The Patriot Post® · The 2014 Midterm Republican Wave
A Referendum on Obama ... and Republican Leadership
“An elective despotism was not the government we fought for; but one in which the powers of government should be so divided and balanced among the several bodies of magistracy as that no one could transcend their legal limits without being effectually checked and restrained by the others.” –James Madison (1788)
On Tuesday, after the perpetual campaign cycles paused for the only poll that really counts, the midterm elections, it proved again, “Another Time for Choosing.” It is not “morning again in America,” as Ronald Reagan asserted ahead of his 1984 landslide Republican victory, but there are distinct rays of light breaking through the electoral clouds on the horizon.
Republican victories across the nation, both the U.S. House and Senate races, and notably, state gubernatorial and legislature races, moved the political needle back towards Liberty!
After the smoke cleared, Republicans had historic gains both in federal and state elections. They picked up 9 Senate seats for a total of 54, retaking the majority, and gained 14 additional House seats, increasing their majority there to 247. They added two more Republican Governors, brining that total to 31 and picked up 11 more legislative chambers for a total of 68. As was the case in 2010, Republicans again won historic midterm gains, especially in statewide elections that were driven by fresh, conservative grassroots candidates such as Iowa’s Joni Ernst, Nebraska’s Ben Sasse and Arkansas’ Tom Cotton.
The 2014 midterm election was most assuredly a referendum on Barack Hussein Obama’s failed domestic and foreign policies. It was a bad day for Obama, but we won’t really get a sense of whether it was a good day for Republicans, and the country, until after the Senate and House oaths of office are administered on January 3rd, 2015. Five weeks ago, I devoted a column to this topic: “GOP Senate Majority? Then What?” And that question remains open.
Beyond the “Obama referendum,” the media talking-head chatter in the weeks before the election focused on “ground games” and getting out the vote. What even most commentators on the Right fail to note, however, is that the Democrats’ ground game is funded by billions in wealth and debt redistribution for unearned entitlements. Even though Demos are outspending Republicans in campaigns across the country, they are also buying tens of millions of votes with your tax dollars.
This is both disconcerting and inspiring: disconcerting, because our nation cannot continue on its current debt-ridden course; and inspiring, because despite the many millions of citizens who are beholden to the Democrat Party “voter buys,” there are still enough American Patriots out there to send the Left a strong message of rejection. That message ran deep, especially in gubernatorial victories in Big Government states such as Massachusetts, Maryland and even Obama’s debt-ridden “home” state of Illinois. Indeed, that message was clear in Wisconsin, the “birthplace of Progressivism,” where conservative Governor Scott Walker won his third electoral victory in four years – a state in which the entire national Democrat Party apparatus was arrayed against him and where Barack Obama won in both 2008 and 2012.
But it is going to take more than the GOP’s revitalized turnout machine magic to overcome the Demo hurdle in 2016 and beyond. It is going to take both leadership and a fearless message of conservative principles.
In the wake of the historic 2010 elections, when Republicans gain 63 House seats, 6 Senate seats, 6 governorships and a whopping 680 state legislative seats – more state legislatures than at any time since 1928 – Barack Obama famously remarked that he’d taken a “shellacking.” Yesterday’s results were a serious second coat.
In 2010, Republicans enjoyed massive midterm gains in elections that were driven by a historic uprising of grassroots “Tea Party” conservatives. Republicans gain 63 House seats, 6 Senate seats, 6 governorships and a whopping 680 state legislative seats – more state legislatures than at any time since 1928. But, regrettably, establishment Republican leaders in the House excluded the new conservatives from leadership positions.
But in 2012, that momentum was sidelined by fratricidal infighting between Tea Party activists and “establishment” Republicans in 2012, and consequently Republicans suffered 8 House and 2 Senate seat losses. But most notably, Mitt Romney was labeled “establishment” and he failed to connect with grassroots conservatives. That allowed Obama to dupe voters into electing him for a second term by a very narrow margin.
This year, though there were again notable earned wins by genuine conservative entries across the nation, the midterm election was determined far more by Obama’s failures than Republican successes.
Ahead of the election, American voters have been saturated with assertions from Republicans that the midterm election would be a referendum on Obama’s failed presidency, and they were right. Indeed, Democrat Party candidates have been scampering down rat holes to avoid Obama.
On Election Day, I was greeted by this email message from Obama (yes, I’m on all of the Left’s email lists – it’s called “Recon”): “Despite all the cynicism America is making progress. Don’t let somebody else choose your future for you. If you don’t vote today, you’re letting someone else decide the future for you. You’re letting someone else pick a reality that will shape your life for two years. So don’t let it happen.”
In effect, Obama insists that he and his Leftist NeoCom cadres should “choose your future … decide the future for you … shape your life.” And it was precisely that message which dragged the Demos down.
Of course, most Republicans would prefer that you chose your destiny, while most Democrats don’t trust you with that choice, believing they know what is best for you.
Democrats in the House and Senate have uniformly served only one constituent, Obama, and their sycophantic idolization of this charlatan finally caught up with them at the polls.
Indeed, Obama insisted in the last month, “Make no mistake, [my] policies are on the ballot. Every single one of them.” And Michelle Obama doubled down on BO’s assertion: “Make no mistake, Barack Obama’s last campaign was not 2012. Barack’s last campaign is this year – 2014.”
Two weeks ago, even after his former key political adviser David Axelrod criticized Obama for asserting his policies were on the ballot, Obama did it again. In an interview with race baiter Al Sharpton, Obama said in reference to Democrats running across the country, “The bottom line is, these [Democrats] are ALL folks who vote with me. They have supported my agenda in Congress. … These are folks who are strong allies and supporters of me.”
As for those who are dodging him, Obama attempted to clarify, sort of, that “a lot of the states, uh, that are contested at this time, are states that I did not win and so some of the candidates there, uh, you know, it is, uh, difficult for them to have me in the state because the Republicans will use that, uh, to try to fan Republican turnout.”
Democrat Senate candidates spent the last month ducking Obama.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s opponent, Alison Lundergan Grimes, would not admit she voted for Obama (even though she was an Obama delegate at the 2012 Democratic Convention), and insisted, “You know, this election, uh, isn’t about the president.”
Uh, apparently, it was.
In Georgia, Demo Senate candidate Michelle Nunn effectively pleaded the Fifth when asked if she supported Obama. Republican Businessman David Perdue beat Nunn handily, 53-45, in a race many pundits thought would go her way.
Endangered Senate incumbents Mary Landrieu (D-LA) and Mark Begich (D-AK) boasted of bravely fighting the president’s oil drilling policies. And Arkansas Sen. Mark Pryor, who lost his seat by a whopping 56-39 margin, declared his resolute opposition to Obama’s gun control agenda.
Landrieu, who has been forced into a December runoff she will likely lose, insisted that second attempt will not be “about who the president is, who the president was, or who the president will be.”
Again, of course it will be.
In truth, the Democrat incumbents all faithfully voted in lockstep with Obama in support of his agenda. Either that, or they were prohibited from voicing their opposition by obstructionist Senator Majority Leader Harry Reid, who kept more than 300 pieces of House-passed legislation – more than 100 of them with bipartisan support – from even being voted upon in the Senate.
Even the head of the Democrat Party, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, denied Obama three times on MSNBC, of all places. “Barack Obama was on the ballot in 2012 and 2008,” Wasserman Schultz said, asserting that the midterm had nothing to do with him.
Though they dodged Obama, they certainly used his playbook.
Democrats relied heavily on Obama’s race-bait tactics to invigorate their captive constituents on the urban poverty plantations. A few examples from the past week: “I don’t care what [Obama] does, he is not going to be acceptable because of his skin color,” Rep. James Clyburn (D-SC) said, claiming to channel true Republican sentiment. Mary Landrieu insisted, “The South has not always been the friendliest place for African-Americans.” And shamelessly corrupt Harlem Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-NY) groaned, “Some [Republicans] believe that slavery isn’t over and they and think they won the Civil War!”
And Demos have all been playing Obama’s classism card. An email I received last week listed the top reasons Democrats should vote: “It’s your income. It’s your life. It’s your body. It’s your healthcare. It’s your environment. It’s your retirement.” Ad nauseam… That email concluded, “They want you to stay home.”
Actually, that email was not from the Democrat Party. It was from the Communist Party USA, but certainly could have been scripted by the Obama’s White House operatives – and maybe it was.
But, what of the Republican victory in the Senate?
Last weekend, Mitch McConnell summed up the midterm: “This election is largely a referendum on the president of the United States. Most people in my state and I hope around the country believe we need to go in a different direction.”
Well Mitch, it was also a referendum on Republican leadership – your leadership in the Senate and that of John Boehner in the House.
Republicans gained control of the Senate and upped a few seats in the House in what were mostly very narrow wins, but, as noted, most of these wins were not earned by GOP leadership.
Let’s review the short list of Obama’s failures:
Obama’s administration is now defined by his litany of lies and legacy of scandals, most notably the failure of his so-called “economic recovery” plan; his unparalleled foreign policy malfeasance; his “Fast and Furious” gun-control play; his long list of ObamaCare lies leading to passage of his disastrous signature legislation, the so-called “Affordable Care Act”; his IRS enemies list; the dramatic resurgence of al-Qa'ida; the Benghazi security failure and subsequent cover-up to protect his 2012 re-election bid; his hollow “Red Line” threat to Syria; the “Russian Spring” in Crimea; the Middle East meltdown in Egypt, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Jordan and Gaza; the disintegration of Iraq; the rise of the Islamic State; the VA death panels cover-up; the immigration crisis on our southern border; the malfeasance and long-overdue resignation of Eric Holder, the most lawless attorney general in our nation’s history; and now, his downplaying of the Ebola threat, his utter unwillingness to address both Enterovirus D68, which is killing children nationwide, and the pandemic threat of jihadist Bio-Bombers.
And on Obama’s signature legislation, a Rasmussen poll determined that only 31% of voters support ObamaCare, while 58% would like Congress to “repeal it completely.”
I would argue that, given Obama’s failures on every front, if Republicans had competent leadership, most of those marginal Senate and House wins would have been decisive. Though fortunately, “close” counts with hand grenades and elections.
On the bright side, Charles Krauthammer noted, “[R]egaining the Senate would finally give the GOP the opportunity, going into 2016, to demonstrate its capacity to govern. … [C]ontrolling both houses would allow the GOP to produce a compelling legislative agenda. … If the president signs any of it, good. If he vetoes, it will be clarifying. Who then will be the party of no? The vetoed legislation would become the framework for a 2016 GOP platform.”
The good doctor is correct. Republicans will have a critical opportunity to contain the policy ambitions of the rogue Socialist Democrat regime now occupying the executive branch and its supporting cast in the House and Senate, if not under new leadership, then at least with new leadership in the highest supporting roles.
But producing a compelling legislative agenda will require outstanding leadership – which neither McConnell nor Boehner have demonstrated. As Peggy Noonan wrote, “It’s good to win, but winning without a declared governing purpose is a ticket to nowhere. … Republicans need to say what they’re for.”
The fact is both McConnell and Boehner have failed to clearly articulate a unified governing purpose. Thus, having gained a Senate majority and improved the House majority numbers may be for naught if not under spirited and principled new leadership. We are long past time for young and fresh Republican leadership in both the House and Senate – and there are rising leaders who are more than capable of making the constitutionally conservative case.
The question is, will the current GOP leadership possess enough humility to step aside for a new generation of conservative leaders – those who will honor their oaths “to Support and Defend” our Constitution, who clearly articulate our Founder’s vision for Liberty endowed by their Creator, who are committed to legislation that comports with that vision, and, moreover, will revitalize Ronald Reagan’s proven [model for restoration](http://patriotpost.us/alexander/4910] of Liberty?
The stark partisan contrast between Left and Right has been painted by Democrats as a sign of dysfunctional government resulting in “gridlock” by “obstructionist Republicans,” who Obama has promised to bypass with executive orders if they will not do his bidding. In fact, gridlock is the only gauntlet between Essential Liberty and Leftist tyranny, and Republicans should embrace it as such.
What’s at stake?
As George Will noted, “If Republicans narrowly win Senate control, their joy should be tempered by this fact: In 2016, they will be defending 24 of the 34 seats at issue. These will include three in states that are among the 18 that have voted Democratic in at least six consecutive presidential elections.”
And how is Obama going to make sure that Democrats recover the Senate and take the White House in 2016?
Right now, Obama and his strategists are conspiring to package an executive order providing amnesty for the fastest growing population in America – illegal immigrants from south of the border. Once in place, Obama will take steps to fast-track citizenship for this massive emerging Democrat constituency.
Thus, by 2016, the number of illegal alien voters could exceed 10 million, and all their relatives and friends certainly will be voting for Democrats unless Republican leaders embrace and promote the fact that Liberty is colorblind.
Obama has already committed to bypass Constitutional Rule of Law, saying, “Where Congress isn’t acting, I’ll act on my own. … I’ve got a pen … and I can use that pen to sign executive orders and take executive actions and administrative actions that move the ball forward.” In other words, when Republicans don’t give Obama what he wants, he’ll pull an executive order end-run.
Indeed, he has already demonstrated this commitment by issuing executive orders supporting his gun control agenda, as well as supporting his so-called “climate change” agenda by enacting regulations for his “war on coal” and blocking the proposed Keystone XL pipeline. The most egregious examples of Obama’s executive order abuses have included his repeated rewrites of the so-called “Affordable Care Act” in order to provide some cover for the re-election campaigns of congressional Democrats. Those measures helped a few Democrats fend off opponents.
Understand that there is significant peril when cornering an unmitigated narcissist like Obama, and there is plenty of time for more mischief between now and January 3rd. It is going to take strong and unified Republican leadership to counter that mischief, and that to come.
Finally, a few parting thoughts.
Last night, when Republican Senate victories were at 50, the 51st was that of my favorite new Republican face this cycle, that of Iowa’s Joni Ernst.
There is plenty to like about Mia Love!
Obama has radically degraded the office of president and a lot of other institutions along the way, including that of the once-distinguished committee awarding the Nobel Prize.
The formidable Clinton political machine failed.
Is there another Clinton vs. Bush matchup on the horizon? Please no. For 20 of the last 26 years, the executive branch has been controlled by a Bush or a Clinton, and the Bush political dynasty has now eclipsed that of John Adams. Let’s all say “amen” to Barbara Bush, who responded to a question about Jeb’s aspirations, “There are other people out there that are very qualified. We’ve had enough Bushes.”
For the record, while all eyes are on Hillary Clinton, I believe that Sen. Elizabeth Warren may well top the Democrat ticket in 2016, and that she will be a far more formidable candidate than Clinton.
Pro Deo et Constitutione – Libertas aut Mors
Semper Fortis Vigilate Paratus et Fidelis