Inside and outside of Oakland

COMMENTARY: Congressional elections made simple

By The Oakland Press

  In Michigan, all 15 U.S. House seats are up for election this year, but no U.S. Senate seats.
  Nationally, all of the U.S. House is up for election and a third of the U.S. Senate.
  Democrats control both chambers and Republicans are hoping that with President Barack Obama’s slip in the polls linked to the struggling economy, that they can reverse the momentum that gave Democrats control of Congress in 2006.
  So what does that mean for voters?

  When it comes to electing representatives for Congress this year, voters in November basically have three choices.
  They can vote for candidates from the “Party of No,” “the Party of Yes We Can” or the “Party of Not Yes Or No.”
  The Party of No this year would be the Republicans, who have been tarred this year by the Democrat-controlled House and Senate for repeatedly blocking items on the Obama agenda
  Democrats have been somewhat successful at giving Republicans the label. But Republicans, to be fair to Democrats, have often dug their heels in without much regard to the effect of gridlock over stimulus spending on taxpayers struggling with job losses and foreclosures
  That was most evident on the wrangling over an extension of unemployment benefits as part of a jobs bill. Maybe most of the bill, as Republicans suggest, is just expensive and unnecessary spending — that remains to be seen — but the extended unemployment benefits that are included are the only lifeline for many people who have been out of work for more than a year and struggling to pay their bills.
  Republicans used to be the Party of Yes We Know How To Spend Too until Democrats took control of Congress in 2008 and proved they could spend even more.
 That brings us to the second choice for voters in this year’s congressional elections — the Party of Yes We Can (Because We’re The Majority).
 That would be the Democrats who, despite the criticisms of Republicans, have been mostly successful in approving the president’s agenda.
 With control of both chambers, Democrats have mostly pushed Republicans to the sidelines while they pushed their agenda through the process and then accused them of obstructionist partisanship for not going along with it.
 Democrats picked up the Yes We Can slogan from Obama’s 2008 campaign when they expanded their majority in the House and the Senate.
 Democrats didn’t used to be the Party of Yes We Can. Back when Republicans ran Congress, Democrats were the Party of No.
 That brings us to the Party of Not Yes Or No, which isn’t really an organized party.
 They’re candidates and voters who don’t find the spending, policies or partisanship of Democrats or Republicans to be particularly appealing.
 They would be Libertarians, U.S. Taxpayers Party, Green Party, the Natural Law Party, tea party supporters and independents.
 With the popularity of Congress running in the low end of 20 percent, it’s the people who aren’t solid Republicans or Democrats who could have the biggest say-so over the makeup of the next Congress.

Good Morning

“The only difference between death and taxes is that death doesn’t get worse every time Congress meets.” — Humorist Will Rogers

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