November 5th, 2010
By Charles Krauthammer
Friday, November 5, 2010
For all the turmoil, the spectacle, the churning - for all the old bulls slain and fuzzy-cheeked freshmen born - the great Republican wave of 2010 is simply a return to the norm. The tide had gone out; the tide came back. A center-right country restores the normal congressional map: a sea of interior red, bordered by blue coasts and dotted by blue islands of ethnic/urban density.
Or to put it numerically, the Republican wave of 2010 did little more than undo the two-stage Democratic wave of 2006-2008 in which the Democrats gained 54 House seats combined (precisely the size of the anti-Democratic wave of 1994). In 2010 the Democrats gave it all back, plus about an extra 10 seats or so for good - chastening - measure.
The conventional wisdom is that these sweeps represent something novel, exotic and very modern - the new media, faster news cycles, Internet frenzy and a public with a short attention span and even less patience with government. Or alternatively, that these violent swings reflect reduced party loyalty and more independent voters.
Nonsense. In 1946, for example, when party loyalty was much stronger and even television was largely unknown, the Republicans gained 56 seats and then lost 75 in the very next election. Waves come. Waves go. The republic endures.
Our two most recent swing cycles were triggered by unusually jarring historical events. The 2006 Republican "thumpin'" (to quote George W. Bush) was largely a reflection of the disillusionment and near-despair of a wearying war that appeared to be lost. And 2008 occurred just weeks after the worst financial collapse in eight decades.
Similarly, the massive Republican swing of 2010 was a reaction to another rather unprecedented development - a ruling party spectacularly misjudging its mandate and taking an unwilling country through a two-year experiment in hyper-liberalism.
A massive government restructuring of the health-care system. An $800 billion-plus stimulus that did not halt the rise in unemployment. And a cap-and-trade regime reviled outside the bicoastal liberal enclaves that luxuriate in environmental righteousness - so reviled that the Democratic senatorial candidate in West Virginia literally put a bullet through the bill in his own TV ad. He won. Handily.
Opposition to the policies was compounded by the breathtaking arrogance with which they were imposed. Ignored was the unmistakable message from the 2009-10 off-year elections culminating in Scott Brown's anti-Obamacare victory in bluer-than-blue Massachusetts. Moreover, Obamacare and the stimulus were passed on near-total party-line votes - legal, of course, but deeply offensive to the people's sense of democratic legitimacy. Never before had anything of this size and scope been passed on a purely partisan basis. (Social Security commanded 81 House Republicans; the 1964 Civil Rights Act, 136; Medicare, 70.)
Tuesday was the electorate's first opportunity to render a national verdict on this manner of governance. The rejection was stunning. As a result, President Obama's agenda is dead. And not just now. No future Democratic president will try to revive it - and if he does, no Congress will follow him, in view of the carnage visited upon Democrats on Tuesday.
This is not, however, a rejection of Democrats as a party. The center-left party as represented by Bill Clinton remains competitive in every cycle. (Which is why he was the most popular, sought-after Democrat in the current cycle.) The lesson of Tuesday is that the American game is played between the 40-yard lines. So long as Democrats don't repeat Obama's drive for the red zone, Democrats will cyclically prevail, just as Republicans do.
Nor should Republicans overinterpret their Tuesday mandate. They received none. They were merely rewarded for acting as the people's proxy in saying no to Obama's overreaching liberalism. As one wag put it, this wasn't an election so much as a restraining order.
The Republicans won by default. And their prize is nothing more than a two-year lease on the House. The building was available because the previous occupant had been evicted for arrogant misbehavior and, by rule, alas, the House cannot be left vacant.
The president, however, remains clueless. In his next-day news conference, he had the right demeanor - subdued, his closest approximation of humility - but was uncomprehending about what just happened. The "folks" are apparently just "frustrated" that "progress" is just too slow. Asked three times whether popular rejection of his policy agenda might have had something to do with the shellacking he took, he looked as if he'd been asked whether the sun had risen in the West. Why, no, he said.
November 5th, 2010
Senator Harry Reid has saved the world. The quirky Reid has now admitted, in a public forum, that if t'were not for him "the world would be in a depression." Reid, apparently faster than a speeding pullet, able to leap tall bills out of Constitutional bounds...Look ! Always on the sly...it's a Byrd, it's a Pain...It's Super Senator! With Reid's ridiculous assertion that he actually forestalled a world depression, we wonder if perhaps Reid might rather be alluding to some mysterious arrangement of world druggery with one or more of his many pharmaceutical donors.
In other words, he didn't mean economic depression but rather "mental depression." To this we might suggest--that didn't work either-- but extra points for trying--even while noting that Reid has forcefully maintained that he does indeed change into his Super Senator garb in a phone-booth-sized unit located at the Ritz-Carlton--which can be found within his fortress of solicitude deep inside the inner beltway.
But while we wait for the mild-mannered Reid to don his red cape and complete his efforts to save the People from him, we yet have the President out on the left coast suggesting, and I paraphrase, "come on, give Socialism a try." The President, actually stating that President Lincoln (a Republican) could not have been nominated with the current slate of modern Republicans, was trying to leverage most Americans away from a yearning for the posterity of our past. Obama actually then exclaimed in The City of Lost Angels that "this [the election] was a choice between the past and the future," and let us not leave out this gem: "They are clinging to the same worn-out, tired snake oil ideas they were peddling before," to which we would state that the Founders might be many things, but they certainly were not "Peddlers." Regarding Lincoln, Obama could, rather ironically, be right if he were referring to some of the current moderates in office such as Olympia Snow, Lisa Murkowski and Charlie Crist among others to numerous to mention.
And yet, while the President was lambasting better than half of the population and trying to score political points against the Republicans on his never-ending campaign trail in Los Angeles--and virtually everywhere he manages to string intelligible syllables together--we concurrently read of an article, ink still damp, within the National Journal of Obama stating, "we want people in Washington to act like grown-ups, cooperate and start trying to solve problems instead of scoring political points." But wait Mr. President! You just stated in the paragraph directly above...(sigh)...never mind, You just can't make this stuff up.
When Free Men Shall Stand
As an internecine war in America now rages, sparked by Obama and the Democrats pursuit of all things "redistributive," we can begin to now see a bit of sunlight dancing through the eye-wall of the liberal storm as the upcoming election looms in what promises to be a stark defiance of Obama's policies. Many see this particular storm as having been raging since President Obama was elected--but this storm that we have been enduring is but a spin-off of a larger storm which has waxed and waned throughout the 20th century. In fact, the path to a redistributive society from a free market capitalism powerhouse being based on the rule of law would, logically, have many points along the way to bleed off various individual liberties. Interestingly, these "bleed-off" points seem to always come at times of either economic or military duresss. It is the ideology in power at the times of these "bleed-off" points that often determine where the ultimate damage falls. We can, in essence, see these points as either lessening our liberties or lessening the relentless creep of Statism, with a preponderance of the damage more often strengthening the latter.
While we have been, time after time, faced with a contemporary media which scoffs at those who consistently warn that a possible incursion into individual liberties has either occurred or may be occurring--there are those--both now and in our history--who consider themselves as the guardians of our liberty. They are those who remain ever watchful throughout their and our entire lives at the various political events and otherwise which can damage and weaken a governance both of and by the People. Ronald Reagan, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams--and many other Constitutional heroes--both celebrated and unheralded were incessant in their warnings concerning healthcare, socialism, entitlements and other dangers to a free people.
The signatory element at play among a host of ill-Constitutional temptations to a nation, being "those who would sacrifice their liberties for the sake of security, are doomed to lose both and deserve neither." Those words from Benjamin Franklin, uttered over 230 years ago, still resound in both their brilliance and in there ultimate simplicity.
Their Foul Footsteps
In what has become a battle phalanx of modern liberty eviscerations, the Mainstream Media of today, in contrast to that of the somewhat distant past, is yet another example of what used to be a major buttress against any incursions against liberty which now more often than not rages against it. Now, in the wake of fiascoes such as a failure to publicly vet Obama's extreme ideology, in addition to the recent Federally funded NPR debacle targeting free speech concerning avowed liberal and yet honest Juan Williams, we can see a pattern coming sharply into focus.
Even more stark are the obvious and ongoing vilifications of the Tea Party and a host of Conservative organizations by the Leftists within both the Media and various organizations, in addition to elected Officials--the most prominent being the President himself. It is, indeed, a fact that the forces of anti-capitalism have seen huge recent gains as a result of Socially couched machinations, which started, unwittingly or not, back in the 1930's and have seen wave after wave of resurgence. As each wave has crashed against the shores of Freedom and Free-Market Capitalism, the wave appears repelled, and yet the thing that we often fail to notice is simply that each time a wave is repelled, a bit of erosion always takes place.
During calmer times, these forces of Statism seem to make fewer incursions into our liberties, having no societal force to impel them; however, during the hurricane force storms that free-market capitalism has suffered over the past three years, in large part due to the anti-prosperity forces of Progressivism or Liberalism, the shores of our individual liberties have seen unprecedented erosion. Entire sections of our battered rights have been swept away, which only leaves pathways to future destruction that the next waves will advantage unless fierce voter opposition is brought to bear. One need only peruse the tantalizing facts continually seeping out that have found a way into our current laws as a result of the financial overhaul bill and Obamacare to see what is in store for Americans in the future.
These waves are the relentless forces of a thing called by many names, the most common of those being Socialism, Totalitarianism, Statism and even Liberalism. Each of these may be characterized by different facets, but they each, in and of their very essence, point to the same damaging ideologies at play and ultimately arrive at a final desired paradigm--that being Marxism. Think that's a bit much? In the World Heritage Dictionary, under the definition of Socialism, the second definition states the following: "The stage in Marxist-Leninist theory intermediate between capitalism and communism, in which collective ownership of the economy under the dictatorship of the proletariat has not been successfully achieved." In other words Socialism is but a waypoint to the final ideological goal of Marxism. Surprised? I can admit that I was when, I some time ago, decided to look at Socialism defined in a "slightly" different light--one need not ask why my curiosity was so terribly piqued. Classroom textbooks, as far as we can tell, leave this little-known fact out of the schoolroom musings concerning Socialism, which is another vexatious part of a puzzle now coming into sharper focus.
The Election & Obama: Don't Be Fooled
Phase two of the battle for America now begins. The victory for Conservatives was a thing of beauty as the Republicans, backed in large part by The Tea Party, scored victory after victory, not only in the House and the Senate, but in the State Legislatures as well. All across the United States, Legislatures were swept from Democrat to Republican control as the now plain to see "anti-Democrat repudiation" made the Liberals gasp in both shock and confusion.When President Obama came out with his first press conference of some time to address the massacre, he noted that "government intrusiveness" did seem to be a concern of the people. When pressed by a Reporter, he further stated that he "should do a better job in communicating." To this we would note that the President has been doing nothing but "communicating" his thoughts and efforts to a severe degree, so it would appear that something is amiss in that particular line of thinking.
The President did seem somewhat contrite, and yet, there seemed to be a pernicious feeling that he still simply does not "get it,"or is it --that-- precisely? The reason for this seeming disconnect can only be seen in the product of the President's efforts, rather than ruminating over his required responses. The President has, throughout his Administration, installed control after control from Czar's to moniter and punish free speech, such as in talk radio, to the ridiculous measures which can be found in the numerous bills that have been debated and passed in total ostracization of the Republican Party and the American People. These attacks on Liberty and non-legislative incursions have occurred to such a profligate degree, that anyone who has monitered the state of liberty would never have voted Democratic for a furtherance of the madness in the first place. One must, then, look at the history of Governance and the history of the man himself in order to gain some measure of consistency to discern what exactly is happening.
The journey from Free-Market Capitalism to Socialism and later Marxism has always been one of control. Remember, Socialism is defined as partial control of marketplace forces by a Central or Statist government. The demarcation point from Free-Market Capitalism to Socialism must first include the ingredient of weakening the rule of law or Republicanism thereby transferring a greater measure of power and control away from the individual and States and to the Government in the form of increased authority.
The second main ingredient involves a degradation of the natural Free-Market forces in the form of increased regulation and oversight, which, as the controls are increasingly tightened, will eventually stifle and snuff out the natural opportunism which comes of entrepreneurship while strangling profits--which are more often than not used to employ additional personnel.
The third main ingredient must then exert control by establishing a pivot point--a major but seemingly innocuous rearrangement of a current Societal paradigm--such as Healthcare. The final ingredient requires that the appropriate individuals be in place in order to measure these requirements and apportion each so that the demarcation point can be properly executed.
The Battle's Confusion
When we look to what might possibly motivate certain individuals to embark upon a strategy to radically remake an America that has, in the past, proven to be one of the most successful nations ever to exist, we first must examine the subtext of their political origins. Many are confused as to the actual political system America enjoys. Some seem to think of America as a Democracy, which is not exactly true. In fact, America is first and foremost a Republic and is formally defined as a Constitution based Federal Republic as opposed to a Democracy. In order to understand the difference between these two forms, we must first look to the meaning of each:
A Democracy is defined as government by the people; especially a rule of the majority and a government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised by them directly or indirectly through a system of representation, usually involving periodically held free elections.
The problem with a pure Democracy, as heatedly debated by the Founders, is that, when a majority rules, certain individuals can be left out or selected against, in essence, taking advantage of those whom are the lesser in number. Racism, religious persecution and myriad such excesses could easily prove to be rampant when a pure majority rules.
A Republic, on the other hand, is:
a political order whose head of state is usually a president and where the supreme power lies in a body of citizens but subject to the rule of law as opposed to majorities. Citizens of a Republic are entitled to vote for officers and representatives responsible to them in periodic elections.
A true Republic, such as the US, operates at a complete subservience to the law even at sufferance to the Goverment itself. This allows the Government to be limited in the actions that it can take against its citizenry--especially when the citizenry are protected by a Constitutional Bill of Rights. In fact, a Republic and its rule of law, is what limits the excess of a majority when in power.
The Mists of the Deep
Democracies, historically, have always been shown to eventually fail when the respective government intrinsically tries to take on too much by way of over-redistributing capital while stifling individuals and eventually bankrupting itself in a self-defeating loop of ill-designed Utopia to misery cycle.
Is this starting to sound familiar?
In the most recent political climate, with each branch being easily dominated by the Democrats, the nation has been, in effect, operating as a near Socialist Democracy. Thus the common refrain most often quoted over the past 16 months has been: "Governing against the will of the people"--even while the level of grassroots protests appear to be occurring at a rate which hasn't been seen since the days of the Civil Rights era.
Understanding the philosophy of the two primary American political parties can, in many ways, be divined from the meaning of a Republic as opposed to a Democracy as described above. As we have now actually, if not painfully seen, the Democrats--when in near total power--will rely heavily on social spending programs via higher taxation and social activism. Most prefer larger government and reactionary over-corrections, which, while "seemingly well-meaning," will actually stifle a Free-Market economy in the predictable process of ultimately--if not ironically--harming the various groups government is trying to aid. Conversely, Republicans tend to favor private enterprise, smaller Government and a powerful military, while espousing individual self-determination-- assuming they hold true to established ideals.
A natural offshoot to the ideology of the various parties would then be the age-old question of what defines Liberals as opposed to Conservatives. There is no strict "easy definition" to this question, as the events and issues of the day often determine how one gauges one's ideology, but suffice it to say--true American Conservatism will overwhelmingly be grounded in upholding the ideals and the Government limitations of the US Constitution along with individual liberties and Free Market principles, while Modern Liberalism or Progressivism appears to be primarily defined as that which is opposed to Conservative principles.
The Foes Haughty Hosts
In these current times of rampant "Obamaisms," or Socialist inspired Democratic play-lists, which include a lengthy iteration of various radical changes either being put into play or soon to be executed, we can begin to see a totally different range of concepts at work as compared to our historical past. These concepts are in large part why our economy can never seem to get completely going without being knocked off the tracks of success by yet another Obama-engineered and Democratically approved plan that ultimately inspires extreme instability in an economy which requires natural balances of regulation, optimism, stability and capital. Each of these ingredients being either tardy or missing from most current financial models. Take for instance the instability of not knowing what tax plan of revenue will be in place, only breeding further confusion in an economy already heaped in near hysteria.
Both the President and the Democrats in Congress have continually insisted that, without their efforts at a stimulus and engineered bail-outs, the United States would be in far worse shape than it is now. And yet, the questions that most Americans have seem to revolve around the lack of a true stimulus designed to stimulate the entire Nation --rather than a stimulus targeted upon education, State Governments and financial institutions, as our unemployment remains high and government regulation over the Banks--which access our business capital--has reached into astoundingly difficult ranges for businesses, both large and small, to access.
The Power that Preserves
But, as the onslaught has intensified, with even some Republicans seemingly relaxing their defense on the eve of probable victory, the Democrats seem to back away from their former stance in full retreat even while exclaiming legislative success but hiding a public shame of their final product in noting: A Third POTENTLY powerful Party's emergence.
Is it the Libertarians? No, but their rise in the events of the last three years has been starkly noted. Perhaps the Socialist Party? No again, they can yet only operate within the shadows and yet the Democratic Party has taken up their stealthy stilletto and have championed their admittedly obtuse goals with a fervor as anyone can now see.
Is it the Tea Party, then? Yes, but only in part. Then who exactly?
The Third Party, which is the mass of Americans who consider themselves Conservative in their natures but identify with a variety of social and fiscal ideologies--the Democratic party, The Tea Party, Reagan Democrats, certain Conservatives who rarely identify actively with the Republican party, and a host of Independents and previously moderate if not ill-political types.
The Third Party is, in essence, those Americans who normally go about their business without bothering to take full note of the goings-on of the "inner-beltway." In fact they are the Citizens who are the heart and soul of the United States. Filled with anger and retributive outrage at the failures of those whom they have elected to handle the business of America, these are the True Guardians of the Republic and they are relentless when provoked.
November 5th, 2010
It was a failure of historic proportions. With US President Barack Obama's Democrats having lost control of the House, there seems little hope for progress during his two remaining years, say German commentators. Obama himself, they say, bears much of the blame.
By Siobhán Dowling and Mary Beth Warner
On Tuesday, US President Barack Obama and his Democratic party were issued a stinging defeat in the mid-term elections as the Republicans gained control of the House of Representatives and installed themselves in 22 governor's mansions.
Though the Democrats narrowly were able to keep control of the Senate, the Republicans, who rode the wave of anti-incumbent sentiment and populist anger over the economy into office, now have the power to determine the House's legislative agenda -- and to block Obama proposals. Indeed, Republican leaders in the House have already promised that their first order of business will be to repeal Obama's health care reform -- his signature achievement.
Several German opinion-makers were clear that the election was more of a referendum on the president, who comes across as "cold, arrogant, and elitist," and less of an endorsement of the Republicans and their policies. There is widespread agreement in the editorial pages that Obama failed to make the case for his administration's accomplishments, a fact that he himself has acknowledged.
The 'True Victors'
But the biggest challenge for Europeans appears to be understanding the role of the Tea Party activists -- described as the "true victors" of Tuesday's elections -- and predicting what kind of influence they will have over the next two years.
Congressman John Boehner, the Republican from Ohio who stands to be the next Speaker of the House -- and third in line for the presidency -- made his first call on election night to supporters of the Tea Party movement in southern Ohio, and according to The Washington Post, told them: "I'll never let you down."
The effect of the elections on US-German relations were downplayed in Berlin. German Chancellor Angela Merkel's spokesman told reporters on Wednesday that the German-American friendship doesn't rest on the shoulders of just one person, namely Barack Obama, and Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said the American election was a vote on domestic policy, not foreign policy.
Still, the new balance of power has been cause for discussion.
The center-left Süddeutsche Zeitung writes:
"Europeans have to understand that America is different, and that means it is also different from how they would like it to be. And secondly any autopsy of the Democrats' massive defeat on Tuesday shows that the right did not prevail simply due to their own strength. This was a collapse of the Obama coalition -- because the president has lost the support of America's middle class."
"In Western Europe Obama still enjoys almost messianic approval ratings of 80 percent. Nowhere else on earth regards Obama's program as more self-evident. Reforms such as health insurance for all, an active state and more environmental and climate protection are seen as catch-up Europeanization, a simple normalization. Millions of Americans, on the other hand, see this as an audacious if not revolutionary agenda to serve the interests of the state."
"The fact that Obama's new state is too slow and has produced too few successes has also been politically disastrous. More than $800 billion (€ 562 billion) was supposed to stimulate the economy -- but the unemployment rate has stagnated at almost 10 percent. And while state money has saved Wall Street and the auto industry from bankruptcy, this year alone sees one million families facing the prospect of losing their homes."
"Two years ago his vision inspired voters. Today the same man often sounds strangely bloodless. Back then his cool, self-assured composure impressed many, now the same character comes across as cold, arrogant, even elitist. The right may well put on a shrill rough performance, and stand in the media spotlight. However, this president was never going to win votes on the right anyway. Obama's historic victory in 2008 was created by the middle of American society -- the independent voters and the suburbanites. It is this center that has abandoned him."
The conservative Die Welt writes:
"The country is experiencing a new version of an ancient dispute over the heart of America. It is about what belongs to the state and what belongs to the citizens. The Tea Party wants less redistribution and more individual responsibility. The fall from grace for them was the bank bailout, because for them freedom includes risking failure. Many of the Tea Party people are 'libertarians' who are horrified to see managers on Wall Street make huge profits for years and then see the entire population have to bear their losses."
"That is why the grassroots movement is shy of both parties, who they see as being in bed with big business. Naturally it is unfair that the Democrats bear the brunt of this rage. After all Obama inherited the economic crisis, the bank bailout and the first part of the stimulus program from his predecessor. However, the fact that the president chose to extend the redistributive state through a health reform in the midst of the crisis was the final straw. And unlike most Europeans, the Americans have a clear perception of who ends up paying the bill: the middle class."
"Two years ago, Obama's call for change won him the election. Now the conservative-libertarian part of the population's call for change could cause a political earthquake in the other direction. American politics have become volatile."
The center-right Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung writes:
"The question is whether Obama wants to, or even can, move to the political center -- and even further away from the disappointed left-wing of the Democrats -- in order to search for compromises with the (stalwartly right-wing) Republicans."
"Naturally the new strong men in Congress will have to play along....The Republicans face two alternatives: Either they can ensure that Obama has no more legislative successes and use their dramatically improved power to block him. Or they can seriously look for issues on which to cooperate with the president."
"Paralysis and polarization -- this might suit many politically but it is not a suitable recipe for getting America out of its deep crisis -- a crisis that Obama has to thank for his victory and that he has not yet mastered."
"An America that is largely concerned with itself is not the brightest of prospects. On the other hand it offers Washington's partners the opportunity to come up with their own initiatives."
SPIEGEL ONLINE writes:
"The Republicans didn't win this election. The president lost it. Two years ago voters were sick of George W. Bush, now it is Barack Obama who is being punished. Frustration seems to be the most important motivation for voting and there is a rapidly changing perception of which camp is to blame for the failed policies."
"Yet it is not really clear what policies US citizens want. On the one hand they want a lower public deficit, but at the same time they demand tax cuts and increased spending on job creation. They demand more than they can get. And when their wishes are not fulfilled they turn to the next choice."
"If there was one true victor on election night then it was the Tea Party movement.... What matters now is whether the Tea Party can manage to establish itself as an independent power in Washington, as a voice of dissent next to the Republicans -- in order to profit even more from the wave of dissatisfaction that is sweeping the land."
"Then anything would be possible in two years. Even the prospect of the former governor of Alaska, Sarah Palin, as the first female president of the United States."
The business daily Handelsblatt writes:
"It was the state of the economy that cooked up the devastating defeat for Barack Obama in the congressional elections. And it could also be the economy that disappoints him when it is time for his re-election bid in two years. After all, a rescue is nowhere in sight. Congress threatens to be paralyzed and the financial instruments are exhausted. If one were a pessimist one would say that the only hope Obama has is a miraculous reactivation of the US economy. But it remains a mystery where that is supposed to actually come from."
"Barack Obama could tell the voters the truth. He could explain that the US economy is not competitive enough, that they have to make savings, and that it is not enough to look elsewhere for someone to blame, for example China and its currency policy. Obama could tell the Americans that the country is facing tough years ahead, before things improve. He could dare to cut spending significantly and use the resources that this frees up to invest in innovation. He could do everything to make sure dynamic US firms prosper and that no companies are rescued just because they are big. However, such a message does not win votes. Obama will instead save the Americans these painful facts. And will bet everything on hope."
The left-wing Die Tageszeitung writes:
"The (Tea Party) movement, with their demands for a smaller state, less federal spending and opposition to Obama, succeeded in shaping the Republicans' agenda. The fact that they could also, through their shrill demonstrations, racist undertones, and, at times, absurd demands, claim this election for themselves, is high drama."
"The Tea Party will have achieved its goal when Republicans in Congress have successfully hindered Barack Obama from pushing through further reforms. But they can also continue to shake up Republican beliefs. They are against any agenda that assigns the state more power. The electoral defeat of the Democrats is therefore also a warning sign for the United States' capacity for reform."
"The Republicans in Congress can now block all policy proposals for the next two years. This destruction is their declared goal. The Democrats and President Obama largest task over the next two years will be to develop a new, constructive narrative opposing (the Republicans), and to bring this uncertain country back to its senses."
The business daily Financial Times Deutschland writes:
"US President Barack Obama failed with one of his primary aims. He didn't succeed in gathering the country's political camps behind one goal. This fact appears almost obsolete after months of protests against Obama's agenda, agitated by fired-up Tea Party activists and the sensational tirades of right-wing provocateurs in radio and TV. Now the mood has also been dragged down by the voters, and not only from the hard-core right radicals in the provinces, but also among the circles who voted Obama into office two years ago...."
"In order to pursue policy with the blockade being threatened by the House of Representatives, Obama has to close the gaps. He must bridge the divide between himself and the moderate Republicans, which could, in turn, initiate another break, this one between the moderates and the Tea Party activists. The conservatives must show who among them is ready to take seriously their congressional responsibilities, and who chooses, instead, the option of becoming known as a total failure or nay-sayer."
"The vote in this election wasn't primarily a vote for Republicans, it was a vote against Democrats. For this reason, the conservatives must, in this notoriously unpopular Congress, show their organizational intent. It would be nice if both sides would try to reach more of a balance."
Other Spiegel Online news:
November 5th, 2010
WASHINGTON | WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Republican Representative Ron Paul on Thursday said he will push to examine the Federal Reserve's monetary policy decisions if he takes control of the congressional subcommittee that oversees the central bank as expected in January. "I think they're way too independent. They just shouldn't have this power," Paul, a longtime Fed critic, said in an interview with Reuters. "Up until recently it has been modest but now it's totally out of control." Paul is currently the top Republican on the House of Representatives subcommittee that oversees domestic monetary policy, and is likely to head the panel when Republicans take control of the chamber in January. That could create a giant headache for the Fed, which earlier this year fended off an effort headed by Paul to open up its internal deliberations on interest rates and monetary easing to congressional scrutiny. Paul, who has written a book called "End the Fed," has been a fierce critic of the central bank's efforts to boost the economy through monetary policy. "It's an outrage, what is happening, and the Congress more or less has not said much about it," he said. Paul said his subcommittee would also push to examine the country's gold reserves and highlight the views of economists who believe that economic downturns are caused by bad monetary policy, not the vagaries of the free market. Global organizations like the International Monetary Fund also will come under scrutiny, he said. "Eventually we're going to have monetary reform. I do not believe the dollar can be the reserve standard of the world," said Paul, who has called for returning the United States to a currency backed by gold or silver. Many economists say that the Fed's decisive actions during the 2008 financial crisis prevented the deep recession that followed from turning into a depression. But grassroots outrage over the bank bailouts and other Fed actions helped propel many Republican candidates to victory in Tuesday's congressional elections -- including Paul's son, Rand Paul, who will represent Kentucky in the Senate. "With a lot of new members coming and the problems getting worse rather better, there's going to be a lot more people who are going to be looking for answers," Paul said. (Editing by Cynthia Osterman)
WASHINGTON |By Andy Sullivan
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Republican Representative Ron Paul on Thursday said he will push to examine the Federal Reserve's monetary policy decisions if he takes control of the congressional subcommittee that oversees the central bank as expected in January.
"I think they're way too independent. They just shouldn't have this power," Paul, a longtime Fed critic, said in an interview with Reuters. "Up until recently it has been modest but now it's totally out of control."
Paul is currently the top Republican on the House of Representatives subcommittee that oversees domestic monetary policy, and is likely to head the panel when Republicans take control of the chamber in January.
That could create a giant headache for the Fed, which earlier this year fended off an effort headed by Paul to open up its internal deliberations on interest rates and monetary easing to congressional scrutiny.
Paul, who has written a book called "End the Fed," has been a fierce critic of the central bank's efforts to boost the economy through monetary policy.
"It's an outrage, what is happening, and the Congress more or less has not said much about it," he said.
Paul said his subcommittee would also push to examine the country's gold reserves and highlight the views of economists who believe that economic downturns are caused by bad monetary policy, not the vagaries of the free market.
Global organizations like the International Monetary Fund also will come under scrutiny, he said.
"Eventually we're going to have monetary reform. I do not believe the dollar can be the reserve standard of the world," said Paul, who has called for returning the United States to a currency backed by gold or silver.
Many economists say that the Fed's decisive actions during the 2008 financial crisis prevented the deep recession that followed from turning into a depression. But grassroots outrage over the bank bailouts and other Fed actions helped propel many Republican candidates to victory in Tuesday's congressional elections -- including Paul's son, Rand Paul, who will represent Kentucky in the Senate.
"With a lot of new members coming and the problems getting worse rather better, there's going to be a lot more people who are going to be looking for answers," Paul said.
(Editing by Cynthia Osterman)
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November 5th, 2010
House Republican leader John Boehner criticized President Obama on Thursday, saying that the president and other Democrats are in "denial" about Tuesday's midterm elections, in which scores of Democrats were ousted from Congress as Republicans regained control of the House of Representatives.
In an interview with ABC's "World News," the Speaker-in-waiting said he believes "there seems to be some denial on the part of the president and other Democratic leaders of the message that was sent by the American people." Boehner told Diane Sawyer that "when you have the most historic election in over 60, 70 years, you would think the other party would understand that the American people have clearly repudiated the policies they've put forward in the last few years."
Boehner insisted that he holds no "personal animosity" towards President Obama, but took direct aim at the president's signature legislative accomplishment. Asked about health care reform, Boehner said, "I'm pretty confident that come next year that we will have the votes to repeal that [health care] bill and replace it with common sense reforms to bring down the cost of health insurance and expand access."
The Ohio Republican delivered a blunt message about the House of Representatives. "The place is broken," he said. He also shared his thoughts on Nancy Pelosi and her legacy at the post that Boehner will likely soon occupy. "I think it's too early to predict what it [history] will say, other than the partisanship got worse, not better."
Boehner spoke about his relationship with the president, telling Sawyer:
"Well, we just really haven't spent much time together. You know? He -- he came and spent four years in the Senate. We didn't have a lot of contact -- with junior Senators. And -- when he was elected to the White House with big Democrat majorities in the House and Senate. And, you know, they tended to go their own way. There were a couple of perfunctory meetings along the way where he invited us down and asked for our ideas. But there really hasn't been the opportunity to spend -- any time together."