So what should be made of the historic midterm election of 2010?
While all the pundits try to analyze polling data and read between the lines, syndicated columnist and Fox News contributor Charles Krauthammer has a clearer view. In his view, President Barack Obama’s so-called hope and change agenda is dead and it’s up to Obama to determine his direction.
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“I think that the message is unmistakable that the Obama agenda is dead,” Krauthammer said on the Fox News Channel’s early morning coverage on Nov 3. “The question is how much of it is going to be repealed and how much will Obama be willing to concede. It’s clear as you projected the house is going to be Republican. I think what is going to happen is the Republicans are not going to win the Senate.”
But Krauthammer explained the GOP didn’t necessarily have to control the Senate to move legislation through.
“But I think they're going to have de facto control of the Senate in the sense that there were going to be several Democratic senators that are going to be up for re-election in two years,” he continued. “I'm thinking of a Jim Webb from Virginia. I’m thinking of some of the others. There are going to be more Democrats up for re-election than Republicans in two years in the Senate, and they’re looking at the fate of those Democrats who went with the president with his agenda and walked the plank and are now gone, and they're not going to go. And I think there will be great resistance in the Senate to any advance of the Obama agenda.”
Among the issues the Republicans could make gains on include the Bush tax cuts and the expansion of government into health care, Krauthammer explained.
“And I think there will be a lot of sympathy among these Democrats, the ones who are now up for re-election in two years – for example, for the extension of the Bush tax cuts, and even the nibbling away at the edges of ObamaCare,” Krauthammer said. “So I think what’s happened is you have had a real shift of power to the Republicans, de jure in the House, and de facto in the Senate. But if you're Republican, I think it works rather well in terms of strategy for ‘12. You really didn't the control of the two houses because then Obama could do a Truman where he ran against the do-nothing Congress and ran for re-election. If you put too much of the actual official power in the hands of the Republicans, it makes them responsible. Right now, I think they're in perfect position tactically. Control the House, object, propose stuff that Obama may veto and run on that against him in 2012.”
But Krauthammer indicated that the last two cycles were an anomaly – more of a result of unusual historic events and now we’re in a sort of correction and coming back to balance.
“Well, I think people are saying, you know it’s the internet, it’s the speeding up of the news, it’s the fickleness electorate,” Krauthammer said. “I'm not sure I accept that. I think there's a historical event. There was a war that went bad in Iraq that destroyed the Republicans. There was a financial collapse – very unusual, the first time in 70 years which undid the Republicans, but also left of the Democrats in a position where they had no easy answers on the American economy, and thus are suffering today. I think these are extraordinary historical events. I think what we’re seeing now is a return to the norm. We are roughly where we were in the early part of this decade. If you look at the map - that's the map the way that we have had it for roughly the last 30 years. ‘06 and ‘08 were somewhat of an aberration – a response to historical events that were unusual and now we have a return.”
The bottom line according to Krauthammer: The American people have rejected Obama’s ideology and the question remains – can he moderate?
“So now I think we are near the norm,” he said. “I'm not sure this is, you know a sign of an electorate that's completely unreliable. This is where we are, and now it will depend on how Obama proceeds. He has now tried a two-year experiment in hyper-liberalism, and the country has said no. I think he has got a choice ahead of him and I think even though he's inclined ideologically intrinsically to go left. I think he’s going to try to go to the center, and the question is can a man of the left pretend at least or try pragmatically to go to the center. I'm not sure that anyone knows the answer.”