The mid-term elections on November 2nd saw the biggest swing to the Republicans for 72 years…With a few results still to come, they have picked up over 60 seats in the House of Representatives, for a solid majority of at least 50. In the Senate they gained at least six seats, though they will fall short of control there.
For Mr Obama, the lesson is simple enough: sharpen up, and prepare for a tough two years. Yes, this was hardly an enthusiastic vote for his opponents, more a howl of rage against incumbents from citizens struggling after the worst slowdown since the 1930s. And he has a string of legislative achievements to his name. But plenty of centrists plainly fear that he has drifted too far to the left, that he dislikes business and that he does not understand middle America. He looks a far less competent figure than he did two years ago. With a hostile House and a gridlocked Senate, the chances of passing any big new laws are remote; and Republican victories in crucial swing states such as Florida, Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania will make the president’s re-election battle in 2012 a lot harder. If Mr Obama is to win again, he needs to move back to the pragmatic centre of what is still a pretty conservative country.
But so do the Republicans….