Political Risk For The Party In Power

The old adage, "Be careful what you wish for," is never more true than in politics. The political party out of power always wants to gain control, but being in control has major political risks. Politicians want control for their political parties, feeling that control will offer them the privileges of power. These perceived privileges include: more powerful leadership positions; controlling the political agenda; control of committees and sub-committees; higher budgets; and "pork" projects for their constituents; among other things. In their fervor for control, they ignore certain political realities, or convince themselves that the past election results in favor of their party was due to certain factors, when the reality might very well be otherwise.

The Democratic Party enjoyed a near landslide election result in November 2008, not only electing the President, but gaining sizable majorities in both houses of Congress. The margin in the Senate, when one counted in the two Independent Senators (from Vermont and Connecticut), who generally vote with the Democrats, actually secured the magic super-majority of 60, which, if voted as a bloc, created a filibuster- proof majority. In their fervor and celebration of the results of the election, Democrats began believing their own campaign slogan, and falsely interpreting the results to mean that Americans voted for "Change," when a more accurate analysis would probably be that the American electorate had enough of the Bush- Cheney Republicans.

President Obama began his Presidency with a near record popularity and approval rating, which has dramatically dropped in a year. When the economy worsened and joblessness increased, many Americans perceived that the President and his party's agenda was further to the "left" than most Americans desired. While most Americans wanted their government to make the economy and, specifically, joblessness, the number one priority, it was perceived that too much time was spent on a health insurance plan that polls indicate the majority of Americans disapprove of. While the candidate Obama portrayed himself as the peace candidate, and promised to get out of Guantanamo, etc., President Obama's policies often dramatically conflicted with those promises.

There's an old political adage, "It's the economy, stupid." President Obama and the Democratic Party did not sufficiently heed this advice, and the mid-term elections in November 2010, found Democrats on the outside once again in the House of Representatives, and the margin in the Senate reduced dramatically. Americans predominantly blame incumbents, and specifically, those in power, when things are going badly. Republicans are now rejoicing about the Republican victory in the Massachusetts Senate race, the New Jersey Gubernatorial race, and their dramatic victories in the mid-term elections, etc. Republicans had better be careful what they wish for, because if they don't have a workable plan that is palatable to the American public, their rejoicing will likewise turn to regret.

The lesson politicians should learn is that, in the long run, we have had enough rhetoric and empty, unworkable, un-doable promises. When politicians become statesman instead of just "empty suits," both they and the American public will benefit!


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