I’m not a political prognosticator, nor do I play one on TV, but I would be awfully surprised if the Republicans didn’t win back the House today, and possibly the Senate.
You could see a tidal wave coming from a mile away. I’ve lived through many presidential and mid-term elections, and I don’t recall seeing this level of anguish, frustration, and outright anger from the American people. We’re in unchartered territory.
My guess is the House will be solidly Republican, and the Senate probably near a dead heat.
So what does this mean for President Obama and his agenda?
Well, if he follows President Clinton’s lead after the 1994 midterms, when the Republicans took over both houses of Congress after 40 years of Democratic rule, he may tack back to the center. Clinton wisely focused on “Republican” issues like welfare reform and budget cuts on his way to re-election; Obama would be wise to do the same. It may require adopting a more flexible style when it comes to reaching across party lines.
There’s been speculation that he might revisit the healthcare reform bill – make it less onerous on businesses – which would be a good place to start.
As someone who has worked in the healthcare space most of my life, the Health care Reform Bill is something of a missed opportunity.
To be sure, there are aspects of it that make sense – eliminating pre-existing conditions and making coverage more portable come to mind – but there are just as many that don’t.
Hopefully, Republicans and Democrats will revisit the bill and figure out a way to serious medical malpractice reform – something health care reform doesn’t address. It’s the fastest, surest way, to drive down costs and make coverage more affordable. The new Republican Congress should be put on notice: the American public is going to expect revisions to the President’s healthcare bill.
"The new Republican Congress should be put on notice: the American public is going to expect revisions to the President’s healthcare bill."
Same with the economy.
It’s one thing to complain that the stimulus plan hasn’t done much by way of private sector job creation – true enough. If there’s any one single factor that will lead to a Republican sweep it’s the lack of jobs out there. But Republicans will have to step up on that front, too. Americans want to see job growth in the private sector. It wouldn’t shock me if the Republicans put forward a jobs plan that included a cut in corporate taxes and other incentives to get the private sector hiring again.
There will be a lot of post-mortem analysis in the days following the election.
Hopefully, that analysis will include policy prescriptions to jump start our economy and make America more competitive in the world again.
Programming Note: Mr. Miller will be a guest on CNBC Tuesday night at 7:45pm/ET and 10:10pm/ET for our special election coverage: Decision 2010 Your Money-Your Vote
Alan B. Miller is the Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board of Universal Health Services, Inc.