Election Day is finally here.
We must prepare ourselves for one of two likely scenarios: first, that we’ll be living in a Romney America for the next four years, and second, that we’ll be stuck in an Obama America for the next four years.
I say “stuck” because Obama himself is stuck in an Obama America. It’s the America where hyper-partisanship has made Congress virtually inactive. Every piece of Democratic legislation must first survive a right wing-controlled House of Representatives — impossible — and then requires a 60-vote supermajority in the Senate before it can reach the president’s desk. That means budgets aren’t passed, roads and bridges aren’t rebuilt, immigration reform is fought back tooth and nail, green energy investments aren’t made, jobs bills are dead on arrival, and any economic stimulus is out of the question.
Republicans warn that the country is approaching a year-end fiscal disaster, but Obama’s hands aren’t the only ones on the steering wheel.
For better or worse, the legislative branch would begin to show signs of life under a Romney presidency, because the Democratic Party has yet to be taken over by a group of crazed hijackers. Democrats are more reasonable and pragmatic than the party across the aisle, who associate themselves with Tea Baggers, True the Voters, Birthers, Randians, Cold Warriors, Christian fundamentalists, social Darwinists, vulture capitalists, Creationists, climate change deniers, Drill Baby Drillers, male supremacists, Klansmen, and the like. (I’m not saying all Republicans belong to these groups, but all of these groups vote Republican.)
Democrats would work with a President Romney and his party because the alternative — doing nothing — is unacceptable. Conservatives like to say that Obama and his party did nothing with their majorities in both chambers of Congress, but then I guess they consider “nothing” the passage of the largest overhaul of the American healthcare system since the ’60s. And what about the stimulus — which should’ve been bigger — Dodd-Frank and the student loans reform?
Democrats help Republicans pass laws; in fact, they help pass laws even when the voters don’t want them to. But the Democratic members of Congress understand that they were sent to Washington to legislate on the important issues of the day — not to rename post offices.
A President Romney would try to undo the social progress made by his predecessor while adopting Bushonomics in a vain attempt to resuscitate the economy, which is like digging yourself out of a hole. In essence, we’d have four years of Bush 3.0, a president who’s more socially conservative than Bush II and is dealing with a much weaker economy than Bush II had.
President Obama will immediately face a year-end fiscal fiasco, when deep, automatic budget cuts are scheduled to go into effect. Ironically, while the situation sounds apocalyptic, the automatic cuts might finally force the Republicans to the negotiation table with Obama, and on his terms. Republicans will be forced to drop the stalemate tactics and compromise with the president and the Dems in bringing the crisis to an end.
Unless the Republicans still refuse to meet the president halfway even then. But the Republicans can’t be that crazed yet, can they?