Thursday, November 4, 2010

What Tidal Wave?

It's the morning after the morning after. The Republicans are hung-over from all the parties yesterday, but it's time for the rest of us to stop crying over our whiskey and to sober up.

I'm not feeling particularly sorry or contrite today. The Republicans crowed "It's a tidal wave!" "It's an earthquake!' "It's a seismic shift!' all day yesterday (Jon Stewart pointed out that the Republicans love using natural disasters that kill thousands of people as victory metaphors), but was it really?

I notice that so many of the victories for both sides in the election were by narrow margins, and that a lot of races are still undecided this morning. The Republicans achieved a substantial, but not overwhelming, majority in the House. They failed to take the Senate. A potted plant could have beaten Harry Reid this year, he is so unpopular in his own state. And yet, his Republican challenger Sharon Angle lost. By all logic, the Republicans should have taken Delaware, but instead, they nominated a religious fanatic with a questionable past to run for Senate and lost to the Democrat by a 30 point margin. Formerly red state Colorado turned solid blue this year with substantial Democratic victories for the Senate and for governor. As another pundit pointed out, there were no real upsets this year.

This was nothing like the rerun of 1994 that the Republicans promised. It certainly wasn't 1980 either. It was a change of power in the House. It was not a sea change. Despite all the usual rhetoric about bipartisanship and coming together, nothing of the sort will happen, nor should it. In the language of the political mandarin class, "working together" is usually code for giving Republicans everything they want. When it comes to Social Security and Medicare, Dems should hold the line against Republicans who want to effectively repeal both. They should hang tough on efforts to turn back the clock on healthcare reform and regulation of the financial industry and on civil rights and labor rights.






In 1946, the Republicans handed then President Harry Truman his head on a platter in the midterm elections. Republicans took the House and Senate by huge margins, taking control of the legislature for the first time since 1928, throwing Sam Rayburn out of his long tenure as Speaker. There were all kinds of jokes along the lines of "to err is Truman" and about "the late Mr. Truman." According to Michael Beschloss, Truman ignored the broadcasts of election results, and spent election night playing poker with his staff. The next morning, far from being contrite, Truman announced that he was going to do whatever he damn well wanted. The pundits began writing Truman's political obituary and speculating what the administration of President Thomas E. Dewey will do in the wake of his inevitable victory in 1948.



Anyone remember how that election came out?


Why was this man smiling?

10 comments:

Leonardo Ricardo said...

When it comes to Social Security and Medicare, Dems should hold the line against Republicans who want to effectively repeal both. They should hang tough on efforts to turn back the clock on healthcare reform and regulation of the financial industry and on civil rights and labor rights.¨ Doug

Exactly...and exactly to the rest of it too...I feel little sadness for Tuesday, it will change as more Republican blockheaded madness reveals itself in the form of extremist religious zealots...didn´t work in Delaware or Nevada, not too difficult to figure out why.

Leonardo Ricardo said...

Nevada elected a MORMON instead of Sharon the mouthflapping ¨Christian¨ hypocrite.

Ueber-G said...

The most dangerous, newly elected, T-Party Senator is, IMHO, Rand Paul. He may have some crazy ideas, but unlike Angle and O'Donnell, he is far from stupid. Due to the arcane Senate rules, he may be able to block raising our debt-ceiling (coming up in the Spring). This could lead to the US defaulting on our loans. If you think the recession of 2008/2009/2010 was bad, just wait.

Kevin K said...

I had no idea how badly we were beaten. Thanks for explaining our epic defeat, I, like all Republicans, had been confused by the simplistic notion that substantial gains in the senate, among governors and control of the house of repentatives was an electoral victory.

Of course, no Democrats implied that the previous election marked a long term change in the electorate.

I must admit that I am rather pleased with divided government. I think that the two parties having to share power means that the nuttiest impulses on each side get dampned down.

Kevin K.

Counterlight said...

A fan from the right side of the aisle.

I'm glad you enjoy my blog, Keven K.

Of course this was a defeat for my side, but as the Romans said, "Gloria fugit," as you guys may well find out 2 years from now. So enjoy.

Kevin K said...

Counterlight

I both fear and rejoice that victory almost always contains the seeds of defeat.

Kevin K.

Counterlight said...

Indeed.

I felt the same way 2 years ago. I knew that expectations on my side were inflated.

JCF said...

I, like all Republicans, had been confused by the simplistic notion that substantial gains in the senate, among governors and control of the house of repentatives was an electoral victory.

Y'all JUST discovered that, then. Certainly wasn't your tune in 2008!

Obviously, NO ONE thinks their ideas are fundamentally wrong, just because the electorate (collectively, by some marginal % or other) rejects them. Nobody does: not the Republicans in '08, not Democrats now.

I'd love to appeal to facts---but WHOSE facts, these days? FOX News's "facts" aren't facts to me. I imagine MSNBC's aren't facts to you, Kevin K.

The Ugly Reality: we don't have common sources of authority anymore. I think Republican economic ideas come *directly* from BizarroWorld (2+2=5). But you probably think the same about Paul Krugman (Damn what those socialists in Stockholm say, giving him a Nobel!). And of course ("of course", to those in the MSNBC Reality-based community) Republican social "ethics" are even worse.

What are we gonna do? Cry "Jesus, Come Down From Heaven and DECLARE Who's Right and Who's Wrong!"

It's like appealing to the Bible. You probably say "the Bible condemns same-sex marriage", while I say "the Bible says nothing about SSM, but Gospel values support it".

I really don't know what to do, Kevin. * Do you?

(* To prove you and your Republican pals WRONG that is! ;-p)

Kevin K said...

JCF

For me, its recognizing that 1) I may be wrong (as unlikely and improbable as that may be) and 2) my political opponents are neither a) evil or b) stupid. As there are people I care about on both sides of the political divide, I always comfort the loser by saying that, in our system, we get to take turns screwing things up.

Kevin K

Counterlight said...

I always said to my dear departed, and very Republican, Dad, "I love you, but I think your head is screwed on backward," and I'm certain that he felt the same way about me.

We had little in common and agreed on almost nothing, and yet, we were actually very close.

I must admit that I used to enjoy tweaking him a little, reminding him about just how much he hated FDR every time he deposited his Social Security check into his federally insured bank account.