It has been almost two years since Barack Obama was elected president. Two years ago, in a decisive victory, people of varying ages and political affiliation, from Democrats to independents and even some Republicans, united for change.
Now many of the same independent and Republican voters are calling for change again in Washington, D.C. Many of the same Democrats who ran with Obama’s momentum are left to fight for themselves for re-election.
Obama’s current predicament is certainly not by his own doing. Rather, he has also been a victim of unfortunate circumstances: an economic downturn years in the making, a catastrophic oil spill, and a Republican minority whose sole purpose is to block democratic progress at all turns.
However, Obama has made his own set of policies that have brought political backlash. He spent months debating a health insurance reform bill, which allowed Republicans to create enough complaints to lower Obama’s approval rating.
CNN’s Ed Henry wrote that voters believe Barack Obama tried to do too much too fast, but overall they think Obama is a good man.
As I previously wrote, voters have a “what have you done for me lately?” mindset, and they want out of this recession right now.
Republicans have united to push a message that ties Obama and the Democrats to big spending and big government, and Democrats have been on their heels. The Democrats’ message has been fractured, and thus their message has been lost in the process.
Bill Clinton recently spoke with Politico about what he would do if he were in Obama’s shoes 8212; Clinton faced a similar situation in 1994 when Republicans regained control of the House in the middle of his presidency.
Clinton said, “I would say “I’m not bragging. I’m not asking for credit. I’m not asking you to feel better. What I’m trying to show you here is how deep this problem is, and all over the world people are having trouble doing it, and we’re doing better than others are.'”
Clinton went on to say that Obama ought to say, “”All I’m asking you for is two more years. You get a chance to fire us all in two more years, but don’t throw us out and embrace the policies that got us in trouble. Give us two years…See if what we’re doing is working, and you can throw us out.”
The question becomes, if Republicans gain control of the House of Representatives 8212; polls show they probably will not gain control of the Senate 8212; can a democratic president and republican Congress work together? The answer is that they will have to.
If Nancy Pelosi is no longer speaker of the House of Representatives, that could actually work well for the president. According to some political analysts, Pelosi and Congress have become so unpopular with Americans that their low ratings have brought Obama’s rating down with them.
A Republican House of Representatives could be Obama’s second chance. My advice for Obama would be to direct the Congress to deal with the initiatives that they want. Put the pressure on Republicans to get things done and not quarrel over small details. Americans want solutions, not arguments. If Congress cannot provide solutions, then the tide will turn and Republicans will have to answer to the American people.
Alex Apple is a freshman political science and journalism double major from Nashville, Tenn.