Only the Beginning…

2014-10-17 17.17.13In about two years, the Barack Obama era will be over.  It is hard to say what it all means. My personal view is that he has achieved very well under trying circumstances at least on domestic policy.  The U.S. is a strange country though, with an ugly racial history, directly connected to the ideological warfare central to the Obama presidency; so it is not surprising that President Obama is now facing a more difficult final two years.  If the country’s racial history plays out like it has always played out, the next two years might set a high bar for stupid politics.

On November 4 that drama begins when the mid-term elections are held. It looks like the Democrats stand to be crushed and lose control of the Senate.  This will set the stage for an interesting two years.  Already, Senator Ted Cruz of Texas says that if they win on November 4, there is no reason to hold hearings to confirm a new Attorney General. They should wait until the new Congress is seated. The stupidity advances; nothing happens, nothing gets done, governance has become nothingness. But this is our right: we get to elect who we want, smart, dumb, indifferent, regardless, freedom rules.

It is likely that if the Republicans do win they will probably pass bills to repeal President Obama’s major accomplishments. He will then veto said bills and they won’t be able to override.  It might be also true that they will try to impeach him. This has been said before and it would not surprise me. The GOP has petty, useless politics down to an art. It should be noted that the Democrats will likely become the filibuster party as the GOP has been for the last 4 years.  However, we will wait and see.

The GOP can also defund programs more than likely but President Obama gets the last word in the end because the founders, those strange men who created this casino called America, gave no branch of government any overarching power. They have three branches with power but all three are quite limited in what they do.  In the end, the Obama agenda won’t be in trouble unless the Republicans win an overwhelming majority in the Senate which is unlikely.  In addition, Mr. Obama has no incentive to work with the GOP like Bill Clinton did in 1994-1996 when he lost the midterms. Mr. Obama’s work is done (he being in the second term already), at least the major pieces of his legacy; that is if the legacy survives.  The Affordable Care Act, the Dodd-Frank Law, the Stimulus package, the Equal Pay Act, Gays in the military; these laws are with us, barring a cataclysmic shift in political players.

That brings us to the real election that matters for Barack Obama. That occurs in November 2016.  The candidate for the Democratic Party will be Hillary Clinton and she will be trying to make history. She will be trying again to become the first woman to become President of the United States. Why not? She also has a tremendous job on her hand: it will be her task to fight off the Republicans and hold onto the accomplishments of the Obama years. She will be like Harry Truman was to Franklin Roosevelt.  This is important to remember.

FDR passed the New Deal programs but when he died in 1945 the GOP was already chattering about repealing many of the programs including Social Security.  Enter Harry Truman, the Vice President, who had only been in office three months when Roosevelt died. Truman not only held the line on most of the major programs but he  expanded some of them including Social Security.  It seems most black workers were not included in the original Social Security law. Truman signed the law that added them.   He also demanded universal health coverage but that never made it. He desegregated the military as well making sure he had his own legacy.

So on November 4, 2014 when the Republicans surge to control (if they do), no worries if you are a die hard Democrat. The election does not mean that much after all. The election of 2016 is the one.  Hillary Clinton has to get it done; otherwise, I am afraid the GOP might actually erase the Obama era from the annals of American history. That would please a lot of people but would not surprise me either.


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