Protester at a Chicago Tea Party rally, originally posted on Founding Bloggers.
Having lost the Democratic majority in the House of Representatives, US President Barack Obama has reached out to newly elected opposition representatives, calling on Democrats, Republicans and Tea Party leaders to “stop squabbling” and “figure out how we can move forward together”. Wishful thinking?
The Tea Party movement is a grass-roots American conservative/libertarian political movement that emerged to campaign against the Washington establishment in general and Obama in particular. Some, but not all, Republican leaders have backed the movement, which was seen as something of a wild card in the November 2 midterm elections.  A host of independent Tea Party-backed candidates were elected to office on promises to reverse or halt key measures backed by the Obama administration. Republicans also made big gains in the Senate, but Democrats were able to retain a slender majority in the upper chamber of Congress.
We asked our Observers whether or not they think Democrats and Republicans in the new Congress will be able to bridge their differences and pass bipartisan legislation, or whether the Democrats' electoral beating has heralded the end of the Obama era.

“Tea Party leaders were not elected to work with Obama, but to stop him”

Jim Wilkinson is a business owner in Mercedes, Texas. He is a Tea Party member and a founder of, a website that calls for building a wall between the United States and Mexico to keep illegal immigrants out.
I think I speak for a lot of Tea Party members here when I say that I have no desire whatsoever to work with President Obama. The Democrats are the losers in these mid-term elections: they have to work with us, not the other way round.
Tea Party leaders were not elected to work with the Obama administration, but to stop the harm they are doing to this country and to change things in Washington. We don’t want them to roll with the rest of the establishment, be it Republicans or Democrats.
There are three main points I expect the new Congress to change: first, we want them to reverse the healthcare reform that Obama has put into place. Secondly, we want them to dismantle TARP [the Troubled Asset Relief Program in which the government purchases assets and equities from weakened financial institutions]. Third, we want a return to the Bush tax plan, which involved no future tax hikes.”
Tea Party members organised a series of rallies around the country in protest at the Obama administration's "big government" policies. Some of their posters are personal attacks on the president:
Poster comparing Obama to Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler. Originally posted on Founding Bloggers.
Poster branding Obama a communist. Originally posted on Founding Bloggers.
Tea Party anti-tax poster. Posted on Wikimedia Creative Commons.

“The Senate will stop the House of Representatives from wreaking too much havoc”

Tim Williams is a sports journalist in Washington, DC, and the author of the blog Behind the Camera. He is a Democrat.
Unfortunately, I don’t think members of the newly elected Congress will be able to work together. The representatives who were elected under the Tea Party banner are so incredibly rigid in their beliefs that it will be almost impossible for even the more conservative Democrats to find common ground with them. The incoming House leader, John Boehner, campaigned for months on making Obama a one-term president. If that is their main agenda, it’s hard to see how any Democrat can work with them!
If Obama is as smart as we know he is, what he’ll do is take the opportunity to sit down and tell opposition representatives: ‘this is what we want to do. Are you on board?’ He’ll propose a series of positive, popular measures, which Republicans and Tea Party representatives will be hard-pressed to explain why they are opposing.
For measures like health-care reform, which are unpopular with the country’s more conservative wing and Republican leaders have pledged to dismantle, I think we can count on the fact that the Senate still has a Democratic majority to stop the House of Representatives from wreaking too much havoc. I’m sure they will do some damage, hopefully not too much.
I don’t think losing the mid-term election signals the death of the Obama presidency. Other presidents have been there before, including Bill Clinton, Harry Truman and Dwight Eisenhower, and they were all elected for a second term. Obama’s team has only been around for two years: that’s not enough for them to bring about the change they
On October 30, Democrats, Independents and moderate Republicans gathered in a massive rally organised by liberal comedian Jon Stuart on the Washington DC Mall to respond to Tea Party Protests. The event was called the "Rally to Restore Sanity". Here is a selection of posters from the event:
Poster mocking the conservative anti-tax stance. Photo posted on Flickr by Michael Foley.
Poster referring to a controversial Arizona law toughening immigration measures. Photo posted on Flickr by Michael Foley.
At least one poster in keeping with Obama's conciliatory tone!