Tomorrow is January 19, 2010, and it promises to be an historic day in the history of this country. It promises to chart the future of this country as well.
A year ago tomorrow, this country inaugurated her first president who is not a Caucasian male. That was an historic event and a monumental milestone in the maturity of our nation and her race relations. The color of a person’s skin no longer affected their ability to achieve election to the highest office in the land.
What has that man done in his first year in office?
He has extended and expanded the outrageous growth of federal spending initiated by his predecessor, he has fostered even further partisan divisiveness among our elected officials, he has weakened the world’s respect for our nation, and he has weakened our domestic security. He has seen multiple domestic terror attacks and attempts, and he has agreed to try many of those terrorists, and many who preceded them, as if they were citizens of our country, in civilian criminal courts.
He has shepherded legislation that purportedly will reform our healthcare industry by increasing taxation, reducing protections fostered to our seniors, and has allowed, even encouraged, Congress to demonstrate just how partisan it can be in its determination to pass such legislation. While promising in his campaign to be increasingly transparent, he has allowed the final negotiations to take place in secret. While promising to eliminate favoritism for special interest groups, he has allowed for favorable components of that legislation for Louisiana and Nebraska, and he has personally negotiated an exclusion for unions from the “Cadillac” tax that is a primary component in the funding of that legislation.
And lets not forget proposed legislation to tax large financial institutions who accepted, some begrudgingly, the TARP funding, and paid it back with interest, while excluding government run General Motors, Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac (the upper management of which received, or will, exorbitant bonuses such as those in the private sector are condemned for).
The environment? He has threatened that the EPA will impose carbon limits and fines if somewhat more moderate legislation is not enacted – based on science that is not settled.
Job growth? Unemployment is significantly higher at 10% that when he was elected, and underemployment, a statistic that includes those working part time, at lesser positions than for which they are qualified, or who have given up looking for any work, is at 17%.
And what has he done for race relations? It seems that if you express opposition to his agenda, you will be labeled a racist! So much for the maturity of our race relations.
On a more positive note, he has done more to stimulate the electorate’s interest in current legislative activity than any president in history. That this post is being written is but one small example of such stimulated interest, and for stimulating the electorate he should be commended.
Tomorrow marks the end of Barack Obama’s first year in the Oval Office, and tomorrow will mark the nation’s decision as to how the remaining three years will proceed. That decision will be made in Massachusetts, where the first “tea party” occurred, and where the new “tea party” may prevail – or may not. Though it is technically a Massachusetts election, it has become a national movement and a national referendum.
Martha Coakley will be elected to the Senate of the United States tomorrow, and Obama’s landmark healthcare legislation will be passed into law, as presumably will be many of his other progressive proposals. As many as possible will be passed into law before the mid-term elections that almost certainly will be swept by more conservative candidates.
Scott Brown will be elected to the Senate of the United States tomorrow, and Obama’s ability to pass such progressive, controversial, divisive legislation will cease to exist. His one vote in the Senate will change the balance of power.
One must wonder if Scott Brown ever rolled over in bed on an election day because “my one vote doesn’t matter?”
Voters in Massachusetts will decide tomorrow the immediate future of the governance of our nation.
Others have projected that should Brown win tomorrow, Democrats will rush healthcare legislation through before he can be seated. Failing that, the legislation will be rewritten so it can be called a budget bill, so it can be passed with a simple majority.
That seems highly unlikely. If Scott Brown is elected to the Senate in Massachusetts tomorrow, it will be seen as the beginning of the end of power for the Democratic Party, as it will be a prophetic moment as regards the aforementioned mid-term elections. Vulnerable Democrats will be afraid to touch this, or any, controversial progressive legislation.
Will Barack Obama be among those who hear the wake-up call? Bill Clinton heard such a call, responded by moderating his agenda, and was elected to a second term. Many are predicting that Obama will respond in a similar manner.
Again, this seems highly unlikely. Bill Clinton is a politician. Barack Obama is an ideologue. He firmly believes that his agenda is best for the nation and the world, and will cling to those beliefs at all costs. They will cost him his presidency.
If Brown wins tomorrow, Barack Obama’s ability to govern and impose his progressive agenda will be over, and little will be done in Washington until conservatives take control of Congress in November.
Then what? The Republican Party is in terrible disarray as it attempts to define itself. Is it the party of Bush and Cheney, is it the party of the Tea Party movement, or is it something in between?
Who will lead the GOP in defining itself? Will it be Michael Steele, the controversial chair of the Republican National Committee, who supported Dede Scozzafava in the New York 23rd Congressional District Special Election and who has been eerily silent during the Massachusetts Senatorial Special Election culminating tomorrow? Will it be Sarah Palin, figuratively or literally leading the GOP toward embracing the conservative movement now so active in the country?
Can the Republican Party assume a meaningful leadership role, or will it fail as resoundingly as it did for eight of the last nine years? Will conservatives grow frustrated with the status quo in the GOP and form a third party?
If they do, the progressives in the Democratic Party will be exuberant, as it will assure them of being restored to power no later than 2012. The Republican Party must redefine itself, and that definition must embrace the conservative movement. If Michael Steele can’t bring that to fruition, he must be removed. Republicans can make that happen later this month.
One observation they should consider is that Scott Brown is hardly a “tea party” conservative. He is a Massachusetts conservative, which is a more liberal animal by far. But conservatives across the country have accepted him, embraced him, financed him, and will vote for him if they live in Massachusetts.
Conservatives have embraced a quasi-conservative Republican, and Republicans must embrace those conservatives.
Tomorrow has all appearances of becoming an historic day for our nation, but if that happens, it is just the beginning. Much work is left to be done to guide this nation where a statement made tomorrow says she needs to go.
Update/Correction: Tomorrow is not the anniversary of Obama’s inauguration, but rather is the end of his first year in office.