One of the reasons I decided to start blogging again is so I could discuss topics that I just won't opine about on Facebook.... first and foremost - POLITICS! In our polarizing society, people are just far too quick to judge others based purely on how they vote, and I just think that is stupid. To me, Facebook is for sharing common interests, not driving a wedge between friends.
With that in mind, here on the Beach, I am eager to discuss this year's elections, which saw big victories for the GOP in the Virginia and New Jersey Governor's races. I found the outcome to be fascinating on a couple of levels. First of all, the spin-doctoring is hilarious. The Huffington Post this morning was essentially leading with "Voters Don't Blame Obama", while Drudge's lead was simply "Uh O".
The fact is that voters largely don't blame the President. Obama is still drawing a 50 percent approval rating, after all. However, I think the outcome DOES tell us a few things about how Americans want their government to be run - from the middle.
Folks - this is a moderate country. For all of the ranting from the right and the left, most Americans - 70 percent of us, myself included - are really in the muddled middle. And we like it that way. If the power in Washington goes too far in one direction, America will find a way to make a course correction, and I think last night's results in Virginia and New Jersey are just a symptom of things to come. Given that Democrats are in power right now, and also given that the quality of life is not getting much better very quickly, it's inevitable that 2010 will be a very good year for the GOP. This is not to say that Republicans have better ideas than the Dems - it's just their turn to gain momentum. The same independents that put Barack Obama in office 12 months ago voted 2 -1 in favor of the Republican candidates last night.
It's time for the Democrats to come to grips with the reality that last year's election of Barack Obama was a cultural phenomenon... a media moment... the coronation of a rock star. The election drew people to the polls who have never voted before and may never vote again. They were not voting for a party - they were voting for a brilliantly marketed brand name - Barack Obama. The fact that he is a Democrat is besides the point, and any politician who thinks he can use the Obama name to win an election is a fool - just ask Jon Corzine.
Both parties need to start listening more to constituents. The left has labeled those "tea party" and "town hall" protesters as right wing whackos, but the fact is that the GOP has only been able to tap into that anger because the Republicans are not the party in power. People who take the time to go to public meetings and to march on Washington are angry, and they are tired of useless debate - they want action.
Ironically, we could see a LOT of action in Washington in the coming months, and it will be interesting to see how it plays out. Pressure to pass a health care reform bill has just been turned up several notches, because the Democrats have to prove they can get something done. If health care fails to pass, then we might see a whole flurry of bills from the Democrats flying through Congress.
It'll be a fire sale to end all fire sales - getting those "pet" bills turned to law before the other party takes back Congress a year from now.
And the big wheel keeps on turning...