Against Obama, But for What?
By Patrick J. Buchanan
After billions in attack ads that turned the approval ratings of almost every candidate, in both parties, upside down, Republicans appear primed to take control of Congress.
Why are Democrats falling like dominoes?
Easy. Theirs is the Party of Government. And government is failing. And their leader Obama projects diffidence and incompetence.
National surveys also show that large majorities believe America is heading in the wrong direction, that our children will not have it as good as we did, and that the United States is in a long-term decline.
Measuring the performance of Obama against the promise, America is voting for another change in leadership and direction.
But where does she wish to go? And whom does she wish to lead her? The country is voting against Obama, but voting for what?
The new majority leader is likely to be Mitch McConnell, who is about as popular as Harry Reid. The Republican Party that will take power is less well-regarded than the Democratic Party losing it.
What America is voting against is easier to discern than what she is voting for. Consider. Who speaks for a victorious GOP today?
The principal foreign policy voices in the new Senate will be Lindsey Graham, John McCain and Tennessee’s Bob Corker, who is slated to become chairman of foreign relations. All are interventionists; all are hawks.
But are the American people really voting to send arms to Kiev, to confront Russia in Ukraine, to commit to a forever-war to “degrade and ultimately defeat” the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria?
Does the country really want a clash with Iran over its nuclear enrichment program?
If so, the GOP should return to Washington and in the lame-duck session authorize Obama to take us to war with the Islamic State.
My sense: A victorious GOP would prefer to take a pass on that.
At its core the Republican Party is socially conservative, a family values party. The party champions right-to-life and opposes same-sex marriage and legalized marijuana.
How many Republicans ran on these issues this fall?
How many will be advancing this social agenda in Congress? How many cultural warriors are left in the GOP, when even the pope is calling for a truce in the culture wars?
Yet if the GOP is no longer united on foreign policy and social issues, surely they are as one on lower taxes and smaller government.
But are they really?
Certainly, even liberals must see from the inversion epidemic — U.S. companies buying up foreign firms to change residence and nationality — that having the highest corporate tax rate is economic suicide.
But is the Republican Party so committed to a balanced budget that Congress will slash spending to match cuts in tax rates and tax revenues?
And, if so, where does the GOP propose cuts?
Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and defense are the big budget items. Is the GOP ready to cap or cut these?
Will the GOP go after education, housing, income security or food stamps, with Obama accusing them of pillaging the programs of the working and middle class while protecting Wall Street and the 1 percent?
Today’s vote, as the Washington Post’s Dan Balz writes, is “an election about rejection,” the rejection of Obama’s leadership after six years of his presidency.
It is a referendum on Barack, and he is losing it. But it is not a vote of affirmation. It is not a vote of confidence in the party of McConnell and John Boehner. And it is no mandate.
It is America’s choice between undesirables.
America is saying: We do not like either of you. But we cannot keep going the way we have been going. We have to change. And the Republican Party is the only one on the ballot that appears to offer that.
When the returns come in, the mainstream media will declare that the country wants the Republican Party to work with President Obama to end the gridlock. Nonsense. If that is what America wanted, the country would have voted Democratic.
A Nancy Pelosi House and Reid-led Senate, with Obama in the Oval Office, would bring an instant end to gridlock. But instead of voting for a Congress to help Obama end gridlock, it will vote to augment the forces of those who have promised to checkmate him.
The country, in short, will vote today — for gridlock.
In a democracy, people get the kind of government they deserve.
The American people are today a deeply divided people — on ideology, politics, faith, morality, race, culture. Americans today — and not for the first time — do not really like each other.
As that is who we are, we will get that kind of Congress. And that is the kind of government we will have, until one half of the nation triumphs decisively over the other, as happened in 1932 and in 1980.