Posts Tagged ‘2010’
Another year, another decade.
I’ve been thinking about my memories of 1980, 1990, 2000 and wondering what will standout in 2010.
In 1980, the most vivid memory I have was witnessing the greatest sports moment in American history – when the USA Olympic hockey team beat the Soviet Union (“Do you believe in miracles?”). It was the symbolic turning point of West triumphing over the East, with the actual turning point happening 10 months later with the election of Ronald Reagan as President of the United States.
By 1990 the Berlin wall had come down and the Soviet Union was headed to the dustbin of history, as predicted by Reagan. The United States went through incredibly prosperous times even as it went through some interesting political shifts. The 1992 campaign saw Ross Perot as the spoiler for George Bush (who had famously broken his “no new taxes” pledge) and the election of the boy from Hope. 1994 was the “revolution” with the sweeping election of Republicans to the House and Senate. The decade ended with an impeachment of the President in the House, but no conviction in the Senate.
2000 was the year that divided the country in half, with the razor thin margin of victory of George W. Bush over Al Gore. And then Sept. 11, 2001 the country came back together, at least for a little while.
Bush actually did a lot to strive for bipartisanship. Not one of his major legislative initiatives was passed on a party-line vote. Bush’s two biggest legislative initiatives, No Child Left Behind and Medicare Prescription Drug Coverage, were opposed by conservatives in the House and Senate. But the war in Iraq and his push for big government initiatives had the dual affect of motivating the left against him and suppressing his base of support. The result was Republicans taking a beating at the polls in 2006 and 2008.
Looking at President Obama’s first year, bipartisan is not what comes to mind. In fact, there is a more partisan tone than I have ever witnessed myself. Is that a bad thing? Probably not. Big fights over policy are important. If everything big was just passed without strong debate we’d have a much more intrusive government. Partisanship puts a check on government, at least to some degree.
So 2010 will likely be the most partisan year in memory. There are going to be some big policy fights (health care will be the first) and this year will be fascinating to watch from an electoral standpoint. It could be a repeat of 1994. Time will tell.
One thing for certain is that time does not stand still. How will the decade of 2010-2019 be remembered? I don’t have any idea, but anticipation is half the fun.
Happy New Year and Happy New Decade!