CANTON, Ohio – For Richard Bezek, the moment was historic – and troubling. He will vote for John McCain for president, he said, but he had come to see Barack Obama eight days before the election because, “I think I am looking at the next president of the United States.”
“It’s hard to refute the momentum,” said Bezek, 67, a retired electrical engineer.
But Bezek said the potential consequences of an Obama victory and a bigger Democratic majority in Congress worried him.
“We would have no checks and balances, particularly if (Democrats) got a 60 majority (in the Senate),” Bezek said. “That’s not going to be good for the country as a whole.”
Bezek echoed one of McCain’s closing arguments. As Obama has moved to a slight lead in polls in pivotal Ohio and maintains a lead nationally, Republicans have intensified the “checks and balances” claim, contending Democrats would run wild and bring more taxation and bigger government.
Democrats have been there before in recent times but failed to make any legislative headway.
In 1992, Democrat Bill Clinton won the presidency and took office with a Democratic majority in Congress.
But Clinton’s legislative push backfired as he overreached on health care reform. Two years later, Democrats were routed and Republicans took control of the House of Representatives for the first time in half a century. Clinton spent the next six years cutting deals with the GOP on issues such as trade and welfare reform.
Some experts see a confrontation ahead if Democrats sweep both chambers of Congress and the presidency. They say congressional Democrats will have pent-up wants for new spending. But Obama also has promised tax cuts for 95 percent of working Americans.
The “straddle” between those old and new Democratic philosophies was one reason Obama had problems winning in blue-collar Ohio and neighboring states in his Democratic primary fight with Hillary Rodham Clinton, pollster Scott Rasmussen said.
“If he wins,” Rasmussen said, “it is a significant governance issue for him.”