Politics & Society

America Questions Washington

President Obama answers questions following recent elections.

President Obama answers question during a press conference following recent midterm elections in the East Room at the White House. Jewel Samad/AFP hide caption

itoggle caption Jewel Samad/AFP

After two years of a strong Democratic majority in the U.S. House and a filibuster-proof Senate, voters demanded a change from the current administration’s trend of over-promising, overspending, and under-delivering.

Add to that 9.6 percent unemployment and a 16.7 percent underemployment rate, according to the Economic Policy Institute, and the result in the midterm elections was Republicans gaining 65 House seats, six Senate seats and Republican gubernatorial candidates winning control of the majority of 2012 swing states.

Last Tuesday, voters questioned whether spending almost $3 trillion towards creating jobs and health care has actually improved their lives, and several other questions:

Dude, where’s “my” job?

Many voters don’t see friends and family being hired or promoted, or new companies opening in their community. Along with the housing crisis, these factors put into question the impact of spending remedies such as a $780 billion dollar stimulus package.

Who’s to blame?

Congressional Democrats still blame President George Bush, Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, and John Boehner (whose name most people can’t pronounce) on the campaign trail. At some point, in the minds of millions of voters, the economy became the Congressional Democrats’ problem.

My healthcare isn’t going to be free after all?

Passing a Healthcare Reform Bill without a Single Payer System or a Public Option was demoralizing to the Democratic base and instantly mobilized conservative voters. Many liberal activist groups are still grumbling about the failure to produce and had little reason to mobilize for an ineffective Congress.

Can’t They All Just Get Along?

“Can’t we all just get along?" was a phrase made famous by Rodney King in the early nineties and was what President Obama promised on the campaign trail. While our President arranged several public meetings with Congressional Democrats and Republicans, behind-the-scenes it was the same old Washington. Many Republicans who voted with President Obama, along with other moderate Democrats, went back to voting Republican after their bipartisan vote didn’t result in bipartisan actions.

What about the “adult” children?

With the underemployment rate at 28.3% among recent college graduates, many who enthusiastically worked for Obama in 2008 are facing a scarce job market as well as student loan payments. Also, with 75% of college graduates moving back home, parents are reminded of the uncertainly of their children’s economic future.

What about Immigration Reform?

If immigration reform offering a path to citizenship was going to be passed, 2009 was the time to do it. Many immigrant communities have lost faith in the national Democratic Party’s rhetoric.  This lack of action caused many Latino/ Hispanic voters to stay home, impacting dozens of close congressional elections. Additionally, with Senator-Elect Marco Rubio’s win and Republican Susana Martinez becoming the first Latina governor, the growing advantage Democrats had with Latino voters is dwindling.

Marcus Skelton is a Republican strategist who lives in Washington, D.C.

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.

About