Prepping for Midterms (Congressional Midterms That Is)

Posted by Ruth O’Brien


Now that President Obama is recovering from politics as usual, with his second-term scandals beginning to clear up, he is carving out a clear course for the midterms — though ideally he would have started a bit earlier, perhaps before Tuesday’s primaries in such bellwether states as Iowa, New Mexico, New Jersey, and California (along with four others).

How is he doing it?  By hiring, of course. Obama is hiring two critical fresh faces —Sylvia Mathews Burwell at HHS, and the soon-to-be-announced new head of the all-American VA (perhaps this man).

All this comes just in time as we head into what promises to be one of the nastiest, most personal-identity mud-slinging midterms in American history. Or, to qualify that, at least since the GOP tried to displace longstanding Western insurgent senator George W. Norris of Nebraska in the 1930 GOP primary with a different George Norris, this one a grocer from Broken Bow.

How do I know about this? When I read my dissertation (which became my first book,Workers’ Paradox) aloud to my black-sheep great aunt, who had lived through the Progressive era and the New Deal, she got all upset when I mentioned this election, and having participated at Chautauqua in the Depression era, her concern was not surprising.  (On the other hand, if today you went out and found a small-town supermarket manager named Mitch McConnell, he would probably do a better job of running the Senate than the man who currently does that job.)

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About Ruth O'Brien

Professor Ruth O'Brien, The Graduate Center, The City University of New York (CUNY) & Honorary Unaffiliated Academic Book Series Editor for The Public Square, Princeton University Press & Heretical Thought, Oxford University Press, USA Last book: Out of Many, One: Obama & the Third American Political Tradition (U of Chicago 2013). Nickname: Professorette by Rush Limbaugh (see

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