The near panic mode among Democrats regarding Republicans taking over US Senate control in the upcoming general elections as predicted by nearly all analysts and political observers is understandable but it’s a panic without any valid basis everything considered.
Those most panicked about this predicted Republican control of the Senate fear Obama and his agenda will be doomed for the remainder of his presidency were Republicans to take control of the Senate because both houses will therefore be under Republican control as Republicans are also predicted to maintain a majority and therefore control of the House as well.
The truth is it’ll make no difference whether Republicans wrestle control of the Senate from Democrats or not because Obama will accomplish no more or less legislatively than he has with a divided Congress, given how the US government is structured not to say anything about its history.
Put another way, Republicans will be no more effective or successful in blocking Obama’s agenda for that matter than they have thus far by merely controlling the House.
This is because under the US constitution, proposed legislation can only become law if it’s passed by both houses and having the president sign it into law or if he doesn’t, by operation of law or overriding his veto, if he’s opposed to the legislation and actually vetoes the legislation.
When Republicans were unable to stop the tsunami that was the 2008 Obama presidential campaign that catapulted him straight into the White House, the badly beaten party’s leaders swore to do everything to stop or at least thwart Obama’s ambitious but progressive agenda to bring the country back from the brink of total destruction where his predecessor had taken and left her.
However, the Republicans knew they were all talk at the time as there was nothing they could do to stop or thwart Obama’s agenda, given he Democrats controlled both houses.
As a result, Obama was quickly and urgently able to have legislation enacted to prevent the country from further sliding into its worst depression owing to his predecessor’s policies.
This law, known as the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act or the “stimulus package” as it’s popularly known passed both houses of Congress with only three Republican voting for it.
Even the worst of Obama critics and haters who know anything about economics would privately admit this was a significant law Obama had enacted that did exactly what it was intended to do and that’s stop further job loss, then estimated at 800,000 a month by creating incentives for job creation, which actually happened and we now have an economy creating more than an average of 200,000 jobs a month, a rate not seen since before 1997 technology boom era.
President Obama then had a number of other significant legislation enacted into law covering a range of policies such as the TARP law that saved the US auto industry from total collapse, to others addressing issues near and dear to Middle Class America such as Wall Street reform and consumer protection law aimed at taming corporate greed to even perhaps the most significant law Obama will forever be known for and that’s the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, a law all Democratic and a few Republican presidents before him had tried but failed to enact.
All this happened in the first two years of Obama’s presidency.
Beginning 2011, when Republicans with the help of the mostly racist “Tea Party” so-called movement took over house control from the Democrats, President Obama has simply been unable to have any major legislation passed in Congress.
This is because any legislation the president through his allies in Congress proposes is dead on arrival in as far as the House GOP leadership is concerned.
These tea party controlled Republican leaders are so whipped and in fear of these band of irrational and reckless partisan zealots they are practically willing to throw the country to the dogs than give Obama any legislative victory.
This is primarily the reason why it’s irrelevant whether Democrats maintain control of the Senate or the Republicans take over which means instead of having only the House blocking Obama’s legislative agenda, we’ll now have both the House and Senate doing so, which is redundant in as far as effect is concerned.
The only difference or effect Senate control may make or have during Obama’s presidency is if any of the aging Supreme Court justices decides to retire and Obama has to pick a replacement before he leaves office.
Several factors mitigate against the potential Supreme Court nomination process being as futile or even impossible as far as the president’s chances are concerned if Republicans gain control of the Senate chief among these are the Senate’s own rules.
In particular, we’re talking about the filibuster rule.
Even though both Democrats and Republicans have repeatedly warned about launching the so-called “nuclear option,” a rule change that will do away with the filibuster privilege that essentially makes passage of certain legislation or approval of nominees required under the law possible only with the support of a super-majority, neither party has actually ever implemented this nuclear option.
Democrats, however, frustrated by Republicans abuse of the filibuster rule to prevent Obama from making judicial appointments, launched a mini-nuclear option by doing away with the filibuster rule in all but US Supreme Court nominations.
What this means is if Republicans gain control of the Senate, President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee, if any, will require 60 votes to be confirmed, that’s there must be the required 60 votes to end debate (filibuster) followed by a simple majority to approve the nominee.
This is practically the same situation it would be were that vote to take place today with Senate control in the hands of Democrats and thus the reason who controls the Senate would not and could not be a controlling factor as to who or whether Obama succeeds in nominating someone to the US Supreme Court should a vacancy occur during his remaining term in office.
It’ll obviously be much easier for Obama to nominate and have someone approved now when Democrats are in control but that doesn’t mean the president couldn’t find and nominate someone who can command a majority of the senate votes and have enough support from across the isle to beat a filibuster on the way to confirmation.
Besides judicial confirmation, there are those who make the case the prospect of impeaching Obama would increase significantly were Republicans to take control of the Senate.
Those holding this view are also mistaken.
It’s true the Republican party is not without an abundance of morons who having failed to convince anyone other than like-minded fellow lunatics that Obama is a Kenyan, a communist and Muslim, these morons and lunatics would want nothing short of impeaching Obama to quench their thirst for seeing Obama fail as one of them declared the moment Obama was sworn in as president.
However, even the usually whipped and trembling Republican leaders in Congress at the mention of tea party know there’s no basis to impeach Obama and doing so would only dig deeper the Republican party grave they’re busy digging in as far as presidential politics is concerned with their unrepentant pursuit of rejected policies a majority of the voting public know are no good for the country.
Prospects for impeaching Obama therefore won’t be any greater with the Senate control going to Republicans, if it does and let me go on record here to say I am with the lone pundits with outlier polls analysis showing Democrats will maintain control of the Senate.
In sum, if you’re an Obama supporter or Democrat worrying about Democrats losing control of the Senate, worry no more as that would make no difference.
What will make a difference is who Americans will elect as president come 2017 and outlook of Congress then.
For now, we’ll limp along with an Obama presidency and any legislative victory (read immigration) Obama might pry from this tea party driven Republican congress.
Beyond that, we can expect the president to do more or less the same he has been doing on his own to make sure as much of his vision and policies become a reality for the benefit of all.
Indeed, the president has already done a lot without this do nothing Republicans via executive orders for which they’re suing him over but everyone who follows these things closely knows that suit is a waste of taxpayer money and will go nowhere near where Obama haters wish and hope.
In the end, and to the chagrin of his critics and haters, Obama would have proven and history will mark him in the least as one of America’s best presidents and most effective under the most difficult of circumstances no other president has ever faced.
How Obama will rank in greatness is also a function of time and history but many president’s will kill for a ranking simply among the best presidents and that, his haters and destructors like or not, Obama has already earned.
The question is, who will succeed him.
Not coincidentally, Obama has a say in this:
First, Obama must make sure he does everything he can to keep the traditional Democratic base energized enough to go to the polls come this November in efforts to at least keep senate control in the hands of Democrats, which this writer believes is still possible despite overwhelming views and analysis by pundits saying the opposite.
Second, regardless of the outcome in November, Obama must lay the ground for his successor of choice to smoothly assume the helm of the Democratic party and by that is meant Obama must make sure the Democratic party chooses his successor as party leader and flag-bearer in a manner that’s the least disruptive to party unity.
If that means the coronation of Hillary Clinton, so be it.
Third, money. It’s obvious having a tone of money can’t buy one’s way to White House ask Obama’s 2012 opponent Mitt Romney if you have any doubts but it’s also true no one would ever see the inside of White House as president without it so, given Republicans will continue to block Obama and his legislative agenda whether they control the Senate or not, Obama should simply do what he can as suggested above to implement as much of his vision as possible but also fund-raise like crazy to beef-up the Democratic party till between now and the day he leaves office.
After all, who else has Air Force One and clout to do that than he?
Once he does that, his successor as flag-bearer for the Democratic party will cruise to the White House but that doesn’t mean they don’t have their own work cut-out for them.