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Time to take a wide angle shot of the nation's near term political future.
I concede that November's general election is still 8 months away....and that a lot can change in 8 months. At the same time, and basing my prediction on what we've seen thus far, it sure looks to me like President Obama will earn a second term.
But as we've witnessed over the past couple of years, Obama's 2nd presidential term will be plagued by the same Republican intransigence, the same obstructionistic tactics that have blocked most progressive policies from being passed or enacted.
After November, it is very likely that political balance in Congress will be even tighter. Currently, the GOP controls 242 House seats, Democrats only 193. In the Senate, Democrats have 51 seats plus 2 independents (Sanders and the retiring Lieberman), Republicans control 47 Senate seats.
I expect the House to tighten, with a remote possibility of Democrats winning a very slight majority, come November. In the Senate, the possibility is reversed. I expect the Senate to be dead even or 51-49 favoring Republicans after November.
A Democratic president with a Congress ever-so slightly tilted in favor of the GOP.
Based on what has gone before us the last two years....how well will the new power-ratio work for the American people?
Two words: It won't.
Does anyone think that a GOP controlled Congress will work with the Democratic President Obama? Of course not. Now, it is true that there are Village "centrists", the Goldilocks base, who actually think that what a Democratic president needs is an opposition Congress. In centrist thinking, whateverthehell that could possibly mean, a closely politically divided presidency and Congress is a recipe for progress and accomplishment. The thinking being that neither the President nor the Congress can get what they want, so they'll, of necessity, work together for the sake of the American people.
Other non-centrists, like The Reverend, think that that kind of thinking is poppycock, faith-based poppycock.
Minority congressional Democrats, as they did during the second term of Clinton's presidency, will not obstruct Republicans in the same way that Republicans have been obstructing Obama. Democrats actually believe in governing, unlike their GOP counterparts....and because Democrats think government can actually make things better for Americans....they will work with congressional Republicans to pass, primarily, right leaning legislation which a center-right-governing President Obama will sign into law.
On the other hand, if Republicans have 51 senators after November, and the House majority....expect Republicans to end the 60 vote majority-rule in the Senate. Republicans, as we witnessed under George Bush, are not the least bit hesitant to rig the game in their favor. If Senate Republicans remove the 60 vote filibuster rule and opt for a straight 51 vote majority....something they can vote to do at the beginning of the next Congress.....expect a pile of radicalized conservative legislation to be sent to Obama's desk for his signature.
If Obama decides to veto most of the GOP legislation, Republicans will not have the 2/3rds vote to override. The question will be whether or not Obama will actually veto radicalized conservative legislation or not. I think the answer to that question is still up in the air.
Bill Clinton was a centrist-Villager president with a Republican Congress during his second term. A Democratic president who signed destructive GOP legislation which threw welfare recipients under buses, gave free-and-unaccountable reign to criminal-conspiracy minded bankster-trader-gamblers, and advanced the corporate outsourcing of American jobs with NAFTA.
How was Clinton rewarded for signing radicalized conservative legislation which harmed Americans way of life?
He was impeached by those same Republicans.
Question: Would you estimate that the Gingrich, 90's congressional Republicans are more or less extreme than the congressional Republicans today? Not entirely rhetorical. Yes, congressional Republicans today are more extreme, more stiffnecked, more ideological, more radicalized than those Clinton faced 20 years ago.
See the picture emerging? It ain't a pretty one.
The Republican Party, it's members sent to Congress to do the bidding of the 1%, it's social and economic policies a proven disaster for the 99%, have every intention on steamrolling Obama in a second term....just as they did to Clinton. Based on his past performance, President Obama, unfortunately, will probably cave more easily to GOP forces....and that does not bode well for the 99%.
I see four more years of sickening gridlock interspersed with the occasional radicalized conservative legislation being passed.....legislation which raises the Social Security eligibility age, means-tests Medicare, lowers corporate tax rates, and continues to shred the safety net for the 99%.
After those destructive policies are passed, and the 99% have been put in their proper place as doormats and servants of the 1%, then Republicans will introduce articles of impeachment against another compromising Democratic president.
Hope I'm wrong.