There are good reasons to be hopeful about the 2014 midterm election. The second presidential midterm election has historically been murder. With the exceptions of Clinton in 1998 and Reagan in 1986, the president in his second midterm has lost massively in the House of Representative: FDR (-71 seats), Ike (-49 seats), Nixon (-49 seats), Bush II (-31 seats.)
Except for Clinton in 1998, each of those midterms produced losses for the president’s party in the Senate (Reagan, in fact, lost the Senate in 1986). Senate elections are affected by the particular class of senators elected six years before as well as the sentiments of voters in the particular midterm at hand. That is why Republican Senate losses in 1986 were so bad: Republicans defending their seats in 1986 had last faced voters in the 1980 Reagan landslide.
In 2014, the Senate class strongly favors Republicans both by the number of seats each is defending (21 Democrats to 14 Republicans) and the particular states involved, which are predominately conservative and Republican. Sensing this, many Senate Democrats from conservative states are retiring. The chances of Republicans taking the Senate are very good.
Winning in House races and state government elections will depend upon turnout. Those eager airheads who have now turned out for Obama in two presidential elections will find few reasons to go to the polls in November 2014, when Obama is a lame duck and is not on the ballot.
Voter fatigue, more important than any notional polls of presidential approval or voter intentions, may well hand Republicans the sort of major victory that has been the norm in a president’s second midterm. The growing sense of unease, even among the otherwise docile establishment media, may combine into a major Republican victory in 2014, giving perhaps fifty-five or more Senate seats and perhaps 260 seats in the House (a gain of 24 seats). If this happens, what should Republicans do?
First, Senate Republicans should very directly state that only strict constructionist jurists will be confirmed onto the federal bench. In fact, Senate Republicans should make it clear that no radical leftists will be confirmed for any appointed to federal courts or independent regulatory agencies. Democrats have done this for decades — just ask Robert Bork — and Republicans must do it, too.
Second, Senate Republicans ought to do what Harry Reid threatened to do: adopt a rule which ends filibusters and always moves for cloture with fifty-one senate votes. This would allow Republicans in Congress to actually pass bills which would be placed on Obama’s desk to sign or to veto. Ideally, these bills should have unanimous Republican support and, perhaps, that of a few conservative Democrats as well.
Obama will never sign ever moderate conservative reforms, so the nation would see the president vetoing one bill after another, accomplishing nothing but obstruction. Republicans ought to research these bills as they did with the Contract With America: find out what bills appeal to Americans, and then pass those out of Congress.
Third, Republicans must conduct aggressive investigations of the myriad abuses of power by Obama and his lackeys. The best way to do this is would be to create a Joint Congressional Special Committee composed of members of both houses of Congress and, of course, both political parties. Those called to testify before this committee would think twice before lying or acting flippantly. In fact, if only a few Democrats on this Joint Committee called the Obama administration to the carpet, then the political stakes could rise dramatically for Obama almost overnight.
Unless the president and his flacks behaved much more respectfully and much more seriously than they have so far — and that, of course, would involved miles of backtracking — a Contempt of Congress citation adopted by both houses with some bipartisan support would be a real possibility.
The goal should be to deny Obama: to deny him any real power to influence the judiciary and regulatory agencies, to deny him any legislative victories by compelling Obama to veto reasonable legislation supported by the American people, and to deny Obama the unmerited support of many Americans by showing him before joint congressional committees to be a mendacious and venal politician. There is no need to try to do too much, but doing these three things is critical to turning our nation around.