Midterms

The 2010 midterm elections are only a week away.  In some states, my home state not included, early voting has already commenced.  And since the beginning of this election cycle, analysts and forecasters have been predicting that the Republican Party will make huge gains in the House of Representatives and in the Senate… and in various state elections, as well.  And normally these types of elections are quite easy to predict, but there was been an X-factor in the 2010 cycle… the Tea Party movement within the Republican Party.  (I mentioned the Tea Party movement in a previous entry titled “Know-Nothing”.)  This is far… really far branch of the conservative party that is trying to purge the Republican Party of all moderates.  The Tea Party movement is also trying to take out all of the Washington establishment since that seems to be the main theme for this year’s election… with the voting masses up in arms.

My home state has an open Senate seat and has featured two heavy-weights battling it out.  Until recently, all of the ads that were shown were negative.  And even before the ads ever started, I knew how it was going to end up.  The Democrat (who has been our Secretary of State) would be labeled as someone who would “rubber-stamp” the Obama agenda.  And the Republican (who has been a Congressman from downstate for many years) would be pegged as the typical, corrupt Washington insider.  And yet, my prediction with this has proven to be true.

But there is something I have noticed about the typical American voter.  They seem to have long-term memory problems.  They forget that there was a Republican President when the first Wall Street bailout happened and when the economy was in a nose dive.  Now yes, there was a Democratic-controlled Congress during this time as well.  And I find it interesting that the Republican Party only cares about deficits and spending when the Democrats are in control.  Do we need to remind people of the budget surplus George W. Bush inherited when he first entered office…. and the amount of deficit spending he had done by the time he left office?  The big difference is that President Bush gave the people rebate checks… or roughly translated as “giving back our own money that we worked for.”  The problem with this was that he didn’t cut spending anywhere to compensate for it.  So it went onto the national debt…. which is something the Republican Party now has a problem with since Obama has been doing plenty of deficit spending himself.

The federal stimulus package was the main point of this.  It was one of the first major pieces of legislation that President Obama signed into law (though it was the second stimulus bill… the first one being done with President Bush and Speaker Pelosi).  It was designed to jump start the economy and help out the states and put people to work.  Some will say that the stimulus has worked while others say it hasn’t.  (Republicans who mostly voted against it do try to take some credit for it in places where it is working.)  Overall, I would put the federal stimulus package at about 50%, which is technically still a failing grade.  Yes, there were plenty of “pork-projects” within the stimulus bill that were pretty much wasteful spending and shouldn’t have been included.  But there were also a number of projects within that did put people to work or kept people at work.  In fact, there have been a number of projects in my local area that are the result of the stimulus bill and wouldn’t have gotten done without it as the city and state wouldn’t have had the money.  And these were major projects such as road and bridge repairs (with several bridges severely deficient and the possibility of collapsing).  Also contained within the stimulus bill was money for state and local governments to help keep them afloat during these troubling times… so they could keep fire-fighters, police officers, EMTs, and school teachers employed so that public safety was not compromised.  These I see as valuable things.  Did the stimulus do what we all thought it would.  Not really.  Unemployment is still quite high.  But has anyone noticed that it is no longer free falling?  It has been remaining fairly constant for quite some time now.  And while some companies are still laying off workers, others are starting to hire.  And what most Americans don’t realize is that big business in this country is currently sitting on over $1 trillion in profits right now and refusing to spend it by hiring new employees.  How much does anyone want to bet that this tactic changes if Republicans win back control of Congress?  Afterall, big business loves the Republican Party.

There are many other sticking points in this election.  I’m not going to really cover them all as this would become an extremely long blog entry… and some of them have been covered in other entries.  In my personal opinion, the American voter needs to rise above all the election hoopla and remember that both parties have played a significant role in getting us into our current situation.  The Republicans will not be the savior of our economy.  And as for the Tea Party movement… they’ll align themselves with the Republicans and will quickly melt into the mold.  They might become heavy obstructionists and refuse to compromise on anything, but overall, they won’t be any different.   People need to realize that there are viable third parties out there and independents that are running.  Do your homework and look these up.  Maybe one of these candidates would be best.  And if you do live in a place where you receive sample ballots in the mail, don’t just throw it out.  Look it over instead.  You might be surprised at what you find.

As for my predictions for these 2010 midterm elections… I do see the Republican Party getting control of the House of Representatives; however, I think the Democrats will retain control of the Senate and that will mainly be due to the likes of Republican/Tea Party candidates in Delaware and possibly even Nevada.   But take nothing for granted in this election cycle… as anything is possible with the Tea Party probably at its height and that anything could still happen.

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