Dont sleep on the congressional races

Ph.D. | 9/26/2012, 5 p.m.

In the tightly wrapped, turgidly plotted thrill ride that is the 2012 presidential race, with both contestants trying to leave no stone unturned, or the smallest chore undone, in attempts to gain the ultimate advantage that will garner the required 270 electoral votes on the evening of Nov. 6, not enough attention has been paid to the other half of this story--the congressional races.

The presidential race is about title and authority, and the congressional races are about governing. No matter who is victorious as president, the makeup of Congress will be crucial in terms of actually accomplishing things legislatively that will help the USA pragmatically, and move it forward.

Though President Obama believes that the Repubs will show their compassionate human side if he is re-elected, there is absolutely no evidence that they will. In fact, the political weather forecast is for more stormy impasse and bluster--déjà vu all over again.

This is what was said by Minority leader Nancy Pelosi a few days ago. These leopards have no intention of changing their spots, she said. They'll just become a bigger headache, if that's possible, than they were before.

What to do? Vote the bums out, as others have said and done previously. Currently, there are 33 scheduled U.S. Senate elections, with 21 Democratic senators up for re-election, and 10 incumbent Republicans. Many political commentators have recently said, repeatedly, that the Republicans' magic number for a Senate majority is four. But that is narrow-minded and myopic.

They need only four if they can keep the 47 they already have, but that is not guaranteed. The contests in the 10 Republican re-election campaigns have been brutal so far, including that of Todd Akin in Wisconsin, after his "legitimate rape" comment, accompanied by the one about women being able to keep themselves from getting pregnant during a rape.

Incumbent Sen. Scott Brown of Massachusetts is in a real donnybrook with Elizabeth Warren, the preeminent consumer advocate and Harvard University professor. Even though Sen. Brown has been heavily funded by Wall Street firms and banks--members of whom really detest Warren--his opponent has substantially raised more funds than he has. She can very well win that seat, changing the seat dynamics of the Senate Republicans (and increasing their magic number).

Concerning the House of Representatives, it would take a minor miracle for the Democrats to win 20 more seats than they presently hold, but since all 435 House congressional seats are in play on that day, it is still very possible. Getting the Republicans out of the majority in the House of Representatives would really be an achievement worth celebrating, and, with President Obama re-elected, it would offer a tangible opportunity for the country to really continue to move forward and not backwards.

For those merely complaining and whining about some minor interest not satisfied by the current administration, here's my advice: get out and work to replace those congresspersons who are not carrying their public servant weight. Anyone who signed the Grover Norquist pledge should be shown the door. Norquist is not nor ever has been an elected representative.