses you are left shaking your head, wondering how the majority of voters could have fallen for the other side's BS.

While the actual result may not be a big surprise (the polls and pundits all seemed to fairly accurately predict the outcome) and the economy really does suck. Somehow it is human nature to discount the polls that don't favor your side and look for reasons why they may not be right. (I guess that is called denial!) But the reality is still a shock, even if some people/historical precedent predicted it.

Following 8 years of disastrous Bush policies, Obama got about 18 months to make a real difference with both houses of congress. He enacted a stimulus which stopped a recession from turning into a depression, he saved the US auto industry, he gave renewables a helping hand, enabled the legislature to fix a broken health care system (extending coverage to 35 million Americans) and created some financial regulation that may prevent the next financial crisis from spiraling out of control. And he cut taxes on the middle the largest amount in history! All while reducing the deficit by nearly 17% in 2010 (from 1.4T to 1.2T over the mess Bush left).

Now we are left wondering how Obama and the Republicans will extend the Bush tax cuts while reducing the deficit. (Hint: you can do one or the other but not both.) And if there is anything good (literally anything) that can get passed in a Senate where the Dems control only ~53 seats, considering what a struggle it was to accomplish anything when they held 59/60 seats.

I see a lot of gridlock and stalemate coming, unless Obama and the Dems decide to cave (i.e. compromise totally) to the demands of the corporatist Republicans. I'm almost hoping for stalemate--even though that might lead to Obama losing in 2012--just because I abhor the fact that the republican agenda (as near as I can tell) is for the US to return to the good old days of congress helping corporate America screw the little guy at every turn. [And here I thought the message of 2006-2008 to congress was to stop screwing the little guy.] And I firmly count myself among the "little guy" in America crowd, least anyone think I'm condescending.

Basically the best outcome of the next two years is that come 2012 we are no worse off than we are today...


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