This has been a tough year. Unemployment was 9.7% in January. Ten months, billions of dollars, and heaps of undeserved Democratic self-congratulations later, unemployment is 9.6%. Nearly 15 million Americans are greeting the holiday season without a job and with little hope on the horizon for 2011.
Not all is lost, though. Change is coming to Washington, and if there is hope to be had, that hope lies with the humbling of Democrats in Congress, and a president who continues to misconstrue the meaning of “bipartisan.”
As we celebrate Thanksgiving, here are ten political developments that bode for a better 2011, and for which we can all be thankful.
1..Nancy Pelosi Is No Longer Speaker of the House.
The best comes first. Displaying characteristic gracelessness, the outgoing speaker criticized her successor, John Boehner, for a show of emotion after the GOP’s midterm landslide. Ms. Pelosi showed her own feelings during the debate over the Ground Zero mosque, manipulating the situation to criticize Republicans. In response to the issue over who was funding the structure, she remarked: “At the same time, we should also ask who is funding the attacks against the construction of the center.” 
2..The DREAM Act Failed.
Harry Reid tried unsuccessfully to add this affront to a defense spending bill in September. Allowing states to fund benefits for illegal immigrants that are not available to the taxpayers who pay for them is, at best, bad policy. With a new House GOP majority, and Democrats under watchful eyes during their final lame duck weeks, it is time we put the DREAM Act to sleep. Reid is threatening to have another go at passing the bill before year’s end, but this is a long shot that is going to fall short.
3..Comprehensive Immigration Reform is Dead.
The DREAM Act was a gateway to a massive grant of amnesty. Democrats have promised a lot to illegal immigrant special interests, tirelessly applying the word “broken” to our immigration laws, just as they used the term to criticize our health care system. President Obama must have known all along that Americans would never buy into amnesty. He unknowingly predicted the demise of immigration reform last summer, days before the Fourth of July holiday: “But the fact is, without bipartisan support, as we had just a few years ago, we cannot solve the problem.” 
The president is correct. We can’t, and we won’t, pass amnesty legislation.
4..We Have An Opportunity to Fix the Health Care Bill.
Democrats deserve dubious credit for health care reform. They said they would pass a bill, they wrote a bill, and they made history with a gargantuan pile of legislation that no one seems to understand. Problem is, we did not want it, most of us do not know what is in it, and we were content with making repairs to what we had without opening the door to billions in spending and special interest favors. Labor unions got a foot in the door and received their Cadillac Tax deferment months before the bill was even ready for a vote. Now it is time to give the country its deferment, and replace the health care bill with something we can live with.
5..Bipartisanship Suddenly Means Something.
The meaning of “bipartisan” changed in January 2009. The new definition demanded agreement with Democratic policy, no matter how outrageous or abusive. Things have changed. We can expect “bipartisan” to be restored to its former meaning, with perhaps a bit more of a conservative slant. In the months to come, we may even see a few olive branches waving out of White House windows.
6..Chris Dodd Will Retire.
Dodd had his hands in everything from the stimulus, and the fiasco over taxpayer-funded bank bonuses, to Wall Street Reform and the scheme for an infrastructure bank. He announced his decision to retire in January 2010. Best to take the high road here, and wish him well in his retirement. Time to move on.
7..The GOP Found a Voice.
Spurred on by Tea Party insistence on a better path through smaller government, the GOP resurrected itself after two dismal years and retook the House.
Republicans made a pledge. It is time they get to work to make good on that pledge. This is an opportunity, not an entitlement. We only have two short years to regain the trust of taxpayers who have been shaken down ever since the Democrats assumed control of our government.
8..Harry Reid’s Wings Are Clipped.
Republicans failed to take the Senate, but with a GOP House majority and Republican gains in the Senate, the dynamic has changed. Mr. Reid won reelection, but he will be returning to a very different job in January.
9..Organized Labor’s Wings Can Be Clipped, Too.
Organized labor has received enormous benefits from union-friendly Democrats, including the health care bill’s Cadillac Tax deferral, TARP assistance to automaker union pension plans, a bill to pay for unionized public sector jobs, and Davis-Bacon wage guarantees inserted in the Recovery Act. The GOP has promised to cut back spending. Union entitlements should be near the top of their list.
10..Americans Got Mad, and We Got Even.
Democrats gorged at the taxpayers’ table while Americans lost their jobs and the private sector was beaten bloody. Shrugged shoulders and irrelevant schemes to stimulate small business job creation will not make up for Democrats’ fundamental inability to understand the functioning of a free market economy. The food may still be falling out of Democratic mouths, but voters spoke and the feast is over.
We truly have much to be thankful for.
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.
1..Pelosi Statement on Cordoba House. August 18, 2010.
2..Remarks by the President on Comprehensive Immigration Reform. American University School of International Service, Washington, D.C. July 1, 2010.