Mike Magan is a former White House aide to George W. Bush and consultant with Media Intelligence Partners and Halas Strategies.
Yesterday's election results in the United States are a clear sign that Americans no longer are willing to support Obama's big government, higher taxes, and liberal agenda. Just two years ago, there were no Republican gains in the Congress and Obama was elected as President with a super majority in the Senate and massive support in the House of Representatives.
During his election campaign he talked about a "change we could believe in" not just in economic terms, but, for a better and less partisan America. He promised that politicians would work together, and no longer put party politics above what is best for the country. Once in office, he quickly strayed from his centrist campaign messages and coalesced with the left wing of the Democrat party to pass controversial spending bills, the bail-out of the auto industry, and a highly unpopular health care reform bill.
Americans quickly responded. The Tea Party movement formed across the U.S. in an ad-hoc manner consisting of normal every-day Americans who wanted their voice to be heard. As Peggy Noonan stated recently: "the Tea Party is not a threat to the Republican Party, the tea party saved the Republican Party. They sent a message to long standing Republicans that they too would be vulnerable if they didn't promote less government, less taxes, and pro-growth economic policies. Earlier this year, Democrats were sent clear messages when Republicans were elected in Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Virginia. Instead of listening, they forged ahead, thinking they could continue to blame Bush and radicalise the tea party movement.
Yesterday evening was a landslide victory for Republicans in the House, Senate, and Gubernatorial races, not just because of the Tea Party movement, but because "middle America" – consisting of the independents, soccer moms and newly registered voters who voted for Obama two years ago – ran away from him and voted in masses for the Republicans.
Democrats and the liberal media will work hard to portray the mid-term elections as a radical shift to the right in America, and claim that Republicans will now be controlled by the tea party movement. That will be a mistake, and only show that Democrats continue to believe they are more enlightened than every day Americans.
When the new Congress is sworn in, the Republican leadership in the House of Representatives must quickly demonstrate their ability to stop the excesses of the last two years, manage the budget process, extend the Bush tax cuts, and work to get the U.S. economy back on track. Senators will have to think hard on how they support the House appropriations process, and engage in the legislative process or risk being responsible for gridlock.
The President must work to repair his relationship with Republicans especially after the inflammatory remarks he made in the closing days of the campaign. Yesterday evening when the White House was in “lock-down” Obama called Congressman Boehner, the future Speaker of the House and third in line after the Vice President to congratulate him on the party’s victory.
Make no mistake: yesterday's election was a referendum on Obama and his Democrat leadership in both houses of Congress. Americans still believe in change, they demonstrated that last night in through the ballot.