First off, let me say that I am very proud to report that in my state of Oregon we not only broke a record by electing a Democratic Governor for his third term, but we also re-elected a Democratic Senator and three Democratic Representatives. (My own outstanding representative to Congress, Peter DeFazio, won his re-election running against some wack-job who thought public schools were extreme child abuse and that nuclear waste should be scattered in the oceans.) I’m glad I live where I do, but the national results do not bother me either.
The last three sitting presidents have lost a house of congress during mid-term elections, so did Obama. That was not unexpected even in good economic times; let alone the current bad economy where people feel uneasy and desperate. Democrats still control the White House and Senate; there was no landslide to Republicans. The pendulum is just swinging a little from the heavy losses the Republicans took in Congress during the last two election cycles where they took very heavy losses both times and lost control of both houses of Congress.
And, this was just a small pendulum swing, considering that the Supreme Court’s decision of Citizens United allowed a rush of uncontrolled political spending that supported mostly Republicans in some races ten times more than the Democratic contender. Karl Rove, Rupert Murdoch, the Koch brothers and other wealthy conservatives were brokering the largest sums ever spent in an election cycle and still couldn’t deliver a Republican majority to both houses of Congress! Meg Whitman, the ex-Ebay CEO in California, having spent over $141 million of her own money (say that again: “over one hundred forty one million dollars of her own money”) in her bid for governor, just to lose to Jerry Brown by 14 points and nearly a million votes. Brown prevailed with a total campaign spend of less than 15% of her total campaign spending. The Golden State of Ronald Reagan, John Wayne and the Govenator just voted in a solid progressive Democrat as governor. That says something! One thing it says is that you cannot just buy an election. That’s news to me.
All the fuss over the Tea Party? The Republican establishment will have their hands full with the Tea Party candidates that won. They are not establishment players and will likely piss off the Republican Good Ol’ Boy network more than the Democrats ever did. I’m glad some of them won. For all the fanfare of a populist revolution, the Tea Party Candidates did not even win a third of their races. Pretty good for a new party, but not a “revolution” on any standard. I can’t wait to see some of these “patriots” write a bill for Congress- The “Abolish the department of Education Bill”, The “Restore the Constitution by Eliminating Unemployment Benefits Act of 2011”, The “The Negro Muslim Non-American Born with a Funny Name is Not My President Bill” I can’t wait to see the circus as these wingnuts will feel as though they own a house of Congress. They can no longer just be the party of “NO”, they have a house of Congress to run. OK, they got some traction, so maybe the best thing is to see who Palin’s foot soldiers really are when they are actually elected to an office and have some power to throw around and even some responsibility. Will they even finish their terms? Palin didn’t. We’ll see what these other ones do. It’s where the rubber hits the road for them Tea Party folks. I think the smart money is 20:1 that the Republican establishment will be working so hard to co-opt these new comers that they will soon either look like leftovers on the floor of a sausage factory or else they are going to start speaking corporate lobby-ese faster than you can say “the constitution is hanging by a thread”.
Give it a few months. By your next 4th of July picnic, Mike Huckabee will begin to seem like Bill Clinton and Obama will sound like an educated rational guy!
The election of 2010 doesn’t really bother me, its politics in motion and possibly the best scenario for Obama’s re-election for his second term in 2012.