We are about to enter the New Year and on January 20th, President Obama becomes a lame duck President. The 22nd Amendment to the United States Constitution limits Presidents to a maximum of 10 years. It would take another Amendment to the Constitution to repeal the 22nd Amendment (a very difficult process), so we can rest comfortably that this is indeed President Obama's last hurrah.
There's no sense in rambling on about his lack of experience, his distorted view of America, and his crabbed far left ideology. Everyone who has any knowledge whatsoever knows what an ill prepared, ill-suited President he is.
Moreover, we all know about his complete disregard for the principle of rule by law. He is of the stripe of liberal left leaders who either do not understand the concept, or simply reject the idea that a government of laws is always preferable to a government of men (or women). Having this set of mind, he does his very best to ignore the Constitution and any law with which he disagrees. He may not be the worst rascal to inhabit the White House, but he's certainly in the top five.
All that said, let us agree that he will do further damage to the Constitution and the rule of law. He will bypass Congress and have various bureaus and agencies simply issue decrees and edicts that Congress will not approve. He will appoint judges that either think the Constitution says what they want it to say, or for which they have outright contempt. And he will be abetted in his villainy by a far left media that dances when he plays the tune.
So, the question is, where do we stand politically, and are there any possibilities for gains and advances? Surprisingly, the answer is yes to the second question. As to where we stand politically, the landscape is not as bad as the left leaning news media would have us believe. It certainly does not look like 2008 when the Democrats not only controlled the White House, but also had a 60% majority in both the House of Representatives and in the Senate. Furthermore, in 2008, the Democrats had a majority of governorships, a vast majority of state legislatures, and control of many more city councils and county councils than they do today.
Thanks to the watershed election of 2010, there are far more red states today than there are blue states. Let us not forget that the 2010 election victory was not only broad, but very deep. Even in the darkest blue states, counties, and cities, conservative, tea party Republicans were elected to office. In some cases, it was the first election of Republicans to public office in more than 100 years, and this happened not only in the South, but also in the Midwest, the West and even some places in the East.
Today the GOP holds 30 governorships and 27 state legislatures. In contrast, the Democrats hold just 20 governorships and 17 state legislatures. Five legislatures are split. The Republicans also continue to control the United States House of Representatives. The only gains the Democrats made in 2012 were in taking back a couple of state legislature houses and adding a couple of US Senators; otherwise, the gains made by the GOP in 2010 still stand.
So, let's not hang our heads. We made tremendous, historic gains at the state level in 2010, and the Democrats failed miserably at taking back the races we won. President Obama squeaked back into the White House with 9 million less votes than he received in 2008—hardly a mandate for his policies.
The off year election of 2013 in Virginia and in New Jersey will tell us a couple of things. First, was the 2009 sweep in Virginia of every statewide office a fluke? Remember, Obama carried Virginia in both 2008 and in 2012. The Northern Virginia suburbs have become increasingly Democratic over the past few years, making it very difficult for the state to stay in the red column. On the other hand, the turnout in 2013 will be just a fraction of what it was in 2014. The headline race for Governor will feature a stark contrast of governing philosophy. Terry McAuliffe was Bill Clinton's bag man in his second race for President. He raised millions of dollars for Clinton's successful re-election campaign. McAuliffe got rich through a somewhat shady deal involving Global Crossing. The Republican candidate is one of the finest, most principled conservatives in America, Ken Cuccinelli. It takes a lot to persuade me that a candidate can be trusted, but you can put Ken in that column. He has rock solid integrity and has always won a good share of the Democrat vote.
McAuliffe and his allies in the media are sure to portray Ken as an extremist, but they will have a hard time making that stick. Ken was repeatedly elected to the State Senate from a strong Democrat district, and, in 2009, he led the Republican ticket statewide when he was elected Attorney General. Cuccinelli is a rising star nationally in the GOP, so this is an important race to watch.
The entire Republican ticket in Virginia should be very strong. The state convention has not yet been held, but there are some great candidates for statewide office including Mark Obenshain for Attorney General and Earl Jackson for Lieutenant Governor. Obenshain is currently a state senator and is the son of Dick Obenshain, a great conservative who was killed in a plane crash while running for US Senate. Earl Jackson is an African American with a degree in law from Harvard University. He is a tough, principled conservative.
New Jersey will also be interesting to watch. Although Governor Christie talks a good game, there's no doubt he burned some bridges with conservatives when he "rescued" Obama by pumping him up during the final days of the presidential race. Can this moderate Republican hold on to the New Jersey Governorship? It's hard to say.
So is there an upside to Barack Obama's second term? I'd say the answer to that is a cautious maybe. Here are some things that might happen…
- US Supreme Court. Current members of the US Supreme Court that actually believe the Constitution says what it means will probably try to hang in there until the next Presidential election. Of course, Obama doesn't have anything to do with this, but the situation is hopeful.
- Keystone Pipeline. Don't be surprised if President Obama ultimately gives approval to the Keystone Pipeline. The reason is simple politics. The radical Greens have votes, but they don't have money, and their political muscle cannot be compared to that of the unions. I suspect that there was a sub-rosa deal made with the unions prior to election day. Obama probably told them that he could not approve the pipeline and alienate the Greens before the election, but if the unions would hold in there, he would approve it in his second term. The unions want those high paying jobs.
- Fracking. Money is a powerful thing and here, once again, the unions have a big interest in keeping fracking going. The supply of natural gas is growing rapidly with exportation likely to expand dramatically. This will, for the first time in many, many years, tip the balance of trade payments on its head and will create many new union jobs. Obama will probably make noises against fracking to satisfy his radical Green allies, but smart politics augurs for a hands off policy on fracking.
- Congress. Although the Republicans control only one house of Congress, that control provides a huge roadblock to advancing some huge new government takeover. You can be sure that the Democrats have their eye on nationalizing the energy industry. It may be a ways down the road, but they have already let this goal slip several times. Nevertheless, there is no hope of advancing this radical idea in the current Republican controlled House of Representatives.
- Scandals. The White House is far from being in the clear on the Fast and Furious scheme to limit gun control, and they are still under the lens for their politically motivated screw-up in Benghazi that cost four lives. In addition, a lame duck president is often lackadaisical when it comes to avoiding further scandals. Even a compliant news media is going to be more skeptical of scandals in Obama's second term.
I certainly realize that these are not great gains for conservatives or for our nation, but with an ever worsening economy (how can it not get worse when every step the President takes is the exact opposite of what really needs to be done) the Democrats could find themselves in a very tough position by the time the next Presidential election rolls around.
Of course, the Republicans will have to be as smart as Governor Nikki Haley of South Carolina, who appointed the first African American from the South to the United States Senate, Tim Scott. Scott is not just another Republican, he is a tea party Republican with deep conservative credentials and a track record of voting his principles. The GOP will also need to get its get-out-the-vote act together. The Democrats have eaten the lunch of the Republicans in the last two presidential elections.
From my perspective, conservatives are in the cat bird's seat. They have an opportunity to not only take control of the apparatus of the GOP, but also make significant gains in 2014 and 2016. So take heart, the best is yet to come.