The Times West Virginian

October 27, 2013

Get ready for more political grandstanding

By Misty Poe
Times West Virginian

— A recent CNN poll found that 75 percent of respondents don’t believe that GOP members of Congress ought to get re-elected in 2014 and believe the unpopularity of the shutdown will be their downfall.

That’s a staggering number, and could mean the GOP would not retain control of the House or inch closer to a majority in the Senate.

But, remember, it’s just October. We have a whole year of politicking to look forward to. It’s far from over. The shutdown is over. National parks opened. Those employed by the federal government are getting their paychecks again. Congress agreed only to postpone the battle over health care reform and the budget crisis. Members will live to fight another day.

All of these issues will still be here when deadlines crop up again come January and February. And January means election season will be in full swing as the entire House and several Senate seats will be up. And that’s when the GOP will fight to keep their seats. Some say it won’t be as bad as the pundits (and the polls) say.

John Giokaris of The Washington Post is among them.

“Chances are, this is nothing but more overhype from talking heads in the media, and the GOP will in all likelihood retain their House majority next year,” Giokaris writes. “Most of this is short term emotional opinion that will be ancient history come next year. On top of that, the math simply isn’t there for Democrats to retake the House.”

But there’s the threat, of course. And when there’s a threat, there’s posturing, grandstanding and good old fashioned politicking — from both sides.

And when the budget debate comes up again this winter. It won’t be pretty. After all, incumbents will be running for their lives, and their challengers will be using the shutdown as fodder. Mark our words.

But we know what we think. We wanted to know what you thought on the issue. So we took the question to our voters, the ones who log on each week to and vote in our online poll question. Last week, we asked, “With the government shutdown over and economic crisis averted for now, how confident are you that 2014 will bring some resolution to the issue in Washington?”

And here’s what you had to say:

• Very. I think lawmakers are seeing how fragile the economy is and will work together — 1.36 percent.

• Somewhat. There’s always political posturing, but when it comes down to the wire, leaders will find some compromise — 3.4 percent.

• Not at all. Next year is an election year, so the political grandstanding will be more than any of us can bear — 95.24 percent.

So, not many of you are going to be holding your breath waiting for peace and quiet on the Hill come January. Neither are we.

This week, let’s talk about happiness. In a recent report, the United States was ranked No. 17 when it comes to happiness. What do you think makes us so unhappy?

Log on. Vote. Email me or respond online.

Misty Poe

Managing Editor