Now that the House has gone on it's well earned and deserved holiday vacation (was I supposed to say Christmas break to avoid being accused of a war on Christmas?), and with the Senate poised to finish up doing more in one week than they did in the preceding 51 weeks, (thanks to a fixed filibuster rule), it's a good time to look at where we stand politically as we approach 2014.
It's actually quite a big, important year. It'll be the half-way mark of Obama's second term, it'll mean the full Affordable Care Act will finally be in effect and probably most telling will be the midterm elections where the balance of political power, the control of both houses, will be up for grabs. America will get to speak on how they feel the current 113th Congress is doing. (Hint: recent polls show about a 9% approval rate).There was the government shutdown, Obamacare's rocky rollout and of course, the huge progress both houses made in immigration, voting rights, and the farm bill.
We'll finally see if this shapes up to be a classic battle of the rich vs. the poor. The elitist GOP faces off against the Democratic party of the people. Will it be be banks vs. consumers? Special interest groups vs. John/Jane Doe? How about right-wing bigotry vs civil rights? Undoubtedly this will shape up to be a donnybrook of conservative vs. liberal thinking. Basically the three main parties, the Democrats, the Republicans and the Tea Party will be butting heads both in primaries and in general elections. Some of the outcomes are very predictable thanks to gerrymandering. Other contests are going to be electrifying in their focus on the values the candidates and their affiliations think are most important to the electorate. Basically, how far right is right?
The big catchphrase on the GOP side is "conservative values." Everyone on the right and even in the more moderate middle are shoring up their bona fides in that "conservative" arena. Will we see a rise in the number of Reagan Democrats or a crashing down of the fragile right-wing bone china of the Tea Party extremists?
Just so we have a solid understanding of who and what makes for a real conservative, Jon Stewart has put together a short segment that explains it all. If being to the right of sanity is who your looking for, grab a pencil or pen and a pad. Jon Stewart is kicking ass and taking names.
Watch and see who makes the grade and who fails. 2014 is gonna be a great year for politics watching. Even Nate Silver reportedly is getting his eyes checked because they're already starting to go crossed.