Out of My Mind 16

Election results: More of the same in store for the country

There are a lot of people pointing to the recent mid-termelections as a sign that there is a growing dissatisfaction with the Democraticand Republican Parties. They feel that just throwing the bums out things willreturn to normal, whatever that is.

However, the election results show that the people reallydon’t know what they want. In some cases incumbent Democrats held on to theiroffices, albeit by extremely narrow margins, despite a Republican machinethrowing mega-dollars against them in advertising. In several cases the TeaParty actually split the vote enough that the Democrat won or the Tea Partier wonin the primary leaving the traditional Republicans scratching their head.

Even the Tea Party doesn’t seem to know what they want or atthe very least how to express it. Just prior to the election, fourrepresentatives of the Tea Party, which has several various forms, were askedhow they would lower the deficit and balance the budget. All four couldn’tthink of anything to say other than “across the board cuts, everything was onthe table.” Then, when asked if that meant Social Security and Medicare, a couplestarted to waiver – they must have realized that these “socialist” programs arepretty popular with our old folks. When asked about cutting military spendingall four said certainly not, yet when one was asked then what do we cut, sherepeated their mantra “across the board cuts, everything was on the table.”Either they all didn’t know what “across the board, everything was on thetable” means, or they are just programmed to keep repeating the same phraseover and over again in the hopes the people will come to believe they actuallyhave a plan.

Getting down to specifics, Tea Party reps couldn’t name onedepartment where they could make cuts, until one said “eliminate the Departmentof Education,” then they all jumped on the bandwagon. Getting rid of theDepartment of Education would result in some savings, but nowhere near enoughto get rid of Obama’s deficit or even the deficit he inherited from hispredecessor. The Tea Party doesn’t hold the answers, and if the fourrepresentatives on television were any measure, they don’t even have a clue asto what the questions are. Maybe that’s why so many of their nationalcandidates adopted the strategy of running from the press, unless of course, itwas their buddies at Fox News.

Governing is hard and takes hard decisions that might notget you elected the next time – speaking in platitudes because you think it’swhat we all want to hear just shouldn’t cut it. Until Americans can make uptheir minds as to what they really want, we will go around like this forever.Yes, President Obama had a mandate when elected, as did his immediatepredecessors G. W. Bush, Clinton and G.H.W. Bush. But the voters are fickle -enough of them run back and forth between the Democratic and Republican Partiesthat the only real changes we get are the names on the scorecards – the resultsare the same. Unfortunately the people want instant results and are alwaysdisappointed. In order for a program to work it usually takes time. In order topay down the deficit and balance the budget hard decisions will have to be madeabout military spending and entitlement programs.

Will a return of the House to Republican control make adifference? Probably not, however, when Clinton faced the same thing ourcountry moved back toward the center, both sides were forced to act in abipartisan manner and the budget was balanced.

Unfortunately, some Republican legislators are moreinterested in limiting Obama to one term than they are to really solving ourcountry’s problems and so many Democrats have moved toward the right now inorder to placate the Tea Party, it’s doubtful any real legislation will comeout of either the House or the Senate. Two years of gridlock will be what weget. Change for change’s sake wasn’t the answer in the past and probably won’tbe in the future – it’s likely we’re in for more of the same.