On the duopoly

One facet of the early TEA Party which fascinated me was the debate on whether to try to form a political TEA Party or work through the existing two-party system, or, as I call it, the duopoly. In Rise and Fall I devoted a significant part of the early chapters to the TEA Party’s impact on two political campaigns: the 2009 Doug Hoffman Congressional race in New York’s 23rd Congressional District and the Scott Brown Senate race for the “Kennedy seat” in Massachusetts in 2009-10.

In the Hoffman case, you may recall that the Republican nominee was selected by local party officials rather than the electorate at large, resulting in a candidate, state Assembly member Dede Scozzafava, who was deemed most electable as a moderate as opposed to necessarily espousing Republican principles. Hoffman, who had also interviewed for the seat and had originally pledged his support for Scozzafava, eventually prevailed upon New York’s Conservative Party to give him his own ballot line.

Although Hoffman was in a close second place by the time late October rolled around – thanks to the sudden interest of the TEA Party in a rather obscure, backwater Congressional district special election race – the eventual withdrawal by the Republican and her endorsement of Democrat Bill Owens, along with a disadvantageous ballot position, pulled defeat from the jaws of victory. (Owens had the advantage of two ballot lines as well, as a far-left party endorsed him rather than run a candidate on their own.)

Stung by that loss, the TEA Party tried things the other way. Fast-forward about six weeks and once Scott Brown made it official by winning the Republican nomination for the Massachusetts special election it was (practically) all hands on deck – never mind he was arguably to the left of Scozzafava overall and there was an independent libertarian candidate in the race (ironically by the name of Joseph Kennedy, but no relation to the Camelot clan) who may have been more suitable philosophically. Aside from the small percentage who argued the Kennedy case on TEA Party principles, the national focus was on Brown winning, and as we now know, he did – and was soon rather disappointing for two reasons: one, his moderate stances, and secondly, he’s the one who gave us Elizabeth Warren because he got his doors blown off in the 2012 general, when his wasn’t the only race of national concern.

In short, this brief few months sealed a key decision (and perhaps error) by those who were the leaders of the TEA Party: they chose to try and reform the Republican Party from within. Convinced that someplace within the GOP were candidates and officeholders receptive to the conservative message of the TEA Party, the effort in the first half of last decade was to take over the GOP from within, through gaining seats in local precincts and working their way up the ranks. By now you would think this policy of percolating through from the grassroots would be bearing sizable fruit – but it doesn’t seem to be working that way.

This long prelude has finally brought me to my main point and inspiration. One of those who I made acquaintance with in promoting my book over the summer was Andy Hooser, whose radio show “The Voice of Reason” was the seventh stop on my radio tour. (I remember doing his show pacing around my backyard on what I called “Triple Dip Friday” – three shows in one day!)

Since then I’ve signed up for updates and the other day Andy introduced the current two-party system as a topic of discussion, noting in part:

We have been the ones, as members of the parties, that have allowed the parties to get out of hand. Our nation was built on strong, hard individuals who were leaders, not followers. The founding fathers that did promote a two party system, did so with the idea that the informed, active member of society could listen to an argument, contribute to the cause, and help the party accomplish it’s goals. Now…the party creates fear in the hearts of ill-informed followers to create an agenda. With our lack of involvement in politics…with our lack of engagement in the system…and our lack of understanding of issues as a society, the parties are no longer run by us…but for for self preservation with us as the follower to keep the lifeline going. 

So how do we fix this? A third party? HA. Third parties are no more relevant than Vermin Supreme running for President. The only thing third parties do, is potentially swing an election to the side lest in line with your views. 

Our job is to fix the parties from within. We cannot destroy them (unless they destroy themselves…Hello socialist Democrats?), we cannot leave them. At the end of the day, the money, they power, and the influence is within the parties. Our chance to change things…is the fix the party internally. Run for office locally. Set a standard of what you will tolerate as a platform for the party and the candidates. Hold you local, statewide, and national elected officials accountable. Don’t let them say one thing, yet vote another way. Work within your party. And bring it back to the platform it says it promotes. That’s the reason you joined it in the first place. 

“To be a two party system…or not to be!” – Voice of Reason website, January 29, 2020.

A common definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, and it seems to me we in the TEA Party tried this approach a decade ago. Nor would it surprise me if the Moral Majority crowd didn’t try it in the early 1980s, to name another somewhat failed attempt to mold and shape politics to their will. Everything old is new again.

This assertion also begs the question: are the two parties really that popular? Since I was a Maryland resident at the time, this is where the party registration totals stood the day after the initial set of TEA Parties, February 28, 2009:

  • Democrat: 1,953,650 (56.9%)
  • Republican: 919,500 (26.8%)
  • unaffiliated: 482,806 (14.1%)
  • all others: 76,486 (2.2%)

It was a D+30 state. Now let’s see where we are at as of the end of 2019:

  • Democrat: 2,204,017 (54.7%)
  • Republican: 1,009,635 (25.0%)
  • unaffiliated: 757,953 (18.8%)
  • all others: 60,536 (1.5%)

Of the four major groups, the only one which is growing in rate are the unaffiliated. But it is still a D+30 state.

Turning to my adopted home state of Delaware, the online numbers only go back to 2010. In Delaware at that time (January 2010) there were 25 (!) registered parties but only four had ballot access: Democrats, Republicans, Libertarians, and the Independent Party of Delaware (or IPOD).

  • Democrat: 287,821 (47.1%)
  • Republican: 180,479 (29.5%)
  • unaffiliated: 137,072 (22.4%)
  • all others: 6,095 (1.0%)

That would make it a D+18 state, which was a little more promising for conservatives. So where do we stand now, a decade later? Well, we are down to 17 parties listed but the top dogs are still on top:

  • Democrat: 338,586 (47.4%)
  • Republican: 198,018 (27.7%)
  • unaffiliated: 163,150 (22.8%)
  • all others: 14,365 (2.0%)

The Delaware GOP has seen their previous support splinter in every direction: their 1.8% loss has gone slightly to the Democrats (0.4%) and unaffiliated groups (also 0.4%) but mainly to minor parties, which doubled to 2% of the electorate. Now it’s a D+20 state.

What does this all mean? Well, at least in this small area of the country, it means that if the TEA Party took over the Republican Party, it didn’t do a very good job of making it thrive. (Given the Delaware GOP’s treatment of their Senate primary winner Christine O’Donnell in 2010, it wouldn’t surprise me if a significant part of their registration loss came from that incident.) Of course, there are other areas of the nation where the GOP is probably growing but I suspect these types of declining numbers are prevalent in many areas.

So why not a third party? Well, if you look at our history as a whole our political system went through a number of party upheavals in its first century, but the last major shift came in the 1850s as the Republican Party ascended over the ruins of the old Whig Party. I tend to believe that as time went on the two dominant parties entered into a gentleman’s agreement to divvy the political spoils among themselves, making it more difficult for competing parties to grow and prosper.

Imagine the time and effort wasted by the Libertarians, Green Party, Constitution Party, Reform Party, and others in having to gain ballot access again and again in some states, such as Maryland – a state that required parties secure 1% of the vote in certain races or go through a process of collecting thousands of signatures just to qualify for another cycle. Of course, the Republicans and Democrats don’t have to do this, and they are the ones who prefer the duopoly because it cuts off competition.

On the other hand, the reason Delaware has so many parties is fairly lax rules on party formation. Their biggest hurdle is getting and maintaining 1% of registered voters for ballot access, but it’s been done by the Libertarians, Green Party, and IPOD, so there are possibly five choices all across the political spectrum. (They are very close to six, if the American Delta Party can pick up a handful of voters.) Granted, none of these parties fill a ballot all the way down to state representative, but I believe the reason is a self-fulfilling prophecy (created by the duopoly, echoed by the media) that only a D or R can win.

Over the years, there has become a “lesser of two evils” approach to voting: people voted for Donald Trump not because they were enamored with him but because they were really afraid of what Hillary Clinton would do to us. We were all told that “a vote for Gary Johnson, Evan McMullin, etc. is a vote for Hillary.” So they were scared into voting for Trump. (On the other hand, having disgruntled Bernie Sanders backers and conventional wisdom that Hillary would easily win may have freed those on the Left to vote for who they really wanted, to Hillary’s detriment.)

That was the approach by enough people in enough states (including her so-called “firewall” across the Midwest) to give Donald Trump the upset victory despite the fact more Republicans voted against him than in his favor during the primary season, although Trump had the plurality by the time it was over. (As Democrats did against Barack Obama in 2008 – Hillary Clinton won that popular vote, too.)

But what if people had something to vote for? If you’re on the far left, maybe you like the Green Party or Socialist Workers Party, while those on the conservative side may prefer my political home, the Constitution Party. There’s nothing hurt by giving the electorate more choices, but the key is getting states to loosen up balloting requirements.

And if we want a real TEA Party, it would become possible and easier to build one from the bottom up. Why take over a party which is set in its ways when you can build to suit? Let’s make that easier to do.

Fostering dependence

While many are attending a barbecue with family and friends or watching a fireworks show, there are big goings-on afoot in the world. I could have wrote on the demise of the Obama-backed Morsi government in Egypt, but that nation’s unrest isn’t a large threat to our livelihood just yet.

Instead, the news item I found interesting was the decision by Barack Obama to push the much-ballyhooed employer mandate back 12 months, from the beginning of 2014 to January, 2015. There’s all sorts of spin on this from the mainstream media (like the Washington Post, for example) but the timing of this is suspicious at best, as it occurs just six months before the original deadline. It’s intriguing how we now talk about the slowing down the rush, such as these two paragraphs from the Post piece by Dan Balz:

“This gives businesses some breathing room to figure it all out and not have to be rushed,” Democratic pollster John Anzalone said in an e-mail. He said he did not see it as a political decision, but added, “To be quite honest, whether it was implemented in 2014 or not, the Republicans are going to use the same rhetoric on Obamacare to attack Dems in congressional races [next year].”

And also…

Another administration official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to talk candidly, said the action was not a reflection of the administration’s inability to implement the law, but rather its concern about getting this right rather than getting it done quickly.

So let me see if I have this straight. In 2010, we had to rush and pass the Senate version of the bill to see what was in it in the first place, all because the fragile coalition of Democrats was broken when Scott Brown was elected. Now there’s absolutely no hurry to put this employer mandate into place, even though American companies have wasted the last three-plus years dealing with strategies on how to cope with it. I really don’t see them running out and hiring millions of people based on a one-year reprieve from the proverbial firing squad of an employer mandate.

I know the real reason it was punted, though, and it’s called the 2014 elections. Forget taking over the House – surely Democrats are more worried about losing the Senate majority because they have a lot more seats to defend than the GOP does.

If the employer mandate was set in stone, chances are unemployment would reverse course and ratchet skyward, despite the administration’s best efforts at keeping the number low by tossing out long-term unemployed. If unemployment is 10 percent in an off-year election, you wouldn’t have enough Democrats remaining in Congress to occupy a phone booth, let alone run the Senate. (I say this with a caveat, though: there’s a reason Republicans are sometimes known as the stupid party – they have time and again snatched defeat from the jaws of victory.)

But if the impact is pushed beyond 2014 and Democrats manage to take back the House to go with the Senate, Republicans may be doomed to go the way of the Whigs. You’ll see expanded amnesty, more needless climate change regulation, the undermining of the Second Amendment – oh, and a faster push toward a single-payer health care system. This scenario is far more likely with a 2015 employer mandate.

If all this happens, we may just as well all be handed “dependence” cards, since surely the government will have one with our names on it. We’ll need that in order to be “put on the list,” waiting for months to secure our “free” health care. And if someone dies while waiting, well, chances are they were a conservative old fogey anyway. But if you’re a woman who wants her abortion six months into pregnancy, there will be no line for you. Step right up and have your fetus butchered while you wait.

Unfortunately, we already have too much government control of our affairs. After all, look at all employers have invested to prepare based on a government decision at the expense of actual tasks which can build market share or improve a product or process. That’s the sort of red tape which needs to be eliminated – stat!

Everything in its time

You may recall the dustup last fall when the Maryland Republican Party decided to take its show on the road, assisting Mitt Romney’s campaign in Virginia and Pennsylvania at the expense of candidates who maybe could have used the assistance here. Obviously the 2012 election didn’t work out the way the party had wanted, but hope springs eternal and there’s always another election.

This brings me to make this point: since we’re not busy trying to win ten races at the top of the ticket (along with a handful of local races) it seems like NOW would be a good time to lend ourselves to other states’ races, and the Maryland Young Republicans are doing just that.

Our friends in the Massachusetts Young Republicans need your help to send another Republican to Washington next Tuesday.

We are asking all Young Republicans who are able to set aside some time in the next week to make phone calls for Republican U.S. Senate Candidate Gabriel Gomez.

Gabriel Gomez is a Navy SEAL and businessman who is challenging long-term incumbent Ed Markey. Ed Markey is a product of the out-of-touch liberal establishment in Washington; he’s been in in Congress since 1976 and been a key Democrat on virtually every liberal policy that has impacted your way of life. He is not deserving of a promotion.

Gabriel Gomez can help us fix what insiders like Ed Markey has broken. And you can help.

The site to sign up is here if you’re interested.

It’s interesting that three years ago, when Scott Brown pulled the upset and won the U.S. Senate seat from Massachusetts, there was a Maryland politician who helped out then, too. It didn’t work out for him later on, but I’m sure Eric Wargotz learned something from the experience.

But my point is that this IS a race where Marylanders can help out, particularly since the race will have national attention. The same will be true for the New Jersey Senate race in October, since it will be two weeks before their off-year state elections, as well as Virginia’s gubernatorial election this fall. We can learn a little bit from those races, get some volunteering done, and hopefully next year when it’s our turn take advantage of the lessons learned. In this case, the Maryland YRs get it.

Bongino gets another conservative endorsement

Adding to his pocketful of meaningful conservative backers, Dan Bongino’s U.S. Senate campaign announced the endorsement of the FreedomWorks PAC today. Max Pappas, Executive Director of the PAC, noted in a statement:

Dan Bongino has the rare ability to simplify and effectively communicate limited-government economic principles. As a small business owner himself, he has seen first-hand how excessive regulations and taxes punish the risk-taking entrepreneurs at the heart and soul of America’s economy. Bongino has also been a vocal leader for allowing parents to have a choice in their children’s education.

Bongino’s opponent Senator Ben Cardin is an automatic vote for President Obama’s failed policies, which have dramatically increased the federal government’s spending and debt while stunting economic growth. In contrast, Dan Bongino understands that bailouts and stimulus spending do not create jobs, entrepreneurs do, and he will fight to get big government off their back so they can resume growing the economy.

Naturally, Dan was happy about the support:

I have long been a supporter of FreedomWorks and their tireless efforts to engage and mobilize the conservative grassroots. FreedomWorks is on the front lines of the fight for smaller government and fiscal sanity – a fight I gladly join them in. I am proud to have the endorsement of FreedomWorks PAC.

I did a little research on the FreeedomWorks PAC and, while they have a low six-figure amount (about $116,000) in the bank as of July 31, the real benefit to Bongino may be the publicity and awareness this endorsement will bring. The PAC is but a small portion of the overall FreedomWorks umbrella.

As the PAC boasts:

In the 2010 midterms we ushered in the largest electoral landslide in more than 70 years, electing a huge freshman class committed to lower taxes, less government, and more freedom.

The 2012 election is our chance to do even more: growing our House majority, flipping the Senate for fiscal conservatives, and making Barack Obama a one term president.

Obviously Bongino would fall under the “fiscal conservative” heading, and he seems to have a pretty good head on his shoulders regarding that point.

One thing which characterizes Dan’s stump speeches is some variation on the theme that Republicans prefer low taxes, but few if any are radical enough to say we should pay no taxes – after all, we need to support the construction and maintenance of public infrastructure, provide for the common defense, maintain our system of justice, and so on through basic functions of government spelled out as duties under the Constitution. At one time we could do this almost solely through tariffs, but that day has long past as government – even its most basic functions – gets more expensive. Unfortunately, we also have to consider what we owe and the unfunded obligations we have to those who are living now but expect Social Security, Medicare, and pensions in the future. (Hint: don’t hold your breath unless we make radical changes like I spell out in my book. A little self-promotion never hurts.)

Of course one can argue that Bongino has no record of fiscal conservatism to fall back on because he’s never voted for (or against) a budget, a government program, or any other item of public interest for that matter. But my counter to that is that the incumbent has voted against fiscal conservatism every chance he got, so the absolute worst we could do is a wash and I have a lot more confidence in Dan than that. To use another state’s example: even though once in awhile he’s quite maddening to conservatives and the TEA Party, taken as a whole Scott Brown has been a vast improvement over Ted Kennedy or Martha Coakley.

By the same token, there are some among the 28 candidates FreedomWorks PAC is endorsing who might lead me to scratch my head, but in toto they would present a much better opportunity to advance the conservative cause in the right direction than electing their Democratic opponents. I would rather the debate be between right-of-center and far-right than middle-of-the-road and far-left, as the case seems to be now.

So Dan should be pleased with this newest endorsement, but the trick will be that uphill battle to get the endorsement of 50% +1 of Maryland’s voters come November 6. It should be easy to convince the thoughtful ones, but those who just sort of hazily walk in and cast their ballot need to know the name Dan Bongino. Let’s make sure they do.

Playing from the inside

In May I did an Examiner piece on the Coalition to Reduce Spending, a group which was co-founded by a former Ron Paul campaign operative with the aim to endorse candidates pledging to (of course) reduce spending.

Well, today I found the following in my e-mail box, with the headline “Johnson, Paul Campaign Talent Combine to Help Liberty Candidates Win.”

Struggling libertarian political candidates and advocacy groups now have a chance to succeed in races where the establishment might otherwise prevail.  Seven of the most successful individuals who have variously worked on the Ron Paul, Rand Paul, and Gary Johnson campaigns (among many others) have combined to form Liberty Torch Political Consulting, LLC.  The firm aims to change the outcome of elections around the country and get more freedom-loving candidates elected to office than ever before.

The common name between the two groups is Jonathan Bydlak, who is president of the CRS. I must be on his e-mail list.

Now that’s not to say I have anything against the group; in fact, I’d love to see plenty of pro-liberty candidates win. But it has to be said that this team doesn’t necessarily have a track record of success, unless you consider Gary Johnson’s nomination as the Libertarian candidate a smashing accomplishment. Yes, Ron Paul has been successful in several House elections but he never accounted for a significant part of the presidential vote, nor did Johnson. Only Rand Paul has seen a major electoral success, and that was in Kentucky – not exactly a key swing state. So what would they really bring to the table?

I suppose their apparent focus on winnable local races is a good one, since there are hundreds of local and state seats up for grabs this year. Obviously there’s a significant pro-liberty media presence out there, so local races which aren’t going to be decided mostly on who bombards the airwaves with the most frequent and dirtiest thirty-second commercials will be a natural market for the folks at Liberty Torch. Adding a little national panache to these local races may help tip the scales in a few of them.

While he’s not necessarily the poster boy for pro-liberty followers, the way Scott Brown nationalized a Massachusetts U.S. Senate race seems like a good model to follow – in Maryland, Dan Bongino has taken a few pages from that campaign. Having a broad network in media can help to some extent, as can some creativity and plain talking. But you need to have the boots on the ground, too, and consultants are no substitute for a good candidate. (Notice the two commercials I cited backed candidates who lost their election – one in the primary and one in the general.)

But it’s interesting to see our side playing the same game as the high-powered Beltway politicians play. If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em, right?

Endorsements and other fun stuff in the Maryland U.S. Senate race

It seems to me that, much as I could probably like the other eight gentlemen seeking the Republican nod to charge up the hill that is Senator Ben Cardin, I only get to hear a lot from two of the ten contenders. And the dynamic between their campaigns is generally interesting, although I have to concede the advantage in communication goes to Dan Bongino over fellow candidate Rich Douglas. This list is culled just from items this week, which are coming at me in rapid-fire fashion.

Continue reading “Endorsements and other fun stuff in the Maryland U.S. Senate race”

Stealing a post

My original intention was to write a very short post highlighting an excellent, well-documented piece on Human Events by Newt Gingrich regarding the specter of reconciliation – after all, he’s been in Congress so I would have to defer to his expertise on the subject. I don’t always agree with Newt but I’m a fan and the man has a pretty good understanding of history.

But in looking for the actual website for the above link (I get the Newt Gingrich Letter in my e-mail so I don’t necessarily go to Human Events all the time) I found an op-ed by Maryland U.S. Senate candidate Dr. Eric Wargotz detailing his trip to Massachusetts during the exciting final days of Scott Brown’s campaign.

What I found most interesting was that Eric didn’t pull any rank during the visit, going out and slogging in the trenches like hundreds of other political volunteers. Having done petition drives in the cold and snow of January in Ohio for a candidate who wasn’t even in my district, lit drops and door knocking in October’s chill, and working the polls on a number of raw and rainy Election Days both here and in my native area I could relate.

And while Eric didn’t have the chance to hang around to savor Scott Brown’s eventual victory, there is a thrill for those of us who are political junkies as the elections draw closer.

Yet it’s both political junkies and agnostics who can make a difference in the battle over health care. Newt’s article is important because he describes the process which either health care bill needs to go through in order to be passed. Aside from a few small cracks here and there, the GOP wall of opposition has held fairly firm over the last many months these Obamacare proposals have been debated (remember, the original goal was to have health care done by last August’s recess.) With Frank Kratovil being considered as one of the possible key votes on the current reform packages being considered, it’s very important to let him know his original opposition should stand.

Unfortunately, none of the phone calls and e-mails beseeching them to “just say no” to Obamacare are likely to dissuade our two United States Senators from toeing the liberal Democrat line and voting in its favor. Since Barbara Mikulski has put aside those rumors she was calling it a career, the national GOP will likely not invest much time or effort into the Maryland Senate race. (Too bad, because the money they wasted on Dede Scozzafava may have come in handy here.)

It just so happens that Wargotz is hosting an online “Mikulski Retirement Party” (it’s really a ‘money bomb’ fundraiser) tomorrow. That’s an idea borrowed from the Brown campaign too, and if it works half as well as Scott’s he’ll gain an even larger financial advantage over his two main contenders. (He had a huge cash-on-hand advantage on Jim Rutledge at the end of 2009, but Wargotz’s pot was less than 1/10 the size of Mikulski’s. Carmen Amedori has just entered the race so she has no FEC reporting data yet.)

Right now we have to play the hand we were dealt in 2008, though, so it’s up to us to convince the jokers we have to vote in our country’s best interest and scrap this health care debacle once and for all.

How one man killed Obamacare

As most of America has presumably learned, Republican Scott Brown was elected to take over the “Kennedy seat” in the Senate, dispatching Democrat opponent Martha Coakley handily in Massachusetts’ recent special election. Thus ended Democrats’ filibuster-proof 60-vote majority in the Senate and prospects for ramming Obamacare through on a strictly party-line vote.

Yet had the House and Senate concurred earlier on a health care reform bill agreeable to both Brown’s election wouldn’t have mattered nearly as much. Instead, each body designed legislation to pass their own side and in the end the differences were irreconcilable. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi finally threw in the towel, saying the one chance Obamacare had – passing the Senate bill as it was in the House – couldn’t draw the required 218 votes. A main sticking point was that the Senate bill lacked the prohibition on the federal government paying directly for abortions. That provision allowed the House to pass their bill with just two votes to spare and gave it the barest bipartisan fig leaf as GOP Rep. Joseph Cao of Louisiana was the lone Republican in favor.

Undeniably, part of Brown’s appeal was the prospect of killing Obamacare by being the 41st Republican vote and denying Democrats their supermajority. In the election’s aftermath, petulant Democrats threw losing candidate Martha Coakley under the bus for running a terrible, gaffe-prone campaign and openly spoke about changing the filibuster rules to allow Democrats to maintain their hammerlock, perhaps needing just 55 votes instead of 60. Decades ago, a compromise measure lowered the limit from a 2/3 majority of 67 Senators to the current 3/5 majority.

Cooler heads prevailed, though, and now the consensus on health care reform is to deliver it in a piecemeal fashion by removing some of the most objectionable portions and focusing on areas where broad agreement exists, such as eliminating the right to deny coverage for preexisting conditions. But gone will be the ability for Democrats to fashion closed-door deals such as the one exempting union workers from a tax on so-called “Cadillac” health insurance plans.

While Republicans were pleased about picking up a Massachusetts seat for the first time in nearly 40 years, the prospects of becoming the majority party in the Senate this fall are fairly slim. Of the 36 Senate seats up for consideration (there are special elections to fill unexpired terms in Delaware and New York), 18 of the seats are Republican and 18 are held by Democrats. To even things out, the GOP would have to sweep the seats they’re defending and win half the available Democratic seats – a tall order to be sure. The prevailing conventional wisdom at the moment pegs GOP gains of 2 to 4 seats, which would leave them still significantly in the minority.

But an enhanced Republican presence in the Senate would curb the radically statist agenda thus far presented by President Obama, creating a similar effect to the 1994 midterm election which tempered President Clinton’s ambitious plans for health care reform. In order to win his own reelection, President Clinton tacked to the center and the strategy paid off in 1996.

Given what Obama has proposed and already enacted, though, moving to the center may be a little much to expect out of him. The 2012 Presidential election will likely see Obama run for a second term against two opponents: the Republican nominee and a “do-nothing” Congress which thwarted much of his ambitious agenda to remake America.

For that, we can thank Scott Brown and Massachusetts voters who hoped for a better change.

Michael Swartz, an architect and writer who lives in rural Maryland, is a Liberty Features Syndicated writer.

This latest effort for LFS cleared back on January 27th.