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Obama takes a hard right from US voters

With shirt sleeves rolled up, tie hanging loose around his neck a very relaxed looking President Barack Obama called Republican leader John Boehner late Tuesday night to tell him he is looking forward to working with him.

world Updated: Nov 04, 2010 01:41 IST
Yashwant Raj

With shirt sleeves rolled up, tie hanging loose around his neck a very relaxed looking President Barack Obama called Republican leader John Boehner late Tuesday night to tell him he is looking forward to working with him.

Boehner made the same commitment speaking earlier. But expectations of bipartisanship are being called unrealistic. The resurgent Republicans have indicated the cooperation, if any - will happen on their terms.

Republicans pushed Democrats decisively from power in the House of Representatives and strengthened their ranks in the Senate, which could herald legislative gridlock when the new Congress takes power in January.

Republicans also captured Democratic governorships in at least 11 states Tuesday, including some prime presidential battlegrounds, and hoped for even more statehouse gains.

But there is going to be little or no impact on the US’s ties with India, which has had bipartisan support with the historic high point, the nuclear deal, coming on Republic president George W Bush’s watch.

As some straws in the wind: the Republicans favour outsourcing, which the Democrats have had issues with. Obama always used his opposition to outsourcing as a rallying cry in his campaign speeches.

The Republicans took charge of the House of Representatives (roughly India’s Lok Sabha) to end the night with 239, improving their tally by 60. The senate (Rajya Sabha, but directly elected) stayed with the Democrats.

This has been the worst electoral defeat for a Democratic president ever, beating the previous record of 52 seats loss suffered by the party in 1994 during Bill Clinton's first term. The crushing defeat is being attributed to continuing sluggishness in the economy with unemployment figures reaching 10%, mounting budget deficit, tax reforms.

But nothing to put a finger on as as the main culprit.

“I'm not sure that a Republican-led Congress will be more willing to make adjustments in the H1B visa fees (a big issue with India),” said South Asia expert Teresita Schaffer, adding, “if that happens it will have to be part of a larger package.” And the administration will be part of that process.

Graphics: A breakup of the House of Representatives | Republicans to watch out for