From the Washington Post:
Travel through the political battlegrounds in these final days before Election 2010, and it becomes clear how much the tenor of this recession-plagued country has changed in the two years since Barack Obama was elected president on his message of hope and change.But the Old Jarhead thinks, and I tend to agree with him:
A far grimmer mood now pervades the electorate, one shaped not just by the immediacy of the economic distress that has hit virtually every household, but by fears that it might take years for everyone, from the average family to the federal government, to climb out of the hole.
Anger is one word that is often used to describe the electorate this year. But one word alone cannot adequately capture the sentiments expressed by voters on doorsteps and street corners, at community centers or candidate rallies. Along with the anger there is fear, worry, nervousness, disappointment, anxiety and disillusionment.
The impact will be felt Tuesday. Republicans are poised to reap the benefits of the enormous dissatisfaction with the status quo. How deeply and how broadly remains for the voters to decide, but there is little doubt that the outcome will change the balance of power in Washington. The winners should take little comfort from the results.
Dissatisfaction with Republicans also runs deep, and voters have conflicted expectations about what should happen in Washington over the next two years. Politicians of both parties will remain on trial.
Even if Republicans sweep next Tuesday and control both the House and Senate, it will not fix our problems. At best, it will slow the degeneration. Every penny of spending—Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, the ARTS, NPR, healthcare “reform,” veterans, defense, education, farm subsidies, homeland security and on and on, has a dedicated constituency that will fight tooth and nail to save it, far harder than forces who want to limit spending will fight to cut it.
Almost every voter has a financial conflict of interest in favor of more spending in one or more areas. And most of the public is economically and politically ignorant, so supporting things like trade restrictions and taxes on “wall street” (big business) and “the rich” (small business) that hurt the economy and job creation will continue.
So the problems get kicked down the road until they get too big to kick, and disaster strikes. They are very close to being too big to kick. When you have an electorate that is better able to tell you the name of the “American Idol” winner than which party controls congress, or the name of one Supreme Court Justice, or who their legislators are, what do you expect except a disaster?It is time for real change: Get money out of politics. If our politicians could not accept big contributions from big donors, and had to use ONLY public money, it would be worth it. If lobbyists could not influence policy with donations, then we might get some policy that makes sense.
That would be real change.