Thursday, February 4, 2010

Change is in the air

Change is in the air

Recently, President Barack Obama gave the first State of the Union Address of his presidency. In that address, he mentioned he was voted into office because voters believed he would change the way this country does business.

Whether you agree with the president’s position on the various issues he has championed, one thing does stand true, he is making good on his campaign promises of change.

For the first time in history, the federal government has actively stepped in and has taken ownership of big companies in the private sector and fired the CEO of one of them, General Motors. I never knew it was within the scope of presidential powers to make such a sweeping move, but it has now been done.

Governmental sights have been set on insurance companies and banks in recent months, while in their periphery lies newspapers. I need not tell you what a state-run newspaper might look like, for examples lie in other countries like Russia and China.

Yes, change is in the air in Washington, but it may not be the type of change many voters thought they would be getting.

Those voters, it seems, have started sending signals to Washington and to state capitals that change may not only originate in those governmental bodies. The change that may be coming may not be what the president had in mind during his speech.

Two recent gubernatorial contests saw GOP victories in long-held Democratic seats and the recent senatorial victory for Republican Scott Brown, in Massachusetts ­— a state with almost 1 million more registered Democrats than Republicans­ — stunned many in the national media.
Some may blame those victories on the TEA party and 912 movements, but I think it goes deeper than that.

Here in our area, incumbent candidates from both parties are fighting for their seats in a way they haven’t had to before. Voter apathy seems to have dissipated from the last few election cycles and a renewed interest in the Constitution and how we, the governed, are governed.
This is evident on the state level as well, with what many thought would be a two-horse race for the Republican nomination for governor turning into a three-candidate gallop.

Rick Perry, the longest serving governor in Texas history, has been challenged by popular U.S. Sen. Kay Baily Hutchinson. Both are being challenged by Wharton native and nurse Debra Medina.

Until the gubernatorial debates — the most recent taking place last Friday night — Medina trailed far behind the two seasoned politicians.

Then a funny thing happened after the first debate — Medina surged in the polls to capturing almost 15 percent of the vote among potential voters. And, Medina took her opponents to task in the second debate Friday in a performance that will undoubtedly see her climb higher in the poles.

What makes her popular among potential Texas voters? It could be that she isn’t a career politician. It could be that she could be anyone’s next door neighbor. It could be that she is seen to have some ideas to fix what many consider to be broken, instead of offering more of the same, and politics as usual. It could be that during the debates she seemed to have a firm grasp of the issues and articulated her stance while the two front runners seemed to be consumed with getting shots in on each other.

Medina has made many appearances at TEA party rallies and has gathered grass-roots support at those meetings. With the debates, she has brought her pro-gun ownership, pro-property rights, pro-life, anti-big government message to most potential voters whom she may not have been able to reach without the debates.

Of course on the Democratic side of the ticket, there will be a battle between former Houston Mayor Bill White and Farouk Shami, and whoever wins the Republican nomination will face the winner of that contest. But , most agree, the battle with all the fireworks is on the Republican side.

It will be interesting to see how that race, and others, plays out.

Yes, change is in the air. It starts locally, grows at the state level and continues to the national level. Change will be brought about and, as always, the voters have the biggest say in how that change will take place.

Blake Ovard is the managing editor of Star Group Newspapers and can be reached via e-mail at