Obama Probably Will Not Move Toward the Middle

Thursday, 04 Nov 2010 10:56 AM

By Doug Wead

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What do we learn from Tuesday's election? And what does it mean for 2012?

We learn that Barack Obama’s re-election as president is now far more problematic. Sure, anything can happen. The whole world can change in 30 days. But right now, Obama is in trouble.

But didn’t Reagan and Clinton suffer setbacks in the congressional elections during their second years in office and still recover, winning re-election?

Yes, but this setback is more severe and it is more intense. Polling shows that. I’ll put it this way, neither Reagan nor Clinton had a gubernatorial candidate from their own party tell them to take their endorsement and shove it.

And then there is the issue of where the battles took place. The Republicans won big in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Wisconsin, and even the governor’s office in Michigan. These are all critical, key presidential swing states. With two exceptions, you didn’t see that in the Reagan-Clinton off-year congressional losses.

So will Obama not follow the Reagan-Clinton playbook and try to govern more from the middle? Will he compromise his agenda, work with the Republicans? Abandon the more radical elements of his plans?

Given his personal record in the Senate, that is unlikely. He would often go it alone, with four other colleagues, rather than compromise his more liberal agenda. But then there is this other problem. In a sense, it’s too late.

President Obama has already achieved most of his agenda, including its most radical elements, while, by comparison, Reagan and Clinton were not even half finished with their respective programs. This election was like closing the barn door after the horses got out. So the electorate is furious and they may not be finished.

So what can the Democrats do now? What will work for them now?

Well, keep in mind that President Barack Obama has the vast majority of the national media still behind him. And the best wishes of many Americans who are still infatuated with the idea of an African-American president. They want it to work. And they want him to be successful. And things can change quickly. And the economy rarely stays down this long. So even with mismanagement, there is enough creativity left in the marketplace to allow it to rebound, at least a little.

If it doesn’t, it might not matter. President Obama may not care. He may not even run for re-election. It is very likely that all along he intended to achieve as much of his radical agenda as he could in a first term and he has done it.

Who was the big winner in the 2010 elections?

Redistricting for Republicans was the big winner.

Because of a combination of the new census and now Republican power in several key state legislatures as well as the governor’s mansions, the Republicans will help draw the electoral maps. This will impact Florida, Georgia, Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Texas, and even to an extent, in New York, where the most outrageous liberal plans are now likely to be usurped. This will shape congressional power for years.

Yes, but among the presidential candidates, who were the big winners? What personalities came out ahead?

Sarah Palin was a big winner. But in a sense this was really a moment for Ron Paul, the most unlikely candidate last time around. You can say, Ron Paul lost the election last time but won the revolution this time.

The tea party really started as a Ron Paul fundraiser, although it was co-opted by Sarah Palin. (And you have to give her credit for that.) And all that Ron Paul said about the economy, the dollar, our dependency on China, the bailouts, things that were laughed at two years ago, became the standard campaign language of last night’s winners. And remember, Paul turned his army loose after his big convention in Minneapolis. He charged them to go out and run for office themselves. And they did.

An NBC poll released Monday showed the No. 1 message the tea party wants to send to Congress is to get back to the basics of the Constitution. It sounds like a Ron Paul sound bite. Oh yes, Rand Paul, the congressman’s son, won election as the new U.S. Senator from Kentucky. All in all, it was a good night for the U. S. Constitution.

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