The Weekly Ringer

The University of Mary Washington Student Newspaper

Split Government Causes Growing Pains for Obama

2 min read

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If you are like me, you were up until 3 a.m. on election night watching CNN for the midterm election updates with the fervor of a 14-year-old girl watching a Jonas Brothers concert. My roommate begged me to shut the TV off so he could sleep, but alas, sleep was not to be his—not tonight.

I was too transfixed on my screen—too strung out on anxiety and anticipation. I hung on every word as the updates poured in from around the country and squealed like a little girl every time a winner was announced.

The midterm madness that ensued completely warranted my uninterrupted attention, as this election is going to change the pace and productivity level of President Obama’s administration.

These midterms define how the rest of Obama’s term will play out. While Obama has said that he is willing to compromise with the new Republican House majority, John Boehner (Ohio- 8), the new Speaker of the House, has already stated that under his watch, Republicans will not compromise with Obama on a single issue.

While this may just be campaign rhetoric, the tidal wave of Republican victories will certainly affect Obama’s goals until the next presidential elections in 2012.

A House that refuses to compromise with the President ensures a blow for social security, health care and budget approval.

Obama has stated he won’t approve unilateral tax-cuts. Rather, decreased spending or revenue increases elsewhere must offset any tax-cuts proposed by the Republican majority.

Compromise doesn’t have to be impossible with a split government, but as long as the Republican majority refuses to work with Obama, progress will come to a halt for the next few years.

Some who value decentralized power, view split government as a positive thing.

This midterm upheaval of power is a perfect example of how the system of checks and balances was designed to work.

People were angry about how issues like health care were being handled by the Obama administration and as a result more republicans were elected.

However, as Lincoln famously said “A house divided cannot stand.” A government that is too polarized with equal power pushing in opposite directions stands to be far less productive than one unified in favor of either party.