Saturday, November 6, 2010

GOP deciding which direction to go
with new authority after midterm victory

From Shailagh Murray and Perry Bacon Jr. of The Washington Post on Nov. 5:
Jubilant over their landslide victory in the House and their pickup of six Senate seats, Republican leaders nevertheless face a dilemma as they debate how to exert their new authority.

Their energetic conservative base is eager to thwart President Obama's every move, and if Republicans fail at doing so, they risk disappointing the supporters who turned out in vast numbers for Tuesday's midterm elections.

But if Republicans overreach, and ultimately deliver very little, independents could return to the Democratic fold in time to reelect Obama.

In a speech to the conservative Heritage Foundation, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) promised that his emboldened party will try to repeal the health-care law that was passed this year, to block spending increases for most federal agencies and to cut some funding that Congress has already approved.

He reiterated that his overriding goal is to "deny President Obama a second term in office."

Yet McConnell has also spent recent weeks studying Republicans' 1994 midterm election victory, in which the party won back Congress, and urged his colleagues not to forget one of its lessons: the power of the veto. With every flourish of President Bill Clinton's pen, Republicans "ended up being viewed as failures, sellouts or both."

McConnell warned: "We have to be realistic about what we can and cannot achieve, while at the same time recognizing that realism should never be confused with capitulation."

On Thursday, a few modest areas where the two parties might come together emerged.


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