Now that the election of 2014 is over, let us look at the lessons we should have learned. I’m not just interested in the results but also with the exit polls that get into what the voters were actually saying.
Americans by large numbers are not happy with the American economy. The citizens of the country do not feel that America is financially secure. There is a real disconnect between what the U.S. Government tells us about the economy and what the country believes to be true. While the Administration says the economy is good and growing, with unemployment dropping, families have lost full-time employment with benefits, and now work two or three part time jobs at lower pay without benefits. Others have given up looking for work because they are so frustrated. It is hard for these folks to believe they are doing well financially.
The country is opposed to ObamaCare or the Affordable Care Act. That does not mean that Americans do not want health care to be reformed. There are areas in the new law, such as covering pre-existing conditions, transferring your coverage when changing employment, etc. that Americans like. Forcing an 80-year-old nun to have and pay for abortion and contraception coverage is silly. There are many portions of the law Americans want changed. The Administration does not see any need to revise the law and opposes any attempt to change it.
The southern border is wide open. Even when we deport those few people who show up for their hearings, they just come right back into the country. Americans want the border closed. The Republicans want this done before they redo immigration. The Obama Administration does not want the border closed under any circumstances.
Obama is traveling overseas visiting foreign heads of state. These foreign leaders read the American press and know the losses the Administration suffered. It will be interesting to see how much clout America loses due to a weak leader. China and Russia will flex their muscles and exploit America’s weaknesses at every opportunity.
Everyone agrees that our immigration laws need to be reformed. At a post-election meeting last Friday between Obama and leaders of Congress, Obama told the Congressional delegation that he will create a new immigration law by Executive Order before the end of the year. The Republican members of Congress stated they plan to pass legislation on immigration reform early next year after they take control of the U.S. Senate. They strongly urged the President to wait until they take control. Obama said he would not wait. He expected the Republicans to pass the legislation and put the bill on his desk before the end of the year even though Republicans can not control the agenda or pass bills until they take control next January.
There are areas where Obama and Congress can work together. The Keystone XL Pipeline has strong Democratic support in Congress. Harry Reid has kept this bill on his desk and refused to allow a vote because he knew it would pass. Obama would probably sign it into law because Congress might have the votes to override a Presidential veto. Tax cuts to spur the economy and create jobs would also carry strong Democrat support. This is another area where Obama might sign the legislation rather than risk losing an override vote.
Even if Obama would veto these bills, the Republicans would continue to send the President similar legislation over and over until he gave in and signed. This is what happened during the Clinton Administration. Then the country would see who the real obstructionists are.
Obama is risking a confrontation with Congress that could eliminate any chance of the two branches of government to work together these next two years. Obama has never been able to work with others. His style is confrontation. He never learned how to compromise to get most of what he wants. The nation will be poorer for it.