While conservatives prevailed in the elections on Tuesday, liberals on San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors voted 8-3 to approve an ordinance that would limit toy giveaways in fast-food children’s meals that have excessive calories, sodium, and fat. The ordinance also demands that fast-food children’s meals include servings of fruits or vegetables. To boot, the ordinance includes an amendment that would restrict restaurants’ free speech or advertising.
On Election night, NBC’s David Gregory joked that the “elephant in the room” was ironically the Tea Party, and not the Republican Party. Exit polls showed that 4 out of 10 voters were Tea Party supporters, and of those Tea Party supporters, 8 out of 10 voters supported the Republican candidates. Given the powerful influence that the Tea Party movement has had in political and on the Republican Party as a whole, it seems reasonable to witness the creation of a Tea Party coalition on Capitol Hill.
In 1940, the statutory national debt limit was authorized at $43 billion. Today, the debt ceiling stands at $14.3 trillion dollars — 291 times larger than the original limit. Since President Barack Obama took office, the debt limit has been raised three times, though that is not unusual for a sitting president. However, the most recent limit increase was staunchly opposed by the GOP and did not secure one Republican vote. Whether the Republicans did that to assure their own victories on November 2 or they truly believe in reducing the debt remains to be seen, but it certainly prompts the question: What would happen if the GOP banded together next year and blocked the Treasury from issuing more debt?
So, the Republicans regained control of the U.S. House of Representatives with a margin of victory that made it the largest shift in power since the Democrats won a 91-seat House majority in 1948. Republicans are understandably ecstatic, but because they didn’t win control of the Senate, and since we are stuck with a Democratic president for two more years, they seem a little too confident for a party that controls only one-third of the government.
"The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite." James Madison, Federalist No. 45, January 26, 1788.