The results of the last midterm congressional election, in 2010, were termed a “shellacking” by President Barack Obama. Some pundits said it was “not as bad as it could have been”, and also pointed to the 1994 midterm election when another first-term Democratic president lost control of Congress. That was little comfort for those of us who wanted to see President Obama’s agenda (our agenda) advanced.
The Democratic Party lost 63 seats in the House of Representatives, the biggest midterm loss since 1938 and the largest seat exchange since 1948. John “Big Gavel” Boehner became Speaker of the House and progress towards implementing the president’s agenda came to a screeching halt. The 112th Congress passed less legislation than the Do Nothing Congress that Harry Truman ran against in 1948. (The current Congress, the 113th is on pace to do even less).
The Congress that the 112th replaced, the 111th Congress was one of the most productive in recent history. Fifty years after President Harry S Truman first talked about universal health care, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and the Democratic majorities gave us the Affordable Care Act of 2010. That legislation affects the lives of every American by putting in place a structure to allow purchasing health insurance that is not just affordable but which provides minimum standards for coverage and does not punish policy holders for getting sick.
The “problem” with passing the Affordable Care Act was that in 2010 it put a big target on the backs of many Democrats who had been elected in the wave election of 2006. That year, another midterm election year, Democrats and other sentient beings were motivated to vote in order to create a firewall against the abuses of the Bush Administration. Democrats picked up 31 seats … and the majority … making Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) the first woman Speaker of the House of Representatives.