President Barack Obama seemed unhappy and subdued as he spoke at a press conference on Election Night 2010. The president stated, “some election nights are more fun than others.” He was clearly disappointed to lose a Democratic House majority. Sad as he was to know that 59 of his Democratic colleagues lost their seat, he pondered if he was at fault for the situation. “There is not only sadness about seeing them go,” he said, “but there’s also a lot of questioning on my part, in terms of, could I have done something differently or done something more so that those folks would still be here.”
This event is exactly what the President wished to avoid. The Republican House gives the GOP the ability to block any legislation they think is not in favor of the American people. This change of power indicates voters are disappointed with Obama’s first two years in office.
This also means that current Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, will be forced to leave her position after this session. Ohio Congressman John Boehner is favored to be the new Speaker of the House in January. Boehner and the new Republican House plan on instituting many changes. They will first attempt to repeal the healthcare bill, which implies that he, along with many other Americans, want changes in the Administration’s policies.
The changes Republicans bring to the House could create dialogue between the two parties. The Democrats still control the Senate, so any bill must have bipartisan support. However, if the Senate and House stay too ideological and see each other as enemies, then any legislation of significance will be very difficult to move forward.
Congressman Boehner’s emotion-filled speech on election night indicates he strongly wishes to make major differences in policy for Congress. Although the Republicans failed to win both chambers of Congress (Republicans gained President Obama’s former Illinois seat in the Senate, though), one victory on Election Day should send a very strong message to the President; the American people are not happy with his policies, or with the way the country is turning. This pressure may urge the president to move deeper into the liberal wing of his party and campaign against a ‘do nothing’ Congress in 2012, or he may take a more conciliatory approach of bargain making.
The change in power will, at the very least, bring some excitement to Washington, making politics entertaining to even the minimally interested. Both parties hold enough power to clash on serious issues. The resulting debate will provide political firework displays on Capitol Hill. Finally, it will be interesting to see how President Obama deals without total Democratic control of the legislature. Expect a dramatic change in the political climate after the Republicans officially take control of the House in January of 2011.