November 5, 2014 "One of the lessons of this election is that arrogance will bite you," said Republican pollster Whit Ayres Wednesday, just a few hours after Republicans took control of the Senate by a wider margin than expected and gained House seats across the country and in several governor's offices.
Ayres was talking about President Obama. "The president made the Republican argument for us. We barely even needed to make it," he said at National Journal LIVE's "Day After" conference discussing the impact of the Republican sweep. Ayres is president of North Star Opinion Research. The Day After conference was underwritten by the American Society of Anesthesiologists and United Technologies.
Democratic pollster Celinda Lake agreed that the midterm election results were a repudiation of Obama, but she also noted that traditional Democratic policies such as living wages and better working conditions are still popular among voters. "I think the Republicans were very successful in nationalizing the race," said Lake, who runs Lake Research Partners. But, she added, voters in some states "had the opportunity to directly vote on the issues, minimum wage in four states, paid sick days in two states, legalizing marijuana." In those cases, she said, "the Democratic agenda worked very well."
Regardless of whether voters like Democratic policies, the election results show that there is genuine frustration at Obama for not working well with Republicans, no matter whom people blame for the lack of action. Ayres echoed the repeated complaints from Republican members of Congress over the last two years that Obama wouldn't work with them. Exhibit A for that grievance is the Affordable Care Act, which was passed solely with Democratic votes. "Obamacare was an albatross around the necks of Democrats who voted for it," Ayres said. "We had clients who were perfectly willing to work with the president on health care reform. And the response was, 'We have the votes. We don't need it.' "
Lake echoed the statements of Democrats in Congress over the past two years. "I disagree with the assessment that the president hasn't tried to work with the Republicans. I think he has tried to work with Republicans," she said.
On immigration reform, for example, Obama made a tremendous effort last year to allow Republicans to take the lead in negotiating legislation in the Senate. He made a point of staying out of the spotlight for fear of making any compromise look like a White House victory. Even so, more than half of Senate Republicans voted against the compromise immigration measure. The Republican-led House rejected it immediately.
It's hard to overstate the antipathy between congressional Republicans and the White House, which mushroomed over the last year as GOP leaders sensed that they would be able to win control of the Senate and hence were reluctant to hand Obama anything that looked like a win. What's more, Obama couldn't stop complaining about them, blaming Congress anytime he faced questions about lack of action. The odds of getting a deal about even the most benign policies under those circumstances were almost nil.
The upcoming congressional session will raise the stakes for both parties to work together, political experts agreed. Obama has his legacy to worry about. The Republicans have the 2016 presidential race to worry about. Voters don't want the next two years to be dominated by a series of White House vetoes, which could happen if the Republican Congress overreaches and passes overly confrontational legislation, Lake said.
What's more, voters in 2016 will look different than the 2014 midterm electorate, which was 75 percent white and hence tilted toward Republicans, Ayres said. Traditionally, minority voting blocs turn out in greater numbers in presidential races, and they could make up 30 percent of the voters the next time around. That means Republicans will have to tack to the middle to pick up some nonwhite voters.
Two of the major issues that could come to the forefront over the next two years—immigration and tax reform—will require serious cooperation and politically risky trade-offs if anything is to be accomplished. "Those two issues will be the test of whether you can have true bipartisanship," said former Rep. Martin Frost, a Democrat from Texas.
The problem with deal-making however, is that lawmakers who fear primary challenges may not be willing to make compromises necessary to pass legislation. In the House, particularly, many Republicans are in safe conservative seats but will tack to the right if they even sense that they might have to face a primary challenger in their next race. That makes the negotiators' problems all the more difficult.
"The jury is out. We're all hopeful. We'd like to see bipartisinship and cooperation. But we can't tell you whether it's going to happen," Frost said.
source: What Happened? Obama's 'Arrogance' Made Republicans' Case for Them - NationalJournal.com
GOP picked up +7 in the senate and +10 in the house... Republicans painted Washington RED!!!
Landslide for Republicans... and now they can kick out Harry Reid.. YAHOO!!!
My happy dance... B*tches!!!