COMMENTARY: Election Also A Referendum On Obama, Democrats

KEVIN HALPERN, Courier Co-Editor

Officially, there will be one referendum on the ballot for Cannon County voters to decide on when they vote in the Nov. 2 election.

The official referendum has to do with whether they want to allow the manufacture of liquor to take place in the county.

Unofficially there will be another referendum, one having to do with whether voters like the job President Barack Obama and the Democrats who control Congress are doing with respect to running the federal government.

This "unofficial" referendum will be on the ballot nationwide, and is likely to play a role in how voters choose candidates running for state and national offices.

Voters who approve of the direction Obama and the Democrats are taking the country will want to keep Congress in their control, and also support party candidates running for state offices such as governor, state senate and state house of representatives.

Conversely, voters who feel they are taking America down the wrong path will turn to non-Democratic Party candidates, whether they be Republicans, those backed by the Tea Party, or Independents.

While there are many different issues which are of interest to voters, ranging from war to global warming, the No. 1 concern at this time is undoubtedly the economy. Many people don't have jobs. Many looking for jobs can't find one. Many who have jobs are in fear of losing them.

Business owners are worried about higher taxes and health insurance costs. People who pay attention to the political process are troubled by the tremendous debt being amassed by the federal government, and what it will mean in both the short run and to future generations.

Mid-term elections are often not very kind to members of the party of the sitting president. 2010 is shaping up as one of despair for Democrats, but that could change between now and election day.

And even if the worst-case scenario were to happen for President Obama, it should be remembered that President Clinton saw a reversal of his political fortunes after Republicans wrestled control of the House of Representatives in 1994 away from the Democrats.

Where Are The Elephants?

Thursday night, I attended a meeting of the Cannon County Democratic Party at the courthouse.

They were meeting to plan their strategy for getting their candidates elected in the Nov. 2 State and National Election.

While the spirit of those in attendance was high, the number of people there was low.

Only six people showed up for the meeting. Whether that signals an uphill battle for the party won't be known until after the election.

However, at least the local Democrats are making a public effort to push their candidates.

From what I have witnessed so far, the same can't be said for Republicans.

While Democrats are planning rallies and bean suppers, the Republicans don't appear to be planning much of anything in terms of events designed to energize their constituents.

Perhaps that's because they feel the Democrats are doing a good enough job harming their own cause, but they should note there is something to be said for not counting your chickens before they are hatched.