Maybe some good can come from Barack Obama’s presidency.
Don’t get me wrong – the man has been a disaster for this country. When he stepped into office, the country was loaded with debt, and instead of starting to fill the hole, he grabbed a shovel and started digging us deeper. He continually sticks his nose where it doesn’t belong — he said a local policeman acted stupidly, he lectured the American people on freedom of religion when he just should’ve kept his mouth shut on the New York mosque debate. He helped ram a wildly unpopular healthcare bill through Congress, completely ignoring the wishes of the American public. I could go on for days about his missteps and the disastrous consequences we’re likely to see from his policies.
But, he did drag more people into the public arena. Voter turnout was up in 2008, in part, as a response to his energetic candidacy. Of course, many of those folks are now removing their “Hope and Change” bumper stickers. (It’d be nice if they’d replace them with “Oops, I made a mistake,” stickers, but I won’t hold my breath.)
But there is every indication that many of those folks remain aware of what’s occurring on the national scene and concerned about the direction our country is going.
Also, no one can deny that Obama’s dramatic race to Statism has awakened even more people – his policies have dragged Tea Partiers into the streets raging against a government that doesn’t listen to its constituents.
These are good things.
We got into this mess, because collectively, the people fell asleep at the wheel. Those who regularly voted simply pushed the button for the candidate whose name they recognized – typically the incumbent.
But a string of primary elections – and the likely outcome of the November election – reveals that voters are paying more attention, and simple name recognition won’t be enough to carry a candidate through to a Congressional seat.
Three incumbents to the U.S. Senate – Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska; Sen. Bob Bennett, R-Utah; and Sen. Arlen Specter, D-Penn. – were ousted in primary races earlier this year. In the House, Rep. Alan Mollohan, D-W.Va.; Rep. Parker Griffith, R-Ala.; Rep. Bob Ingliss, R-SC; Rep. Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick, D-Mich. won’t be joining us in November’s contests.
It’s about time.
The seven are some of the country’s most grotesque offenders. They believe they are entitled to power – the people be damned. Murkowski will continue to run in Alaska as a write-in candidate. Specter changed his party affiliation from Republican to Democrat when it appeared he would be unable to capture the Republican nomination for his seat. Griffith is another turncoat. Griffith, a Congressional freshman in 2008, shifted from a Democrat to a Republican after one year in office.
The message from the people in those primaries was: Power grab over. And I believe we’ll see similar losses in November. The most egregious power-hungry offenders will lose races, because the people are paying attention.
The challenge will come after November. I pray the people collectively will remain diligent after the election. I’m elated that Republicans are likely to take back the House, and maybe even the Senate – but it does the country no good if they’re not held accountable in the long term.
Dramatic shifts in the make-up of Congress are not all that uncommon. Voters continuing to hold the elected accountable is.
Let’s keep our eyes on the road after November. Stay focused. Stay alert, and protect our country’s future.
This country can not survive the people falling asleep in the driver’s seat and hitting more Obama trees.