Mid-terms, mid-terms, mid-terms…very few regular Americans are actually thinking about them; it’s always that way. The states that are going to elect a governor, like California and New York are, but still even then not that much. Only a handful of registered voters, which are only a relatively minute portion of the population as a whole, are going to vote in November. Only the most politically motivated people vote in the mid-terms. Most people can’t name their congressman or woman or state senator or even know what district they live in. And yet, this is probably the most important mid-term election since 1994, the year of Newt Gingrich’s “Contract With America”. Why? Because, like 1994, this election is about how to thwart a President.
The mid-term Republican sweep of 1994 started the raft of spurious investigations into the Bill Clinton White House…Ken Starr’s $45 million dollar investigation of the ‘White Water’ affair, the Monica Lewinsky investigation, the actual budgetary shutting down of the government in 1995 or 6 (I can’t remember), stuff like that. They even accused both he and Hillary of plotting the murder of Vince Foster, prompting Hillary’s comments about “A vast Right-Wing conspiracy”, a comment which doesn’t sound nearly as paranoid today as it did fifteen years ago.
The ‘Contract’ was all about stopping Bill Clinton, not good governance. Luckily for us, Bill Clinton was able to overcome this congressional assault, win a second term and still, despite the lawsuits and investigations, managed to bring us out of the Bush I recession, reform the Welfare System, begin the process of protecting Gays in the military, help stop the Serbs from slaughtering Muslims in Kosovo and leave the American people trillions of dollars in surpluses when he left office.
The 2010 mid-terms have pretty much the same agenda, except are a whole lot more virulent. There’s a hatred of Barack Obama that makes Republican feelings about Bill Clinton look like a political love-in. And it’s not even really the Republicans, at least not the Republicans as they used to be. The old line GOP is allowing itself, either through fear or a craven currying of favor and thus votes, to be co-opted by a strange and dangerous group, The Tea Party Movement.
What makes the Tea Party so dangerous is the fact that they seemingly have no real political goal, no identifiable agenda, other than a free-floating rage at Barack Obama. And although the things that enraged them…the housing bubble and subsequent economic collapse, the Wall Street debacle, the Great Recession, our massive national debt, the ruinous war in Iraq and the near loss of Afghanistan, all happened during and were the result of a Republican administration, they don’t seem to care. It’s all about stopping Barack Obama now, no matter what he tries to do.
There’s no way to debate them, there’s no way to compromise with them, because what they want and believe is either untrue or indefinable. Barack Obama is not a Communist, or a Fascist or a Socialist, a Muslim, a reverse racist or any of the myriad things the Tea Party members are willing to believe he is. He doesn’t want to take over American industry or the banks or even the healthcare industry. He does want to control the excesses of these groups, true, and he wants to make healthcare affordable to the more than 45 million people, a lot of which belong to the Tea Party, who don’t have coverage.
The thing is, a lot of the Tea Party members are angry at these very same groups and for the very same reasons, but they still don’t want it to be Barack Obama to be the one to fix things. This week, Obama proposed tax credits for small businesses, which is a for of tax cut- something most Tea Party members would approve of. But they don’t. It’s Obama doing it, so there has to be some underlying and seditious reason for it that can’t be good for America. You see, it’s impossible.
So, in two months we have an election, mostly for Congressional and Senate seats. The Tea Party has a bunch of candidates running as Republicans for those seats. And because they’re fired up, they’re going to get to polls and vote for them. We, the Democrats, aren’t fired up; we’re scared. So we’ll stay home. And Barack Obama will face a congressional hostility that’ll make Bill Clinton cringe.
Our government will be grid-locked beyond belief. Taxes will be cut as our debt grows to unsustainable levels. Healthcare will be repealed. The power of states to make up any law that suits them, whether it’s constitutional or not, will be strengthened. Rand Paul will try to pass a law allowing businesses to refuse service based on a persons color or religion or whatever criteria they chose. Hispanics and Muslims will be targeted and harassed and a few will probably be killed. Wall Street executives will find a new way to screw us. I suppose it’s even possible war funding for Afghanistan will be cut, so they can say Obama lost a war.
Can it be stopped? Sure; it’s easy too. Vote. Vote against the people who would foster anger and intolerance. Vote to allow the civil rights of every American, whether you agree with them or not, to be protected. Vote to work together, for reasoned debate and compromise. Vote to support the man we elected in the first place, not punish him for trying. Expect mistakes, missteps and outright failures, but also expect new ideas, possible solutions and successes. We’re all in uncharted territory here and dangerously close to falling off the edge of the world. If you believe we can finally succeed, vote. Please.
Oh yeah, since this is a humor site, here’s a joke:
A guy comes home to find his girlfriend has packed all her bags and is leaving him.
“Honey, what’s wrong?”, he asks her, stunned.
The girlfriend tearfully replies, “All my friends say you’re a pedophile!”
The man stares at her for a moment, then says, “Pedophile? My, that’s a big word for a nine year old.”