The year voters saw the left's unvarnished agenda and said no.
It is refreshing sometimes to find someone in the media that writes it as it is. I found an article in the Wall Street Journal, www.wsj.com , and think it pretty much states what a majority of us believe to be true concerning this past November election and the performance of the Congress during the past two years, a performance that earned them a 13% approval rating. So the following is a posting of the WSJ article and worth the read.
Re-post from WSJ.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid sent out a press release last week headlined "111th Congress Accomplishments." It quoted a couple of Democratic Party cheerleaders calling this the greatest Congress since 1965-66 (Norm Ornstein) or even the New Deal (David Leonhardt), and listed in capital letters no fewer than 30 legislative triumphs: Health Care Reform, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, a Jobs Package (HIRE Act), the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, Food Safety, the Travel Promotion Act, Student Loan Reform, Hate Crimes Prevention, and so much more.
What the release did not mention is the loss of 63 House and six Senate seats, and a mid-December Gallup poll approval rating of 13%. Never has a Congress done so much and been so despised for it.
While this may appear to be a contradiction, it is no accident or even much of a surprise. The liberal wing of the Democratic Party had been waiting since the 1960s for its next great political opening, as we warned in an October 17, 2008 editorial, "A Liberal Supermajority." Critics and some of our readers scored us at the time for exaggerating, but in retrospect we understated the willful nature of that majority.
Democrats achieved 60 Senate votes by an historical accident of prosecutorial abuse (Ted Stevens), a stolen election (Al Franken) and a betrayal (Arlen Specter). They then attempted to do nearly everything we expected, regardless of public opinion, and they only stopped because the clock ran out.
The real story of 2010 is that the voters were finally able to see and judge this liberal agenda in its unvarnished form. For once, there was no Republican President to muddle the message or divide the accountability. The public was able to compare the promise of 8% unemployment if the government spent $812 billion on "stimulus" with the 9.8% jobless result. They stood athwart liberal history in the making and said, "Stop."
Note well, however, that the Democrats still standing on Capitol Hill remain unchastened. In her exit interviews, Speaker Nancy Pelosi has said she would do it all the same way again, and her colleagues have seconded her lack of remorse by keeping her as their leader despite their November thumping. Her consolation to defeated Democrats was not to invite them to the House caucus meeting when she denounced President Obama's tax deal with Republicans.
Note, too, that the organized left and its media allies are also beginning to rewrite the story of the 111th Congress as an historical triumph. The same people who claimed that ObamaCare was a defeat because it lacked a public option are suddenly noting it will put 32 million more Americans on the government health-care dole. It won't be long before liberals and the press are defending the 111th Congress's every achievement as historic.
There is a lesson here both about modern liberalism and for Republicans who will soon have more power in Congress. For today's left, the main goal of politics is not to respond to public opinion. The goal is to impose the dream of an egalitarian entitlement state whether the public likes it or not. Sooner or later, they figure, the anger will subside and Americans will come to like the cozy confines of the cradle-to-grave welfare state.
This is the great Democratic bet with ObamaCare. The assumption is that once the benefits start to flow in 2013 the constituency for "free" health care will grow. As spending and deficits climb, the pressure for higher taxes will become inexorable and the GOP will splinter into its balanced budget and antitax wings. A value-added tax or some other money-machine will pass and guarantee that the government will control 40% to 50% of all economic resources.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has said she would do it all the same way again. If the price of this bet was losing control of the House for a moment in time in 2010, Mrs. Pelosi's view is so be it.
You have to break a few Blue Dog careers to build a European welfare state. Liberals figure that as long as President Obama can be re-elected in 2012, their gamble will pay off and the legacy of the 111th Congress will be secure. The cheerleaders will write books about it.
The lesson for Republicans is to understand the nature of their political opponents and this long-term bet. The GOP can achieve all kinds of victories in the next two years, and some of them will be important for economic growth. But the main chance is ObamaCare, which will fundamentally change the balance of power between government and individuals if it is not repealed or replaced.
While repeal will no doubt founder in the Senate in the next two years, Republicans can still use their House platform to frame the debate for 2012. They can hold hearings to educate the public about rising insurance costs and other nasty ObamaCare consequences. And they can use the power of the purse to undermine its implementation.
The difference between the work of the 111th Congress and that of either the Great Society or New Deal is that the latter were bipartisan and in the main popular. This Congress's handiwork is profoundly unpopular and should become more so as its effects become manifest. In 2010, Americans saw liberalism in the raw and rejected it. The challenge for Republicans is to repair the damage before it becomes permanent.