Nov 12, 2006

[US Politics] US Mid Term Elections

Note: This is a test entry using the Google Docs & Spreadsheets if this works well, we might just create all future entries from this here rather than from Blogger beta. If you notice anything significantly different, feel free to leave a comment to let us know about it.

The recently concluded
US Congressional elections this week were a major sweep for the Democratic Party given they now control both the House and the Senate, a first in more than 12 years of US political history. While the race for the House was pretty much a sweep with many surprise seats won in some traditionally Republican states, the US Senate race was closer then could ever have been expected with the final decision coming down to the states of Montana and Virginia. While Montana's race was more of a waiting game given how long it took the results to come out, Virginia had everyone guessing up until the last minute. To clinch things, the state of Virginia has a provision that allows the losing candidate to ask for an automatic recount should the margin be less than 1%, which was the case this year. However, the Republican candidate George Allen chose not to exercise his right in a rather surprise move which in turn cemented Democratic control of the Senate in the coming year.

Many international agencies and political groups are definitely hopeful for the future of the US Government. With a truly bipartisan government, President George W. Bush may be less gung-ho to "go it alone" in the future when faced with strong international opposition to some of his more dramatic ideas and pronouncements from topics as wide-ranging as the future of Iraq to US Energy policy.

The results of the elections has also triggered a number of surprise changes and announcements as well such as
the resignation of Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld , which was announced shortly after it was clear the House was now under the control of the Democrats. This was followed by an announcement by Dennis Hastert that he would no longer lead the Republican party, which would have meant him assuming the position of House Minority Leader given the power shift. Another change just beyond the horizon is the increased likelihood that John Bolton will no longer continue as US Ambassador to the UN when the time comes to consider his term. The Democrats have always been strongly opposed to his nomination to the post and will definitely act on this particular appointment as soon as the opportunity arises.

What does the future hold for all of us with a split US Government? It's hard to predict anything at this point, really. We'll definitely see a radical change in US foreign policy when it comes to Iraq, whether this results in a speedy pull out or a more staggered exit strategy. Either way, I'm sure we're going to see an end to the US occupation of Iraq one way or another. We're also going to see a renewed focus on domestic needs and the US generally pulling back from too much involvement in international affairs, I expect. While the Legislative arm can't really dictate policy, Democratic control of the various committees will ensure the control of the budgets needed to get a lot of Bush's plans in motion.

These are most definitely interesting times ahead.

No comments:

Post a Comment