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Monday, June 17, 2024
The independent student publication of The University at Buffalo, since 1950

Politics as Usual

David Sanchirico

Two years ago, Americans surged to the polls angry and wanting a change. Barack Obama was elected as President, and the Democrats took supreme control over the House and Senate. Change was imminent, and liberals everywhere celebrated.

Voters went to the polls Tuesday with the same attitude, but America now possesses a Republican-red landscape.

As a frustrated liberal, I'll even admit it was inevitable.

Democrats expected to lose the House, but the results were worse than feared. Republicans now hold a 239-186 advantage in the House of Representatives, making that majority the Democrats held for two years seem like it never happened.

Because it never really did.

Though the Democrats held enough House seats to pass vital pieces of legislation, the donkeys remained passive and separated. As shown during the last two years, unity is not in the Democrats' dictionary; those members of Congress elected two years ago because they stressed bipartisanship and change proved to be phony.

The one piece of legislation they did succeed in passing, "universal" health care, was watered down and unsuccessful. Obama's aggressive agenda has fallen victim to the inactiveness among both Republicans and Democrats of the house.

There are many reasons for this. Democrats are, ironically, more conservative when it comes to introducing new legislation. These members worry more about preserving votes than changing America.

Evidently, that plan backfired.

Even Wisconsin Senator Russ Feingold, one of the most popular and bipartisan members of the senate, was knocked off by Republican Ron Johnson on Tuesday. The current philosophy of voting "no" to everything has taken many victims, including some of the most productive and proactive members of government.

Blame is being placed on Obama. Discontent Americans see a hypocritical leader who flashes a pretty smile and reads a captivating script, but who also can't enact change and would rather get himself on television.

But Obama can't get anything done if members of the House and Senate reject any change proposed.

As it is, the elephants now hold a large majority in the House. Some say it's politics as usual. After all, the power often shifts in the House every couple years, regardless of who the President is. Americans get frustrated, hear the voices of opposition to the status quo, vote for said voices, and expect times to mirror the great 1990s.

Snapping your fingers and saying "America will make a 180 immediately" is analogous to saying the Buffalo Bills will make the playoffs with a new, highly touted quarterback. It takes many pieces and a lot of time to reverse a disaster that was the Bush tenure/Dick Jauron coaching stint.

It also takes continuity. Obviously, it's futile for liberals to think that issues regarding guns, gay marriage and abortion will be resolved in their favor in the next two years. What Obama and Congress need to worry about is creating jobs and stimulating the economy.

Can Obama and a predominantly Republican congress coexist and enact change? With Tea Partiers enacting a movement on rejecting everything in their path, we may be seeing another shift in Congress in two years.




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