In the mid-term congressional elections in the United States, the Democrats defeated the Republicans and won back 30 seats in the House of Representatives and several in the Senate, putting an end to 12 years of humiliation as the opposition.
Ms. Nancy Pelosi, the House Democratic Leader from San Francisco will be the first woman in American history to be the Speaker of the House, the third most important figure after the President and Vice President of the United States.
It was not her skillful campaign that built Ms. Pelosi's reputation and brought her fame, but attacks from President Bush and the Republicans. During the election, many Republican candidates claimed on television that voting for the Democratic Party would put liberal Nancy Pelosi on the House Speaker's throne, which would mean the United States would compromise with terrorists and escape from Iraq". The Republican Party's mouthpiece, the Washington Post even published editorials highlighting Ms. Pelosi's liberal voting record. She has always opposed the Iraq war and the deployment of the missile defense system, and disagrees with many of the conservative bills that have been proposed by Bush and the Republican Party; she is regarded by the Republicans as enemy.
In her victory speech, Pelosi said, "Today, the American people have chosen to make a change by voting. It is the Democratic Party that will lead the country in a new direction. And that is what we intend to do." She also issued an appeal to Bush, "President Bush, we need a new direction in Iraq. Let's work together to find a solution."
It remains to be seen whether US policy will change direction now that the Democrats have control of the House of Representatives and Pelosi is Speaker. President Bush will be in office for another two years. According to the Constitution of the United States, the President has the final decision in foreign policy issues. Moreover, the President is also the Commander-in-Chief of the US Army. Bush has said repeatedly that he will not order a withdrawal from Iraq until the country is stabilized under a democratic government.
Although the Democrats have expressed dissatisfaction with Bush's Iraq strategy, they don't have a better alternative. Members of the Democratic Party have been debating whether the US should withdraw from Iraq and when, but are unable to reach a consensus. Senior Democrat representative John Murtha demands an immediate withdrawal; former presidential candidate John Kerry advocates formulating a timetable for withdrawal; Hillary Clinton, an anticipated presidential candidate at the next election, does not believe troops should be withdrawn at all. The Democratic Party has however agreed to put greater pressure on the new Iraqi government, to give the country their independence as soon as possible and have them assume responsibility for their own security, so that the US can recall their troops in stages either to the Kurdish area, Kuwait or other neighboring countries, to offer help if needed.
On Iran and the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue, the difference between the Democratic Party and the Republic Party lies only in the fact that the former advocates direct negotiation to find a solution, a suggestion which has been flatly rejected by the Bush administration.
The results of the mid-term election will strike at Bush and the Republican Party. Pelosi has said that she will not propose the impeachment of the President, but will advocate investigations into how the Bush Administration distorted intelligence to launch the Iraq war. Bush faces a hard road ahead.
The new Democrat-dominated parliament will restrict the powers of the President. It will be more difficult for Bush to use military force to resolve the nuclear issue in Iran and North Korea. With the Senate also controlled by the Democratic Party, President Bush will be almost entirely impotent, a "lame duck" for the next two years. Under pressure from the Democratic Party, the issue of withdrawing from Iraq may be put onto the agenda much earlier, but will still be difficult to follow through while Bush is in the White House. US foreign policy may be adjusted somewhat, but fundamental changes are unlikely to be made.
By People's Daily Online