Democrats need to ‘wake up’

Story by Bobby Hamill

It seems as though Barack Obama and congressional Democrats have a serious problem on their hands. Over the last couple of months, the prospect of Democrats maintaining control of both the House and the Senate following this November’s election has been dwindling. Not only have Democrats lost some very prominent elections in recent weeks, but also more and more Democrats in Republican-leaning districts are choosing not to seek re-election. Most recently, and most prominently, Democratic Sen. Evan Bayh of Indiana, very popular and well known in the state, decided not to seek re-election this past Monday. Bayh was elected with 62 percent of the vote in his last election, but faced reelection in a state that only went for Barack Obama in 2008 by one percent. This decision caused the well-trusted Cook Political Report to switch their projection of Indiana leaning towards Democrat in 2010 rather than Republican. This creates the 10th Senate seat currently defended by Democrats that will be competitive in the 2010 elections.

Possibly more shocking and more troublesome for the Democratic Party was the win by Republican Scott Brown and the dismal defeat of their candidate, Martha Coakley, in Massachusetts just last month. Now, despite all of the explanations and reasons for the loss that Democrats may throw out there, one fact remains the same: Democrats should NOT have lost this seat! Let’s break it down: 1.) Barack Obama won Massachusetts just over a year ago with 62 percent of the vote, to McCain’s dismal 36 percent. 2.) Coakley had statewide name recognition after being elected State Attorney General three years earlier with 73 percent of the vote, yet was still defeated by a relatively unknown state senator. 3.) Coakley led by double-digits in polls conducted not two weeks before the election. 4.) The seat was formerly that of Ted Kennedy, whose name was invoked by Democrats as the reason that health-care reform needed to be passed and a Democrat elected to his seat.

So what happened in Indiana and Massachusetts? Voters in these states have quickly realized that the policies put forth by the Obama administration and Congressional Democrats, led by Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid (who faces his own tough re-election this fall) are not what they desired or expected when they elected them in November, 2008. Now, admittedly, the United States was facing some tough times during that election. But the exaggerated claims, false hopes and out-and-out fallacies upon which Democrats were elected and have governed over the past year have come back to bite them. After months of blaming President Bush for the economic state in which the nation found itself, President Obama declared that all would be solved with the $787 billion bailout that he sought to pass. Advisers claimed that, if passed, unemployment would go no higher than 8 percent throughout the year, and threatened that the nation would fall apart if it failed. One year later, and nearly another trillion dollars in the hole, unemployment stands at 10.2 percent. Apparently not having learned their lesson, Democrats in Washington think that the solution to this problem is to pass another “stimulus” bill.

Along with this, Democrats continue to push forward on health care reform, hoping to salvage a bill that will keep their liberal base content while still appearing to be “bipartisan.”

Over the past year, congressional Democrats shut the GOP out of the debate, only allowing the occasional Republican to make suggestions when their vote was needed. And they continued to claim that Republicans had no alternative plans for health-care reform, despite three alternative bills proposed by Republicans, including Wisconsin’s own Rep. Paul Ryan.

But now, after months of secrecy and back-room deals, Democrats feel it’s time to sit down with their Republican colleagues (in front of cameras long barred from the discussions) and work something out. Why the quick turn around? The Democrats’ health-care plan is going down quicker that the Hindenburg and members of their own party are jumping ship as quickly as possible. In a recent poll, 61 percent of voters said that Congress should scrap the whole plan and start over again.

So what is the solution? The people have been calling for it for years. They want less government in their lives. They want to make the decisions about how their hard-earned money will be spent and not have it handed over to government bureaucrats who have failed time and time again to use it wisely. They don’t want bailouts, or single-payer health care, or business crippling cap-and-trade legislation. Republicans and conservative Democrats have been fighting against these proposals for years, and if the Democratic leadership wishes to maintain their waning support this November, I suggest they wake up and start listening to the people, as well.

Hamill is a senior political science major and chair of the UW-Eau Claire College Republicans.