Taking tips from U.S. politics
The U.S. Republican Party had a landslide victory in the Nov. 4 midterm elections, winning 246 of 435 House seats. The GOP now holds the biggest majority since World War II.
But the Dec. 6 re-election of House Speaker John Boehner for a third term was what The Washington Post called, “the largest rebellion by a party against its incumbent speaker since the Civil War.” Although Boehner won, 25 members of the Republican Party voted against him.
Once an election is over, the losing side always gets into a fight. In the 2006 local election, the Uri Party suffered a crushing defeat, winning just one of 16 metropolitan government leadership positions. The party split. So it is strange to see the winning side have internal discord in Washington.
This is largely due to overwhelming opposition of President Barack Obama among hardliners in the Republican Party. As Obama pushed for immigration reform, which the Republican Party has been resisting since the midterm elections, U.S. Rep. Steve King said the situation warned of anarchy and violence. It was as if he was encouraging aggressive, antigovernment protests.
In December 2014, the budget plan for 2015 was barely passed after opposition from Senator Ted Cruz and other hardliners in the Senate and the House of Representatives, who are against immigration reform. At the time, Boehner compromised with the White House instead of risking a government shutdown, which was one of the reasons Republicans rebelled in his re-election.
After Obama declared the restoration of full relations with Cuba, Republicans openly warned that confirmation for a U.S. ambassador to Cuba would not be easy. This is understandable, as Cuba had threatened the United States with Soviet nuclear missiles and is still under a dictatorship. However, it goes against generally favorable international sentiment. Even Pope Francis welcomed the news.
A party needs to not only oppose but also provide alternative options in order to seize power. The Republican Party may think Obama is going his way, but in order for the GOP to take power, it needs more than to oppose in order to win votes. As a result, in various opinion polls, potential Republican candidates are dwarfed by the popularity of the Democratic Party’s former secretary of state, Hilary Clinton.
Obama, who was blamed for the Democrats’ midterm elections defeat, broke expectations of being an early lame duck. He creates issues and breaks through them instead of simply going against the Republican Party. This common sense in politics is valid not just in the United States.
*The author is the Washington correspondent for the JoongAng Ilbo. JoongAng Ilbo, Jan. 10, Page 30
by CHAE BYUNG-GUN