Spencer Bachus: Sarah Palin cost GOP control of U.S. Senate

By JAN GRIFFEY/Editor

COLUMBIANA — Shelby County’s congressman, U.S. Rep. Spencer Bachus, R-Ala., said former Alaska governor and vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin likely cost the Republican Party control of the U.S. Senate.

Bachus made his remarks on Nov. 4 at the monthly luncheon meeting of the South Shelby Chamber of Commerce, held at the Columbiana United Methodist Church.

“The Senate would be Republican today except for states (in which Palin endorsed candidates) like Christine O’Donnell in Delaware,” Bachus said. “Sarah Palin cost us control of the Senate.”

He said Tea Party candidates did well in U.S. House races, but in the U.S. Senate races, “They didn’t do well at all.”

Bachus shared other thoughts on the outcome of the Nov. 2 general election.

“What happened Tuesday was interesting,” Bachus said, “but underneath, it may be something a little different than you may think.

“If you think Republicans are in charge in Washington, you can wipe that thought from your mind. Democrats are in control of the presidency and the Senate. It would take 67 votes to override any veto,” Bachus said.

He said the outcome of the national election, while heralded as a Republican victory, is one that actually belongs to the nation’s independent voters.

Bachus said the number of voters who identify themselves as Republican in the Nov. 2 election is only slightly higher than those who went to the polls two years ago — 38 percent to 36 percent. And, the number of voters identified as Democratic was the same in both elections — 36 percent.

The group making the difference in the election is independents.

“Their party ID didn’t change. The difference is in the last election, 58 percent of independents voted with Democrats. In this election, 59 percent voted with Republicans,” he said. “Two years ago, independent voters were not happy with (President George W.) Bush. They were tired of spending, tired of taxing, tired of war, and the Democrats profited from that. Two years later, independent voters don’t like where the country is heading with (President) Obama.”

Bachus said unless 60 to 70 percent of the people agree, it’s difficult to govern.

“We are getting more and more partisan. There seems to be no middle ground,” he said. “Thank goodness for independents.

“The American people don’t trust either political party. They simply choose what they think is the lesser of two evils. The Republican party must prove to people we mean it this time, that we are serious about less government.”

Bachus said Americans no longer want to be told what is good for them. Voters want to decide for themselves what is good for them.

“I hope my Republican colleagues have gotten the message this time. Voters want the local county school board to spend their money, not the federal government,” he said.

One issue that united voters in the Nov. 2 election was health care reform.

“However, we must have health care reform,” just not in the form proposed by Obama. “For instance, we must do something about health insurance coverage of pre-existing conditions,” he said. “People no longer work their entire lives at one job.”