President Barack Obama has won another four years in the Oval Office, resulting in a government not much different from last term and turning Americans’ attention to the topic of possible congressional gridlock.
The question many have asked is: Will a Democratic victory mean another four years of congressional gridlock until a more conservative candidate can be offered up, or will Republicans begin to concede to the American vote? Two dominating theories prevail in response to this question.
Bloomberg.com discussed an interview that Associated Press reporter Ben Feller conducted with Barack Obama before the election. “If Obama wins re-election,” Feller said, “Republicans are still likely to have a majority in the House,” the report stated. “How is that any different from what we have now? Why wouldn’t a voter look at that and say that’s a recipe for stalemate? How would you do anything differently?” Feller asked the president.
President Obama’s response is that the Republican Party would experience a shift toward more cooperation.
“Well, there are a couple things that I think would change. No. 1, the American people will have voted. They will have cast a decisive view on how we should move the country forward, and I would hope that the Republican Party, after a fulsome debate, would say to itself, we need to listen to the American people,” Obama said.
Ramesh Ponnuru is the senior editor for the National Review and author of the article “If You Think Obama’s First Term Was Bad, Imagine A Second.” Ponnuru disagrees with President Obama’s sentiments and believes Republicans will refuse to view his victory as a collective statement of support for his policies.
“No way would they see this set of election results as a ‘decisive’ statement of support for Obama’s views,” Punnuru said. “Republicans, especially at the grassroots level, (will) react to Obama’s re-election by assuming that Romney failed because he was too moderate.”
Much of the continued gridlock speculation stems from President Obama’s intentions to increase tax rates on the upper class and Republican opposition to that type of policy.
The Los Angeles Times recently published under the headline “What to expect if President Obama wins second term,” discussing tax increases on the wealthy and the likelihood that it will be a presidential priority.
“The clearest priority that Obama has established for a potential second term is his demand that tax rates go up on incomes over $250,000 per year. If he is re-elected, that goal would set up an early, and potentially intense, battle with congressional Republicans, who are likely to retain control of the House and perhaps win a majority in the Senate,” the report said.
According to the LA Times, President Obama’s staff has already been preparing for this outcome.
“White House aides have indicated that Obama would try for a deal resembling the ‘grand bargain’ he unsuccessfully sought last year with House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio). That would involve congressional Republicans agreeing to accept some higher taxes and Democrats accepting new restraints on the government’s big entitlement programs, primarily Medicare,” said the article. “Obama’s aides concede that the possibility of that happening would depend on how Republicans interpreted an Obama victory in November, whether it would cause them to compromise with Obama or fight even harder.”
Frank Rich, a former New York Times columnist, recently sat down with Salon.com as part of a series about “where American politics goes from here.”
“Rich sees more of the same ahead,” the website reported. “A president who remains cautious in a second term, an opposition party that thinks it needs to be even more conservative, and a race among true believers for the party’s nod in 2016.”