The Elections

Posted on November 3, 2010

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The day after the midterm elections in the United States of America, much is being made of the Republican victories. I’m going to say something, too, and then I promise that I’ll be done and say no more on the subject.

Some say the midterm election was a sweeping condemnation of the expansion of government under Barack Obama and the Democratic Party. Others say it’s a massive rejection of Democratic policies. I disagree on three counts.

  1. First, all the Republicans won (nationally) was the House of Representatives. The best they can hope for in the Senate is parity. Not all the states had gubernatorial races. The President is still a Democrat, with veto power. That’s not sweeping or massive.
  2. Second, it’s too early to tell what anyone meant by voting Republican. Personally, I think it means that we, as a nation, are short-sighted and impatient. We want things to be better NOW, so we voted for the party that presided over every major economic crisis since 1900.
  3. Third, and finally, it would be far more interesting to cast party aside and see how many incumbents lost this election. I have observed a certain frustration with career politicians, and I’m curious if that manifested in a rejection of incumbents.

In between all the mudslinging and shouting, I noticed something about the campaign ads running in Washington state. The Democrats talked about what they accomplished, and about what they wanted to do next. The Republicans criticized the Democrats, but offered few (if any) alternatives. We need criticism. We need to be able to explain and to justify, and criticism forces us to do so. Criticism, however, is not a plan for economic recovery and growth.

In the long run, it doesn’t matter. Our political system remains unchanged. The vicious mudslinging on all sides of the elections must give way to deal making, persuasion, and negotiations. The real test, for both parties, is whether or not they can now lay aside their election campaigns and get down to the business of running the country. I hope they can, but I fear that they can not.

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Posted in: Leadership