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US elections 2010: Learning from defeat

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In the US mid-term elections, Republicans picked up approximately 65
seats in the House for a 237-198 majority, and six seats in the Senate --
including the Illinois seat formerly held by President Obama and that
of liberal icon Russell Feingold of Wisconsin -- for a 49-49 tie in the
Senate,

where two independents will hold the Democrats ransom. Republican
leader John Boehner of Ohio will succeed Democrat Nancy Pelosi of
California as speaker of the House. Republicans gained eight
governorships, but Democrats hold the two biggest states: Andrew Cuomo
beat Republican Carl Paladino in New York, and Jerry Brown returned to
the governor's job in California, defeating former eBay chief executive Meg Whitman.

This
was a clear repudiation of Obama's Bush-lite presidency. By failing to
find a way to undo Bush's policies, and introducing a healthcare policy
that mostly benefits corporate insurance providers, the enthusiasm Obama
gave rise to, gave way to an extreme rightwing Tea Party movement
reaction which has elected more Bush-like politicians than ever.

The
only Democratic ray of hope was Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of
Nevada whose Tea Party opponent advocated ending Medicare and Social
Security, abolishing the Energy and Education departments, and vastly
reducing the size of government, turning even Republicans against her.

But
the real problem is more Congress than Obama and will continue to
fester. Seventy-three per cent disapproved of Congress and only 49 per
cent of the job Obama is doing as president. An almost identical 72 per
cent disapproved of Congress in 2008 while an unprecedented 73 per cent
disapproved of Bush in his final year.

Obama has nothing to lose
now by sticking to his principles. He can still rally Americans by
pushing ahead with arms control and climate change measures, carrying
through on his vow to end the war in Afghanistan next year, pressuring
Israel to abide by international norms, thereby showing the Washington
beltway cabal for what it is.
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http://ericwalberg.com/
Eric writes for Al-Ahram Weekly and PressTV. He specializes in Russian and Eurasian affairs. His "Postmodern Imperialism: Geopolitics and the Great Games" and "From Postmodernism to Postsecularism: Re-emerging Islamic Civilization" are available at (more...)
 

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