Wednesday, November 3, 2010

And So It Begins

Wow. That was the general consensus of Democrats in the last 24 hours. Most House projections were blown out of the water. Republicans are now set to gain 60 seats in January. However, now the question is, What will Republicans do with this newfound power? The answer is not much. With Democrats still in control of the Senate, there will be no repeal of healthcare reform. President Obama will have to pick his goals more wisely. Mr. Obama has two remaining priorities, left over from the 2008 elections. They are Immigration reform and an Energy overhaul. Neither seems particularly likely to pass at this point. In fact, Joe Manchin was widely shown to have been shooting the Cap and Trade Bill in one of his election ads, meaning that any true Energy package would be nigh impossible. On the subject of Immigration, though, there is hope. In the Senate, a John McCain that emerged from an election with an Anti-Immigration zealot may find his old dreams of comprehensive reform, including amnesty, rekindled. In addition, the new Senator from Illinois, Mark Kirk, is a potential Democratic pickup for the measure. The most important possible partner for Democrats on Immigration legislation would be Marco Rubio. A tea-partier, he has long stated that his goal was to avoid working with the Obama administration on most issues. However, in his election speech, he made clear his own American success story, made possible by a liberal immigration law towards Cubans following the takeover by the Castros. Were President Obama to get him behind any piece of  legislation, it would not only increase its chance of success, but also give it a P.R. boost from bipartisanship, especially from a Senator so far to the right. This is in addition to Republican senators from traditionally blue states, such as the two ladies from Maine, and Mr. Brown of Massachusetts.
         In the House, President Obama will face his largest problems. Michelle Bachmann has been reported to be seeking the number three position in the Republican caucus, and position in which she has not committed, according to MSNBC (11-02), to not using subpoena power to set up a new House Un-American Activities committee. The greatest hope for Immigration is that many of the new House Republicans would see it as a way to woo Hispanic voters back to their party, in a time when Democrats seem, more and more, to have locked up that demographic. If President Obama was able to sell the legislation in the proper manner to the American people, he has the chance to convince a fair number of freshman Republicans to vote his way. President Obama will not have his agenda come easily, but he is by no means barred from making progress in the next two years.

    -G. Ferrante 

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