The midterm election on Tuesday reminded me of the 2010 midterms when the Democrats yielded control of the House of Representatives. In the weeks leading up to the election I was talking to a then-friend of mine about the possibilities that lay ahead. He was adamant that should the Republicans win it would signal the end of everything. When I refused to agree he started yelling at me. In my own hostel room.
The intervening years has seen the US government shutdown twice, and the federal government is currently funded through a continuing appropriation rather than a budget. In the last year 124 laws have been passed, the fewest ever. But Obamacare was upheld, and the proverbial sky did not fall.
Democratic Presidents have not always found it difficult to work with a Republican Congress. Bill Clinton managed by behaving like more of a Republican than Ronald Reagan. He would promise the Democrats one thing, then deliver the GOP the opposite, then come back to the Democrats and say ‘It could be worse, I could be a Republican’! The lesser of two evils game that liberals play when they vote was in Bill Clinton’s favour.
Has anyone noticed the fawning over Clinton practiced by the gay community today? Sure he publicly supported gay marriage in 2009, recommended the Supreme Court strike down the Defense of Marriage Act in 2013, and he signed some executive orders as President to the effect of combating discrimination in the workplace. But he was also behind the notorious Don’t ask, Don’t tell policy for the armed forces. He is a man that will do anything and everything in his own interest.
Barack Obama is not cut from the same wretched cloth. And though the Republicans have a small majority in the Senate, and continue to rule the House, successfully overturning a presidential veto will be a stretch. And Obama doesn’t have to worry about reelection, so his political maneuverability is enhanced. Given that he has just over two years left to create a lasting legacy, I expect him to be extremely tough from here until January 20, 2017.
Don’t worry, the sky seems pretty stable to me.