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The Tentacle


November 5, 2010

What now?

Roy Meachum

Democrats had their hats stuffed down their throats Tuesday! It’s happened before.

 

The 1994 midterm elections were frequently referred to in commentaries and straight-out news stories. Only that time Newt Gingrich’s crusade took control of the U.S. Senate, as well.

 

I think back to 1946; I was in the Army overseas.

 

Americans signaled they wanted nothing to do with the Democrats, especially with Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s policies. The Brits did the same thing to Winston Churchill. The Allies last World War II conference in Potsdam had two different faces: Clement Atlee of England and Harry S Truman, the man from Independence, Missouri.

 

The constitutional monarchy and this republic survived.

 

Mr. Truman won election in 1948, having succeeded FDR in April 1945; I was in Airlift Berlin at the time. And Mr. Gingrich watched as voters handed Bill Clinton four more years, in 1996. What I mean to say, in a non-partisan way, is political parties slug on through the electorate’s displeasure. Ask today’s Republicans.

 

George W. Bush lost big his last midterm. By the time his administration ran out, so did the GOP power. It’s back. But what I most dread is the repetition of Mr. Gingrich’s wholesale firing of political appointees on Capitol Hill.

 

My serious problem with ex-Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich, Jr., is that he did the same; a man on his staff publicly bragged his job was to replace all Democrats; their qualifications were less important than their party. Republicans went into their offices, as we were told at the time, because they wore the right label.

 

This nation faces now very serious problems, hurdles that must be overcome before citizens can safely sleep in their beds. Most of all, the economy and especially jobs. Federal bureaucracy is a tangled mess and both Republicans and Democrats made contributions to snarl it up. The list is long and cannot be blamed on any leader or party.

 

Barack Obama’s big mistake, as was Bill Clinton’s, came in the first two years of their terms; they both wanted to repair the very broken healthcare system. Did each in his separate way plan too far? Possibly. One of my favorite Biblical stories has to do with Solomon building the temple; one worker cut a tile too small. The wise king cautioned next time the man should err on the large size. The tile could still be used and carved to fit.

 

As I’ve written before, I spent too long at Washington’s journalistic wars to believe a bill fresh out of the hopper will be applied exactly as the majority supposes. Already there have been rumors and changes in the way the feds approach the medical and hospital crises.

 

Furthermore, as a good Republican friend pointed out: the secret is in the funding. All money matters constitutionally must come out of the House of Representatives. Since the Democrats managed to hold onto the Senate, the House leadership simply cannot push through any measure that comes to right-leaning minds. The representatives passing anything does not mean the Senate even has to considerate it. That’s how the system works.

 

“Tea Partiers” are among my closest friends and I still consider them close friends despite the tendency to push very radical tactics. The more heated remarks slide right off my bald head. I still hold affection for them.

 

The Founding Fathers were all about checks and balance; they feared most ordinary people continuing the American Revolution to the point that all people would be entirely equal. They were conservative and self-centered enough not to jeopardize slavery. At one point they apportioned newly arrived Africans as three-fifths of a free man, capable of voting. Black or white made no difference.

 

Among pre-election cries, several voices raised to the effect: we must get back to the Constitution. The U.S. Supreme Court explicitly exists for the purpose of ruling on new laws and cases in terms of the Constitution. Conservative Republican Chief Justice John Roberts has defined today’s court’s mission as to overrule anything with liberal tinges.

 

Almost on the eve of Tuesday national election, by a split vote, the justices decreed corporations and special interests can throw gobs of money at their favorites. Otherwise, this week’s results might be slightly different. Notice, “slightly.”

 

At the most, the party that controls the House has two years to get things right and “right.” Going too far or too little, the GOP might hand Barack Obama another four years. Otherwise, the new clout in Washington could turn 2012 into a political phenomenon to match 1948 and 1976.

 

Above all, I hope the new Congress can quickly do whatever is best for America, in these trying times. That’s a dead certain way to increase Republican control over the Senate and the Oval Office.

 

There’s no time to waste. To emphasize the point, new Speaker John Boehner should not repaint over ex-Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s colors in the office. There are too many far more important things to accomplish than approving paint chips.

 



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