By: Ronald Kessler
Unlike most politicians, President Obama is an ideologue who sees his presidency as a way to extend government control over Americans’ lives, Ed Gillespie, former counselor to President George W. Bush, tells Newsmax.
“I believe that he and the people around him see this as an opportunity to seize control of one sixth of the economy, that if they can do that, they can seize control of our healthcare, then our energy sector won’t be far behind in addition to the banks and the auto companies,” says Gillespie, a former chairman of the Republican National Committee.
“They’re looking for ways to maybe take control of the Internet,” he says. “They’re looking for every avenue they can to extend and exert federal government control of our lives and our economy.”
Obama’s insistence on passing a healthcare bill that 75 per cent of Americans oppose is part of that equation, based strictly on ideology, Gillespie says.
“Frankly, someone who’s been in politics as long as I am, you’re really kind of scratching your head trying to figure out what the political calculus is for the Democrats on this,” Gillespie says. “And it’s occurred to me there isn’t a political calculus. This is ideology, and this is about trying to seize the moment with the Democrats in control of the House and the Senate and a very staunchly ideologically liberal president in the White House to try to actually get something done that the American people just don’t want.”
As a result of Obama’s left-leaning policies, Republicans will make inroads on all levels of government in the next election, predicts Gillespie, who is chairman of the Republican State Leadership Committee, which helps elect state attorneys general, lieutenant governors, secretaries of state, and house and senate candidates across the country. Last year, he chaired Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell’s campaign.
“I think there is a very, very big wave building out there right now,” Gillespie says. “My only concern is there’s still enough time between now and November for it to crest early. I don’t think that’s the case. I think it’s going to continue to just build and crest in November. And we can, with proper targeting. There’ll be about 6,000 state legislative races in 2010 in the state house and state senates across the country.”
Changing the balance in state legislatures will affect redistricting, Gillespie says. There are “about 15 chambers that will really make an impact in congressional redistricting. This is the last election for state offices before the apportionment, and then the drawing of new congressional district lines in these states all across the country. A number of states are going to gain House seats, and a number of states are going to lose House seats, and they’ll have a big impact, how those congressional district lines are drawn in those states.”
At least 57 Democrats in state legislative races can be beaten, says Gillespie, who heads Ed Gillespie Strategies, a communications strategy firm based in Alexandria, Va. That outcome will have a “dramatic impact on the control of who draws the new congressional district lines. And that could end up with 20 to 25 U.S. House seats being created that are Republican for a decade,” Gillespie says.
On the national level, “I believe right now under the current circumstances that Republicans will regain control of the U.S. House of Representatives,” Gillespie says. “If Democrats move forward and they jam through a healthcare reform bill that most Americans just don’t want but they jam it down their throats through reconciliation, a nuclear option in the Senate, I think the backlash will be huge, and in fact I think it will be so significant that not only would we win the House in November, we could win the Senate.”
In the case of healthcare, “President Obama is disregarding public opinion and public sentiment and the desires of the electorate when it comes to something that is not a national security interest but is a personal interest, in most cases a personal matter, our healthcare decisions, as well as increasing the deficit and the debt to do it, and adding costs to our own healthcare costs,” Gillespie observes.
Asked what Democratic friends and strategists tell him, Gillespie says. “I have friends on both sides of the aisle and [I have] spent some time in green rooms and other places waiting to go on TV shows with Democratic strategists, and there are some who believe that this is the right thing to do and that they should go forward, that they’ll be more punished by the voters for failing to get healthcare reform done than for enacting an unpopular healthcare plan.”
But, Gillespie says, “Most of them don’t agree with that. Most of them think that this is a disaster that has been poorly handled, and that President Obama’s insistence on ramming this through, along with Speaker [Nancy] Pelosi and Harry Reid, is going to cost them dearly in November. And they’re scratching their heads wondering why don’t they care? And I’m scratching my head wondering the same thing, other than that’s where I come to the conclusion, well, this is about ideology.”