Tales from the Trail

Washington Extra – Time for a change, Take two

November 3, 2010

For the second time in two years, the American people have delivered a message of change, a message that they think Washington is broken. In 2008, Barack Obama took that message into the White House but has, at least according to these polls, failed to deliver change that most Americans readily believe in.

Now, the conservative Tea Party movement is riding what Kentucky’s new Senator-elect Rand Paul called a “tidal wave” right into the halls of power to “get our government back.”

USA-ELECTIONS/The change the Tea Party is proposing is, of course, very different from the agenda that Obama pursued. The question is whether the new kids on the block will be any more successful in handling the power they have now been granted.

Paul said the message he would take to Washington from day one was a message of “fiscal sanity, constitutionally limited government and balanced budgets.” That will be music to many voters’ ears, especially to people who felt that Obama had dangerously expanded the role of the government and presided over an alarming rise in spending and borrowing without curing the nation’s economic ills.

But the other message many Americans would like politicians to hear is for an end to the partisan bickering that has disfigured political debate and divided the country — that political, as well as fiscal, sanity would be restored. There was not much sign on Tuesday night that they would get it.

John Boehner, the likely Republican Speaker of the House of Representatives, said it now was up to Obama to “change course.” Obama later called Boehner to say he was looking forward to finding “common ground,” but not everyone is convinced it is there to be found.

“The big problem we have in Washington right now is the Democrats are so tied into union bosses and some special interests, they cannot move back to the center,” Jim DeMint, a South Carolina Republican senator and Tea Party champion, told CNN.”They can’t work with us. I mean, we can’t work together on ideas of how to cut the budget, how to cut spending.”

Here are our top stories from Washington tonight…

Republicans sweep Democrats out of House

Disenchanted U.S. voters swept Democrats from power in the House of Representatives and strengthened the ranks of Senate Republicans in an election rout that dealt a sharp rebuke to President Barack Obama. Two years after Obama won the White House, voter anxiety about the economy and discontent with his leadership fueled big Republican gains that toppled Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi from power and ushered in a new era of divided government.

For more of this story by John Whitesides, read here.

For comprehensive coverage of the midterm election results, click here.

For a Q+A on the economic implications, click here.

For a Q+A on the prospects of Congress reducing the budget deficit, click here.

For a Q+A on the prospects of repealing Obama’s healthcare overhaul, read here.

For a Q+A on the implications for tax policy, click here.

For a Q+A on what it means for Wall Street and financial reform, read here.

Tea Party calls for “fiscal sanity’ in Washington

Tea Party-backed Republicans who won at U.S. congressional elections on Tuesday vowed to bring their uncompromising politics to the debate over government spending and deficits. The emerging Tea Party bloc could prove to be a headache to both Democrats and Republicans in the U.S. Congress next year and complicate any attempts by the two parties to reach across the aisle for compromise.

For more of Steve Holland’s story, click here.

What we are blogging

Christine O’Donnell’s parting words: “Let’s party!”

It was probably one of the most upbeat political concession speeches. Tea Party favorite and Republican Christine O’Donnell, who lost the Delaware Senate race, began her concession speech by declaring victory and ended it with a very uplifting “Let’s Party!”

For Tabassum Zakaria’s full post, click here.

For our live blog of election night, click here.

From elsewhere…

Starbucks defeats NY woman’s tea burn lawsuit

A Manhattan woman has failed to persuade an appeals court that Starbucks should be held liable for severe burns she suffered after spilling tea served in a double cup. The appeals court upheld a lower court’s dismissal of a $3 million lawsuit against the world’s largest coffee chain.

For more of this story, read here.

Photo credit: Reuters/John Sommers II (Rand Paul at his election night rally in Kentucky)

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