- The Washington Times - Monday, November 1, 2010


Congressional Democrats are poised to lose the largest governing majority in a generation. The House certainly will return to Republican control after only four years, and the Democrats’ 60-seat Senate supermajority effectively will be reduced to a tie.

Liberals are having a hard time explaining why this is happening. Talk of a “wave” or “tsunami” election gives the impression that it’s a natural disaster, unforeseen and unstoppable, nobody’s fault, probably the product of global warming. Others posit the message of the election is murky, or mixed. Lame self-justifications aside, today is a referendum on the Democratic Party’s poor stewardship of government and a stinging rebuke for the Obama agenda rammed into law over the wishes of the American people.

One talking point Democrats are pushing is that they pursued sound policies but had “poor messaging,” which is a politician’s way of saying voters are too foolish to know what’s good for them. Of course, it would be difficult to explain the many benefits of legislation lawmakers vote for without having read. Outgoing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s comment in March that “we have to pass the [health care] bill so that you can find out what is in it” will not only go down in history as a classic of political doublespeak; it encapsulates the problem Americans have with the current Congress. Lawmakers who don’t know the laws they are passing have no business being in office.

Another canard is that Democrats are being victimized by a “new incivility” in political discourse - they represent the calm, rational center and their opponents are bitter, divisive extremists. Liberals seek to “restore sanity” while their opponents are fear-mongers. This story line appeals to radical elements of the left who harbor a lurking contempt for the American people who are simply unqualified to render judgment on their enlightened theories of rule. This ignores the fact that the current Congress steamrolled through one of the most ideologically driven agendas in history. One irony is that today will see the downfall of moderate Democrats representing competitive districts, who were badgered into voting in favor of Obamacare, “cap-and-trade” and other liberal initiatives after being promised they wouldn’t pay a political price.

Former President Bill Clinton - who presided over his own first-term electoral catastrophe in 1994 and is thus something of an expert on Republican landslide wins - denied this election is a referendum on the Obama agenda. “It. Is. A. Choice,” he said. “A choice between two different sets of ideas.” Well, obviously it’s a choice; the people are simply choosing to reject the Democrats’ ideas. Mr. Obama quipped, “The big difference here and in ‘94 was you’ve got me” - a point on which all sides can agree.

According to Gallup weekly survey data, Mr. Obama is only favored by 34 percent of those who attend church weekly, 37 percent of whites, 38 percent of married voters, 39 percent of those 65 and older, 41 percent of independents, 42 percent of men and a mere 44 percent among college graduates and those earning over $60,000 a year. Among “pure” independents - those without party ID or ideological affiliation - Mr. Obama’s rating has sunk to a miserable 32 percent. These numbers represent a complete repudiation by the middle class.

The 2010 election requires no complex explanations. The Democrats were handed a supermajority and exploited it to the hilt. They acted on an ideologically driven agenda that was far from the mainstream of American politics. Absolute power corrupted absolutely. Now voters have their say, and it is up to the next Congress to try to repair the damage.

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