This has been a mixed week for American politicians - President Obama had a less than stellar first year Anniversary; Republican Scott Brown swept to a game changing victory in Massachusetts, and former Democratic Presidential candidate John Edwards admits he fathered a "love child" out of wedlock.
President Obama has worked at a truly frantic pace this year, traveling a great deal and launching a series of programs. He and his Administration hoped to celebrate their first year in office. Instead, they were licking their wounds, after losing their "supermajority" in the US Senate. With Republican Scott Brown winning the seat held by Ted Kennedy for 46 years, the Democrats cannot automatically stop Republican filibusters. The Democrats will have to make major compromises, if they hope to pass any sort of health care reform legislation. All of the President's programs are now in danger. The Democrats still hold overall majority control in the Senate and House. But, no one knows how far the pendulum may swing in the next set of national elections in November.
President Obama told ABC News, in his anniversary appearance, that Americans had a feeling of "remoteness and detachment" from all the government activities in Washington. He added, "we were so busy just getting stuff done and dealing with the immediate crises ... that we lost some of that sense of speaking directly to the American people about what their core values are and why we have to make sure those institutions are matching up with those values."
Experts say he could have added that most Americans were more concerned about the loss of jobs, homes, and the staggering American debt and deficit. Terrorism and the ongoing wars are also of great concern. Health care insurance coverage is important, but not enough if you don't have a job and employer to pay for it. He can address all these issues during the State of the Union Address on the 27th.
In the midst of all this, Scott Brown came roaring up in a well-used pickup truck. He ran an excellent campaign for Senate, and trounced the Democratic candidate, Martha Coakley. As the 41st Republican Senator, he is a deal maker, just because he is there. His victory is the more amazing because the state usually has three times as many Democrats as Republicans. But independent voters in Massachusetts swung to Brown. Some electors said they did not like the Democrats taking that Seat for granted and calling it "The Kennedy Seat." Voters also said they preferred their own health care plan, and did not need an expensive and complex national one.
The third bombshell of the week came when former Presidential candidate John Edwards finally admitted the obvious - he fathered a baby girl out of wedlock two years ago. He had repeatedly lied about the situation in public and on camera. He carried on the affair with a campaign aide, while his wife Elizabeth continues to fight terminal cancer. Now he says he will love and support the baby girl. His affair is nearly as shocking as those of Tiger Woods, but Edwards is a lawyer and politician, sworn to tell the truth. He finally did so, before the impending publication of a tell all book by his former top aide. The aide says he was pressured to claim the baby was his, even though he has his own wife and family.
In the wake of all this, you might now wonder why so many people are disillusioned with politicians. But, someone has to do the dirty work and keep the world running. We may as well support them, unless we want to do it ourselves. ----Connie Lawn, Washington D.C.
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