Wednesday, August 25, 2010
US Mid Term Elections 2010 - Democrats Will Keep Congress - But Only Just!
Contributor:: Chris Ford
Saturday, 7 August, 2010 - 16:15
This is the last in a series of articles about three of the most important global elections in 2010. This covers the US midterm elections scheduled for November 2nd. The other articles were on the British and Australian general elections.
US President Barack Obama will at least breathe a sigh of relief if the Democrats retain both Houses of Congress on November 2nd.
At the moment, despite slipping popularity, the Democrats look likely to retain control of both the House of Representatives and the Senate. But on both counts, the margin could be narrow for the Democrats with anywhere between twenty to thirty seats being forecast as possible House losses for that party. Currently, the Democrats hold 257 House seats as against the Republicans 178. In the maximum thirty seat switch seat scenario I have just given (which has been guessed at by many pundits), the House will remain Democrat-controlled but on a slim 227-208 margin.
In the Senate, anywhere between four to six Senate races could go against the Democrats. This might re-tip the current Democrat-Republican balance in that 100 seat chamber from being 59-41 to around 53-47. It might even tie if the number of Democrat losses goes higher than eight.
In any event, the American system means that Obama doesn't have to resign, even if the Republicans were to regain Congress. Under the US system which strongly seperates the three branches of government (executive, legislative, and judicial) and the number of constitutional checks and balances which ensure that no one branch of government dominates, American presidents of one party have often had to co-habit with Congresses controlled by the other party. For example, former Republican president George W. Bush dealt with a Democrat controlled Congress during his last two years in office from 2006. In fact, almost all American post-war presidents (with the exceptions of John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson and Jimmy Carter) have had to effectively share power with the opposing party in this way. It must also be pointed out that almost every president since the 1900s (with the notable exceptions of Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1934 and George W. Bush in 2002) has seen his party lose seats at mid-term elections.
Another aspect is that if even a president's own party retains congressional control, they don't completely get their own way on legislation. The American system means that presidents can propose legislation (which is introduced by a supportive legislator in either chamber) but they can often lose votes as party discipline is much looser than it is in Westminster system parliaments like New Zealand's. Therefore, right-wing Democrats have had a habit of voting against their own party's administrations and they have forged alliances with Republicans to do so in either or both chamber. It is interesting to note, though, that it is unusual, at least in the House, for Republicans to vote with left-leaning Democrats on issues.
However, in the Senate, cross-party collaboration has been the order of the day on many issues due to the more consensual-style of that chamber.
How does this situation impact on Obama?
Currently, the president has almost solid support from the congressional wing of his own party on domestic policy. For example, nearly all congressional Democrats voted for Obama's health care and financial reform bills, which were two landmark pieces of legislation. On foreign policy, it has sometimes been a different story with Obama relying almost solely on Republicans (and a few Democrats) to support war funding bills for the Afghanistan War in Congress.
As it stands, Obama looks set not to face the scenario that confronted Bill Clinton post-1994. Having been defeated on health care legislation and facing a number of scandals (mainly Whitewater), Clinton's Democratic Party succumbed to its worst post-war congressional loss that year as the Republicans, under Newt Gingrich, took over the House and Senate. This meant that in order for Clinton to make any political progress, and thus secure his own re-election, he had to swing further to the right.
While Obama looks likely to escape that fate, he will still have to be mindful of a number of issues. The first is the ongoing war in Afghanistan. Obama has laid out an exit strategy from a war that he inherited from his successor, George W. Bush, in what clearly amounts to a Vietnam-style slow cut and run strategy. But in order to do so, he has misguidedly ordered a troop surge into that country (a move which, as a candidate, he criticised Bush for with respect to Iraq). With the war now going badly, he risks becoming another Lyndon B. Johnson-type figure if he doesn't withdraw even sooner (which I think he should do).
The second is the post-BP spill clean up in the Gulf of Mexico region. This spill impacted on the livelihoods of fishermen, workers and small businesses in the electorally crucial southern states. Obama did well to win states like Florida and Virginia in 2008 and any alienation of southern sentiment (in a region that has become strongly Republican) might leave him vulnerable in 2012.
The third and most crucial issue is the economy. At the moment, both the US and global economies are undergoing a shakey recovery. Obama must be praised for his brave decision to keep running a Keynesian-style fiscal stimulus programme that appears to be delivering something of a halting recovery. While the federal government deficit is now sitting at record levels (US$2 trillion), one has to think as to how the American and global economy might have gone had not the programme been put in place. We might have been pulling ourselves out of, not a recession, but a depression! Over the next congressional term, in the lead up to the presidential contest in 2012, Obama will have to extremely careful about any stimulus withdrawal plan.
Obama, for all his faults, is the most progressive American leader since Lyndon B. Johnson in domestic policy terms. My hope is that enough Americans will elect or re-elect congressional and state Democrats in a way that endorses Obama but yet puts him on notice that he shouldn't completely jettison the progressive agenda. I think it's just too risky to put the GOP (Grand Old Party) back in charge of Congress. I say this as the Republicans appear to be both gaining some strength but are, as yet, hamstrung by divisions in their own party, particularly caused by the rabidly libertarian, Fox News-endorsed Tea Party movement. And they face the prospect of nominating (amongst the leading Republican contenders) Sarah Palin who is merely a more photogenic, female version of Dubya Bush in 2012. Their talent scouts will be hopeful that more 'moderate' Republicans like, for example, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal (of Indian descent) might step up to the plate to become the GOP's own Obama that year.
Short of that, Americans are now bracing themselves for the post-September campaign onslaught. While campaigning has been going on for all of this year, it's about to reach fever pitch. And out of all those office seekers, the most important candidate will be one who isn't running, at least not this year - Barack Obama. ___________________________________________________________________________________________
MY PERSONAL INSIGHTS ON THIS ISSUE:
I really see the Dems gaining the majority in both houses in the coming midterm elections. Obama is clearly charismatic and charming enough to lead the Dems to the pathway to victory! As a matter of fact, I’m now predicting that Obama will have a 2nd term as POTUS. Such prediction of mine has based upon accurate political statistics and current economic data in the USA.
The science of numbers in this world does favor the Dems in the coming midterm elections. The Repubs will have their proper break in the 2012 US elections. But, still, I do perceive that Obama can easily win the 2012 presidential election, and that prediction is based on mathematical and scientific facts. Amen.
Sunday, August 22, 2010
AUNG SAN SU KYI AS A SAINTLY FIGHTER FOR BURMA'S FREEDOM
She's a brave and shining knight not for violence,
But for human rights, righteousness and peace.
Courage and wisdom are the weapons she wield
Against a confused and oppressive tyranny
Which many of her own people had long-feared.
Her people are now ready to be truly-free!
She is Burma's saintly fighter for freedom!
Her dedication to non-violence is now
An epic-tale that can move mountains to vow
And be committed to giving freedom to Burma.
Miss Aung San Suu Kyi's sincerity in freeing Burma
Would wipe out and depose a dictatorship,
Due to her inspirational leadership.
She is Burma's saintly fighter for freedom!
She has endured a deafening house detention;
She was able to withstand harsh persecution;
She rose up from the ashes of repression!
She never surrendered to howling depression,
Because she's a saintly knight for her nation.
Aung San Suu Kyi's righteous courage and wisdom
Would lead Burma towards the path to freedom.
By: RUMMEL PINERA
We have to congratulate Noynoy Aquino for winning the 2010 Philippine presidential election. Though Noynoy seems to be more of a reactionary conservative than a liberal, he ran successfully under the banner of the Liberal Party. The ones who will surround Noynoy Aquino when he assumes the presidency will surely come from the various progressive sectors that make up the Liberal Party of the Philippines. In other words, the progressive groups will surely dominate the next governmental administration in the Philippines.
Another consolation from the said victory of Noynoy Aquino in gaining the Philippine presidency is his openness to the idea of re-opening investigations against the alleged scandals that had rocked the Arroyo administration in the past years. Such may pave the way for the proper prosecution of those people who got involved in such graft-and-corruption scandals.
I think Noynoy Aquino’s success in gaining the Philippine presidency would be a blessing to the Filipino nation. CONGRATULATIONS TO THE LIBERAL PARTY OF THE PHILIPPINES! CONGRATULATIONS TO THE FILIPINO PEOPLE FOR THEIR SUCCESSFUL HOLDING OF THE FIRST POLL- AUTOMATED NATIONAL ELECTION IN THE PHILIPPINES! AMEN.
The Philippines had successfully held its first automated national election last May 10, 2010. The results of such an election were both accurate and credible. It can be said that such an election was relatively peaceful. Also, the first automated national election in the Philippines reflected the true will of the Filipino people. It's suffice to say that such an election was honest and truly-clean.
It's time for the Filipino people to move forward in achieving progress through constitutional means. The first automated national election in the Philippines was another peaceful revolution. Just like in the First People Power Revolution, the peaceful revolution of the first automated national election in the Philippines catapulted an Aquino to the presidency- Benigno Simeon Aquino III. The whole Filipino nation has already been congratulated by the international community last June and July of this year. The Commission on Elections in the Philippines should also be congratulated for doing its job well last May 10, 2010. The Philippines is now looking forward to the day when all private armies would finally be disbanded, so that all the would-be elections in the country will not be troubled anymore by the political warlords in the provinces.