Friday, October 22, 2010

What Happens If Republicans Win Big And Nothing Changes?

Republicans are looking like they're going to regain control over the House of Representatives and a slim chance at winning control of the Senate. A divided Congress would mean that the only way that key legislation could get through - and that includes the budgets, military appropriations, etc., is on the basis of compromise.

Such compromise isn't exactly in the vocabulary of the Tea Party voters who are trying to send a message to Washington that the status quo is unacceptable. Their candidates that do get elected will quickly find themselves in a position of having to vote on measures that should deserve their vote.

These are candidates who have overpromised change and fiscal responsibility, but which will get a bitter lesson in the fiscal realities of the federal government. They may hope to overturn the health care legislation enacted earlier this year only to find that they lack the votes or wherewithal to get that legislation passed through Congress, let alone obtain sufficient votes to overrule a Presidential veto that would surely come with such efforts.

They may hope to cut funding on social programs, but find that they again run into the same political realities.

That, in turn, may result in a moderation of the party leadership into a more pragmatic view towards the long term. What this may do to the Tea Party is nothing short of causing apoplexy.

In other words, just as Republicans once painted Democrats as socialists, Marxists, and communists for their health care plans and takeover of whole sectors of the economy - the reality turned out to be quite different. Democrats did make hash of the health care reform (as I've repeatedly pointed out problems with the legislation that actually impose higher costs on consumers - not reduced costs as promised).

Now, we've got Democrats painting Republicans as extremists and the reality may turn out to be quite different.

Or one could hope.

If the Republicans do indeed turn out to be far more radical in their policy shift than their public persona - the Tea Party - then we will face a far more acrimonious two-year period running up to the 2012 elections than in any recent election.

So, what would happen if the Republicans don't win the majority in the House, and fail to take the Senate. Then all bets are off as to what the Tea Party would do. They would probably riot against the Republican leadership and blame the leadership for failing to win the votes rather than finding that the real fault lay in truly flawed candidates who were incompetent, racist, and blowhards, out-of-touch with reality, and far more radical than their constituencies (all voters, not just party faithful).

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