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.

Congresspersons take an oath of office to serve the American people and their immediate constituents, so why are they vowing allegiance to an unelected tax crusader? Such behavior should be grounds for unelection from office. Their responsibility is in negotiating legislation and a path forward that represents the greatest good to the greatest number, not to satisfy this unelected, unrepresentative individual. Again, I say, throw, (vote) the bums out! They don’t seem to get it–fine, they can find wisdom on the mean streets, but not in the halls of Congress. They need to be put out to pasture, or at least just put out.

America needs public service champions and responsible leaders, not egotistical nabobs of negativity. There is simply much too much important work to do. They have already shown their true character, so its time America thanks-but-no-thanks them out the door.

Hopefully, Obama will be returned to the office of the president. He has earned a second term. But he needs a new team to carry the ball further and deeper along the road. So, pay more attention, will you, to the congressional races, and where you can do some damage in organizing against, voting and replacing those who have held up progress, please do so. Talk is cheap. Put some action meat on those bones. Change Congress! Drive and pray the devil back to hell.


Professor David L. Horne is founder and executive director of PAPPEI, the Pan African Public Policy and Ethical Institute, which is a new 501(c)(3) pending community-based organization or non-governmental organization (NGO). It is the stepparent organization for the California Black Think Tank which still operates and which meets every fourth Friday.

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