Tags: Barack Obama | Republicans | Senate | midterms | Obama

WSJ: GOP Senate Victory May Not Be So Bad for Obama

Tuesday, 07 October 2014 12:23 PM

There may be a surprise silver lining for President Barack Obama if Republicans take control of the Senate next month, according to The Wall Street Journal.

When Democrats and the GOP have to share power in Washington, congressional history has shown that it works in favor of the commander in chief who has managed to pass important legislation.

The Journal's Gerald Seib noted in the Capital Journal section that the sessions when Congress is controlled by one party while the president is from the rival party have turned out to be "the most productive."

Fox example, former president Bill Clinton managed to pass a balanced budget, updated telecommunications laws, revamped the tax rates, and created a new welfare package, all while the Senate was under GOP control, the newspaper said.

"When power is evenly split in Washington, both parties have to temper their policies," Seib writes. "They can worry less about fully satisfying their ideological bases. When they have to compromise, it's easier to say, 'Hey, we had no choice. We have to put up with the other side.'

"When the two parties have an equal share of power, they also have an equal share of responsibility for what does and doesn't get done — and have to worry about taking the blame in the even more important 2016 election if things don't get done.

"For Mr. Obama, in particular, full GOP control of Congress might well shift Republicans' focus from stopping him to making things happen."

The loss of the Senate could, in fact, mean that the president will be working alongside the possible future Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, which also depends on whether the Kentucky senator can beat Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes in a close race.

With Republicans in control of the Senate, as they fully expect, Obama is more likely to be dealing with McConnell, who's known to get things done, rather than House Speaker John Boehner, who has problems containing rebellious conservative members, the Journal said.

The most likely legislation to come up during a new period of split government would be an immigration overhaul and another tax code revamp. Democrats want a pathway to citizenship while the GOP calls for a gradual approach with no citizenship. Republicans want no extra taxes while Democrats plan to add revenue, the Journal reported.

However, in the case of a slim victory by the GOP, there's also the chance that both sides will sit on their hands until the 2016 elections, putting off legislation until either Democrats or Republicans possibly have complete control of the House and Senate — and the presidency.

"For Senate Democrats, loss of control would be a disaster. It would mean loss of committee chairmanships, loss of the ability to control the agenda, loss of some perks of power," Seib writes. "For the Democratic president, it's just possible there could be worse things."

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There may be a surprise silver lining for President Barack Obama if Republicans take control of the Senate next month, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Republicans, Senate, midterms, Obama
Tuesday, 07 October 2014 12:23 PM
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