The widely anticipated retaking of Congress by Republicans has given me hope that finally there will be some clarity on the American political landscape. Divisions among Democrats and Republicans, and among Republicans and Republicans, have left us all in a fog.
We have seen President Obama's popularity diminish precipitously, but there's no consensus as to why. He's roundly criticized by voices from both left and right.
Conservatives call for repeal of his two signal accomplishments, Health Care and Financial Reform, before most Americans have comprehended their provisions or felt their effects.
Liberals feel betrayed by his not ending the wars or unemployment, by his inaction on such issues as immigration reform and gay rights, and now by his Attorney General's stated opposition to California's marijuana initiative.
Come January, there may be upwards of a hundred freshmen representatives, passionately committed to shrinking government expenditures and eliminating the deficit without raising anybody's taxes. A teachable moment awaits us all when they finally have to pass a budget.
In 1994, the Republicans took control of both the House and the Senate thereby ceding the middle ground to President Bill Clinton. His administration, and the American economy, thrived, while the GOP redefined itself for the next fourteen years by its social agenda rather than by its governing principles.
It's my hope that President Obama will similarly seize the middle, standing up against far right excesses while holding the far left at bay. Perhaps then we'll see a grudging truce in our pitched battle of partisans, and the fog will lift.
The Boston Tea Party, a hand-colored lithograph from the shop of Currier and Ives, 1847(?) This depiction is inaccurate as the raid happened in the evening. The Mohawk disguises were probably less elaborate and only worn by a few. The popular understandings of why the Tea Party occurred, Sam Adams' exact role in leading it, and the way it was received by incipient revolutionary leaders, are all subjects of historical revisionism. We also don't know who drew this picture, but click on it for a closer look.