With so many major cases up before the Supreme Court, 2016 debates all around, and Congress and President Barack Obama still at odds over immigration, which badly needs reform, America’s blood pressure is probably through the roof. Midterms were a divisive, stressful time this year, and increasing tensions with the Iran and Russia have upped international concerns. ISIL has both parties concerned about national security, and Edward Snowden has many Americans concerned about both parties.
It’s little wonder the public latches onto llamas and dresses — even Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio) wants to talk about the gold or black conundrum. But as always, the news isn’t as bad in its entirety as media often makes it seem. So take a Tums for that Washington-born acid reflux, sit back, and let’s look at a few positive signs on international politics, the economy, and America’s future, that will have you breathing easier.
Some of our good news has a lot to do with Americans’ perceptions. This matters for two reasons. The first has to do with anxiety over leadership and our government’s capability. Even if polls in that area are less positive, the fact remains that on certain issues both conditions and capabilities of our leadership combine to make concern low — which is good news for morale.
It’s also good to see strong positive perception for the sake of the economy. Anxiety has an effect on our economy, on the certainty with which Americans spend, invest, and go into debt. According a study from Gallup, America is less concerned about the threat that China poses to the U.S., decreasing from 52% saying that China’s economic power is a “critical threat” to the U.S.’s well-being down to 40%. This may go hand in hand with improving economic conditions in America and the shrinking unemployment rate.
2. Loretta Lynch
Considering the number of nominations that have gone awry in the past year, the smooth transition from former Attorney General Eric Holder to Loretta Lynch should come as a relief. There are no guarantees yet, of course, but FiveThirtyEight gives her a 92% chance of taking the position with a simple confirmation. Given that the Senate Judiciary Committee has already decided to put her nomination before the Senate with a 12 to 8 vote, her approval seems likely. It also indicates a potentially more cordial relationship between the Department of Justice and Congress, and in turn, perhaps an indirectly better relationship between Congress and Obama.
Lynch claimed, not in so many words, to be prepared to be a more objective and bipartisan leader than Republicans found Holder to be during her hearing before Congress, while still working toward important goals for law enforcement and nationals security.
3. Government shutdown and the Department of Homeland Security
On the topic of national security, we have the recent concerns over what will happen to the DHS if another government shutdown occurs instead of a budget being passed on time. The possibility that the DHS would have funding cut off and resources limited to the point of endangering national security was never very likely, even with a shutdown, but there are still political voices that insist the danger is real. And indeed, even if national security wouldn’t really be threatened, workers would certainly suffer the consequences of delayed payment and general dissatisfaction and moral damage.
However a new stopgap measure for funding the government might put off the crisis and give Congress more time to deal with budgetary disagreements. While it doesn’t fix the problem, it does move the deadline back some and give lawmakers some room to breath.
4. Easter eggs at the White House
Finally, we have Easter coming up in just over a month, and there’s the 137th annual White House Easter Egg Roll. No, it’s not political in nature, but it is a nice reminder of spring and the end to a long winter and stressful budget discussion. It’s also soothing to see the White House transformed into a lawn full of children and hidden eggs, rather than a fence to be jumped or a protest to be staged. That’s all very well and good most of the year — let’s hear it for free speech and the Secret Service — but every once in a while it’s good to see America’s leader wearing a more jovial face.
Follow Anthea Mitchell on Twitter @AntheaWSCS
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