Barring a miracle of old testament proportions, on January 3, two thousand eleven, the next congress will be sworn in under new leadership. The House of Representatives will be in Republican control, and even if the Senate remains in Democratic hands, it will be by the slimmest of margins. With President Obama in the oval office for another two years, the next congress will be ruled by one principle; gridlock.
Now before you go getting in a huff, let me tell you why this is not such a bad thing. Gridlock means you have to have both side on board before anything is done. Gridlock means one side cannot push through its agenda unilaterally. Gridlock means the days of Democrats passing Cap and Trade legislation, or mandating twenty percent of America's green energy comes from recycling magic unicorn poop are over. Gridlock can be frustrating at times, but it is a real check on power.
Remember 1992? Remember when President Clinton, with a Democratic congress, governed way to the left in his first term and gift-wrapped both houses of congress back to the Republicans in 1994? For everyone who points to the Clinton era as proof that Democratic policies work, just remember who controlled the purse strings of the nation during those times. It was the GOP. Well, to be exact, it was the real GOP, the ones who actually knew how to cut spending and grow the economy.
All spending bills start in the House of Representatives. Whoever controls the House has control of the nation's checkbook. Remind me again who has been in control of the national checkbook since two thousand six? Oh yea, Nancy Pelosi. How has Nancy done with the national checkbook? Forget the checkbook, how about the nation's credit card? But, I digress.
As much as I like the thought of Nancy Pelosi getting her credit card yanked, here is the real problem with gridlock. Doing nothing isn't a real good option right now.
I know that Republican's will propose spending cuts, and probably pass them in the House. If they get through the rules and procedures of the Senate, they await a certain veto from President Obama. My prediction is the Republicans will pass legislation, President Obama will veto it and the GOP will try to run out the clock until the 2012 election, when they hope to gain back the White House.
I am not sure we can wait two more years to start tackling the structural problems that await the nation with Medicare, Social Security, other entitlement spending. In a year of voter anger, tea parties, incumbents going down to political novices, the only hope we have is the Washington insiders (in both parties ) start getting scared. When politicians have to worry about their constituents anger, that is a very good thing. Scared politicians can actually work through the gridlock to get things done if they know it's the only way to save their jobs.
So how will this new crop of Republican revolutionaries do? Time will tell. Establishment Republicans, like House Minority Leader John Boehner, will try to buy them off them with committee memberships and big offices to bring them into the fold. I hope these new Republicans rally behind new leadership, say Paul Ryan, or Eric Cantor. Republican retreads like Boehner are not the ones to bring independents and Reagan Democrats together with the Republican base to form a solid majority.
To win the back the White House in two thousand twelve, Republicans will have to walk the walk for the next two years. I hope they have comfortable shoes, they will need them.