I admit it. I’m still digesting and decompressing from the events of the past week. Some results were expected, such as the Democratic take-over of the House of Representatives. Some were not, such as the additional Democratic take-over of the Senate. Locally, I am not surprised that the Republican candidates in our area, (Kuhl, Giglio, Burling, and Young – who had no Democratic opponent), were re-elected to their respective positions.
There is a strong Republican political tradition in this area, no matter the circumstances or condition of the federal and/or state government, no matter that their own party’s actions over the past five years have led to the abandonment of some key republican core values (smaller government, states’ rights, privacy rights, fiscal conservancy). I do wonder, though, if voters here still flip that republican lever because of deep-rooted, traditional ties to political affiliation, or is it because of the lack of availability to informative media. Perhaps it is even the lack of time, motivation, and/or interest in political events that plays a part in casting their votes. Or, perhaps they are knowledgeable and are in complete agreement with their representatives’ views.
Regardless, the political wave that hit many parts of the country didn’t make much of a dent in this area. That point interests me, especially since our area is not a wealthy, economically booming area. We are rural, poor, and depressed. We need sustainable jobs. Many of the federal laws passed in the past five years did not benefit most of us to any great extent; in fact, some of these decisions had a direct, negative effect.
So, I’m curious to see how the next two years play out, and what it may or may not mean to this area’s voters. We will now have a Democratically controlled Congress and a Republican president who doesn’t have Congress at his beck and call anymore. Will this area’s traditional Republicans be angered if or when Congress passes legislation that will make the government negotiate drug prices for Medicare, when the minimum wage increase passes, when congressional oversight hearings take place and “accountability” is a word that will mean something again, when habeas corpus is restored, and when stronger ethics legislation is passed? Will they be pleased with President Bush when he vetoes or attaches another signing statement on new legislation that he does not agree with, or will they even notice or care?
New York State also has a new governor who ran on a platform of change. If those promised changes prove to be effective and greatly beneficial for this state and its citizens, will this area’s voters recognize and accept these changes – or will none of these issues be reflected in their votes two years from now. Will all democrats still be those “bad, extreme liberals”, or will some here be informed and honest enough to give credit where credit is due?
We shall see. At any rate, the next election cycle will be more than interesting. And, fate be willing, we’ll still be here to help keep you informed every step of the way.