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ADDing Up The Results

Boy howdy, wasn't yesterday interesting? The Republicans decisively took back the House (not that that matters much; a simple majority is enough to run things there), came damn close to taking back the Senate, and had resounding victories on the state level across the nation.

It wasn't a sweep, but it was a thorough ass-kicking, the kind of which we haven't seen since... well, the combined 2006-2008 elections.

As much as I'd like to say that the results were ideologically driven, I just can't bring myself to believe that. I don't think this election was a referendum on big-government liberalism/progressivism/socialism, with the American people wholeheartedly rejecting all that destructive BS.

Nor do I think that this was an anti-incumbent season. Yeah, a lot of seated Congresscritters were shown the door, but it was a targeted purging -- far more Democrats were kicked to the curb than Republicans.

No, I hate to say it, but I think that the spirit that dominated this election was the same one that controlled the last two elections -- the demand for "change."

In 2006, the Democrats ran on a platform of "sick of how things are? Vote for us!" and won decisively. In 2008, they doubled down on that theme, with the bonus of having the presidency in play, and won decisively again.

Yesterday, the Republicans stole the playbook and pointed to how the Democrats had held Congress for four years, added the White House two years ago, and things had gotten (pun intended) progressively worse. This time, the "sick of how things are" voters cast their ballots for the Republicans.

Actually, let me revise that. In 2006 and 2008, that bloc -- and it's a very powerful bloc -- cast their vote against Republicans, and yesterday they voted against the Democrats.

That bloc is very powerful, and very fickle. They hold no allegiance to party or principle -- their unifying factor is "we want things to be better, and we want it now!" They cannot be counted on to vote for or against anyone or anything except the status quo. Which means that the Republicans now have to find a way to make things not just better, but better enough to satisfy them in two years -- or pull a mirror of 2008 and make Obama the centerpoint of every race to buy themselves another two years.

I fear that this could be the future of American politics -- a president given a cooperative Congress, but only two years to make things better. Then, a president shackled with an opposition Congress (at least one house) that feels it has a mandate to oppose him.

I think it worked out OK yesterday, with the Tea Party movement driving a sense of responsibility and accountability and common sense behind a lot of races -- and influencing a lot of others. But I don't like the way it bodes for the future.

And I like even less what it says about us as a nation. I fear that yesterday was another triumph of what I've started calling "the ADD electorate," and that is not a healthy way for the country to be heading.

So, congratulations to the winners. Now get to work -- you don't have much time to please those who put you in power. Start making things better (or find ways to convince them to start thinking long-term again), or you're looking at another exile in a fairly brief time.


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Comments (34)

Finally something sensible.... (Below threshold)
James H:

Finally something sensible. IMO, the Democrats' biggest error after 2006 and 2008 was assuming they had a mandate to enact their entire agenda. They didn't. Their mandate was "make thinks better, dammit!!" The "better" happened for some people, but not for most Americans ... and now it's the Republicans' turn.

Here's the million-dollar question: Will congressional Republicans get into a penis-waving contest with the president, or will they actually try for a better America? If they do the former, those independent Jay Tea cites (myself included) will show Republicans the door again in 2012 or 2014. If the latter ... then perhaps we can make progress.

I am disappointed that Reid... (Below threshold)
mag:

I am disappointed that Reid, Boxer and Frank got back in. And California. I hear a commentator said that California is in such a bad state and they reject a top business CEO for Brown. And something about the machine in Nevada that no matter what name you voted for Reid's name pop up. Did anyone hear that??

And in my state CT. All democrats. Ct is made up of rich liberal around the Westport area, TONS of lowlife welfare types (yeah I am prejudice again them-you would be too if so much of your paycheck goes to taxes to support them) and die hard union people. Ct has high taxes, a casino giving the state billions and we still are in mess. In my city, the taxes are so high that city union workers can retired at a very early age, making more money in retirement than when they were working and my property taxes just went up...again. I hate Ct, but I have too much family here to move.

What is it about the east and west coast...is all that salt air doing something to their brains???

PS. I saw the headline: "... (Below threshold)
James H:

PS. I saw the headline: "Nevadans don't like Harry Reid, re-elect him anyway." Dude would be in trouble vs. a credible challenger.

James H -I think i... (Below threshold)
JLawson:

James H -

I think it all depends on what you call a 'better' America and 'progress'.

I don't think it's the government's job to make my life better - it's to facilitiate the conditions that allow ME to make MY life better by MY own standards - and making sure I don't hurt others at the same time. (Sure, having indoor plumbing is great, but it'd be really rude to have my sewer outlet hit the stream above where my neighbor gets his water, for example. Or getting my income from ripping off strangers on the street.)

How it can best do that is certainly open to debate - but at the end of the day we've all got to be happy with what's going on or it's not sustainable at all.

(Or if not actually 'happy', then not so dissatisfied as to be actively hostile.)

Will congressional... (Below threshold)
iwogisdead:
Will congressional Republicans get into a penis-waving contest with the president, or will they actually try for a better America?

All the big bad Republicans can do is try. They now have a majority in one of the two houses of Congress. They can't even pass their own bills, let alone override a Presidential veto. That doesn't mean that Barry won't be blaming the evil Republicans for his own failures and shortcomings for the next two years.

'morning everyone,... (Below threshold)
Upset Old Guy:

'morning everyone,

Day-after and, like Mag, the results in CT disappoint me. At least my town (kinda' blue) did the "right-thing" this time.

James H, we now can only watch and see what unfolds. What is Obama going to do? Will he make a sincere effort to meet the new Republican House somewhere in the middle? Or will he just veto whatever comes his way while characterizing it as "just more of what got us in that ditch" in an effort aimed solely at getting himself re-elected? Certainly the MSM would be more than happy to regurgitate such a talking point. Like I said, we can watch and see... and then we all can discuss what's actually happening here on wizbang.

Lawson, with you on that one. It's "pursuit of happiness" not the government mandated version of the word happiness.

"Then, a president shack... (Below threshold)
Oyster:

"Then, a president shackled with an opposition Congress (at least one house) that feels it has a mandate to oppose him."

It doesn't have to be that way. The President can do one of two things.

When elected into office by a huge wave like the one that brought Obama into the presidency, that new President needs to correctly interpret what the electorate is saying.

Barring that....

When the mid-terms roll around and an opposing Congress fills the majority of seats, he has a second chance to correctly interpret what the electorate is saying.

Obama is incapable of either. He's no Bill Clinton. He's already fudged the former and will most definitely fudge the latter.

Obama will judge that Reid'... (Below threshold)

Obama will judge that Reid's survival and Pelosi's re-election prove he's been right all along and he just needs to try harder.

He'll have a show on MSNBC by Christmas.

Congratulations on your vic... (Below threshold)
Tina S:

Congratulations on your victories.

Thank you, Tina.... (Below threshold)
Oyster:

Thank you, Tina.

JamesH,I will be i... (Below threshold)
DaveD:

JamesH,

I will be interested to see what you interpret as penis-waving in the future. I hope mere disagreement with the President is not interpreted as such. Obama has certainly done his share up to this point.

I must echo Lawson's comment. The main problem we have in this country is the belief that government is the major factor in making our lives better. We willingly accept their intrusion into all aspects of our life with this conceit. I am particularly disappointed in California. The state seems to pride itself on being the west coast testing site for the progressive agenda. Look how successful that has been and they still elect a proven loser progressive as governor. I am sure we are all going to be asked to pay for this at some point.

JLaw:I don't expec... (Below threshold)
James H:

JLaw:

I don't expect the federal government to care about your happiness or even my happiness for that matter. But I expect it to d something more tangible about the economic situation right now. At this point, I really don't care whether we get more Keynesian stimulus or extended tax cuts for the wealthy. I just want them to do something useful.

DaveD: Mere disagreement? ... (Below threshold)
James H:

DaveD: Mere disagreement? Not penis-waving. Shutting down the government and refusing to compromise simply for the sake of being obstinate? Penis-waving.

PS. "We're going to cut sp... (Below threshold)
James H:

PS. "We're going to cut spending" == Penis-waving. "We would like to cut $x from Program y" == not penis-waving.

As far as I am concerned, e... (Below threshold)
J:

As far as I am concerned, especially here in MA, the pirates are still winning. We have a bunch of voters that vote AGAINST things, but do not seem to realize how our politicians and their agendas, effect/affect our living. Too many dems won or are still in control and they believe in taking money away from the earners and GIVING it to the people the dems deem worthy.
MA voters couldn't even vote themselves a tax cut and re-elected the captain and crew of the MA-Titanic.

James H enthusiastically ag... (Below threshold)
Jeff Blogworthy:

James H enthusiastically agrees. That should worry you.

I keep picturing Nasty Pelosi smirking through the crowd with her giant gavel. Last night that gavel was wrested from, and used on her.

I just don't buy the thesis. Redstate summarizes the significance of last night here:

http://www.redstate.com/erick/2010/11/03/the-tsunami/

Agree with J.Ma. r... (Below threshold)
Hank:

Agree with J.

Ma. remains disfuntional.
The state is a fiscal mess, the roads stink, the bridges are crumbling, we're losing more and more jobs, Ma Health is bankrupting us, and yet the status quo remains.

Thankfully, I live in one of the outlying conservative towns. Unfortunately, we're surrounded.

Please send help.

I'm not happy with the fact... (Below threshold)
hermie:

I'm not happy with the fact that the GOP is still in the minority. That means that McConnell will likely remain as minority leader, and he has been a disaster in fighting the Obama/Pelosi/Reid agenda. He was responsible for so many compromises in the Senate which led the GOP to minority status in Congress. A GOP majority or at least a tie would've likely brought in Tea Party influence and a change to more aggressive leadership.

James H."Here's th... (Below threshold)
olhardhead:

James H.

"Here's the million-dollar question: Will congressional Republicans get into a penis-waving contest with the president, or will they actually try for a better America?"

Like others above I'm curious....what exactly do you think that the Republicans can do (they only control the house) to "try for a better America".

Here's what I think....

1. De fund/repeal/make go away/whatever...Obama Care.
2.Make sure that Crap & Tax never sees the light of day...stop back door regulations by the EPA..
3.TRY to do something about illegal immigration/securing the borders.

there's more but you get the picture..


They better have legislation to repeal Obama Care border security etc. weekly...daily...often...that will make the RINO's and dim's in the house and senate vote against thus creating a voting record that they can use in '12 to throw their happy asses out of congress...

that's just a few..

Like DaveD above I think undoubtedly at some point along the line we'll be asked to bail out California and if the repub's go along it won't be pretty... What the hell is wrong with these people (they elected a dead woman) no more bailout's...

Yesterday was good..and...real...but not REAL GOOD! Now get to work..

ol'

'PS. "We're going to cut sp... (Below threshold)
DaveD:

'PS. "We're going to cut spending" == Penis-waving. "We would like to cut $x from Program y" == not penis-waving.'

James H, I agree. But politics being what it is I see the always possible cycle of across the aisle invective because each party has its pet programs. References to specific cuts during the campaign season is a killer. The mere mention of social security reform sends seniors into a tizzy envisioning they will have no pensions is a few years. They are -as you know - a powerful voting bloc. Well, guess what. In its present state this program would be a crime if being administered in the private sector with the promises that accompany it.

At the end of the day I actually blame the public for its selfishness and short sightedness. They bury their collective heads to the current problems. It astounds me how litlle many people know so little about the extent of our debt. You still insist the government do SOMETHING. Over the past two years it would have been better if the government did less because with Obama's ideology it was not going to do something different.

DaveD, fine don't mention s... (Below threshold)
James H:

DaveD, fine don't mention specific cuts during campaign season. But things need to get a bit more specific once it comes time to govern.

Problem is, there really is no consensus among the general public on what needs to be cut. The challenge is to form the legislative consensus ... and I don't think the Republicans are genuinely interested in doing that. Or the Democrats, for that matter.

"Ma. remains dysfunct... (Below threshold)
John S:

"Ma. remains dysfunctional..."

But your neighbor to the north New Hampshire has turned once again bright red. And this time we're building a wall on the southern border to keep any more liberal Masshole Boat People from moving in and destroying our state.

Other thoughts: If the Senate must remain in the Dem's hands, keep Reid as leader. You want your enemy to be led by an incompetent ass.

California? What can I say? If they're stupid enough to reelect Boxer and return Moonbeam Brown as governor, they deserve it. And when Moonbeam goes to the government for a $100 billion bailout, I expect the Republican House to respond with a polite "Fuck you!"

I - personally - would have... (Below threshold)
jim2:

I - personally - would have traded a dozen or more House seats in return for retiring Harry Reid. His anti-nuke sabotage has hurt the nation (IMHO) and his continued presence as the Senate top dog will continue to give him great power in DC and with Obama.

A new Senate leader, even if a Dem, would have allowed a better chance at progress in many areas of public policy. Reid has just so much invested in the status quo and in previous ruinous legislation.

For today: Ding, dong the ... (Below threshold)
dnb:

For today: Ding, dong the wicked witch is gone. And to paraphrase two prominent democrats, 'for the first time in my adult life (at least since Nov. 2008) I am so proud of my country' and 'Mr. Obama, the chickens are coming home to roost.'
For tomorrow: Rep. Issa, get to work. To Republicans old and new, keep your noses clean and our dollars safe.

After two years of the Pres... (Below threshold)
iwogisdead:

After two years of the President and other Democrats telling Republicans to get out of the way and to sit in the back seat, of calling Republicans "enemies," "unpatriotic," "unAmerican," and "racist," of claiming that Republicans want people to die quickly, the onus is now on the Republicans to compromise? Republicans, who now control one house of Congress? WTF?

Yesterday's vote was a smashing rejection of the leftist agenda. Voters don't want the Republicans to go to Washington to compromise with the dolts pushing the ideology which the voters have now rejected--they want the Republicans to stop Obama and the extreme leftist Democrats from continuing their deconstruction of the country.

John S ,I hope you... (Below threshold)
jim m:

John S ,

I hope you're right about a Cali bailout. I worry that the GOP will waffle and say "Oh the CA economy is too big to fail" and be fooled into thinking that bailing it out means that they will get the electoral college votes from that state in 2012. The GOP historically has done a lot of stupid things presuming that pandering to some interest group will garner them votes.

As for Massachusetts, what can I say about a state that refuses to cut the sales tax even though it is projected to produce 30,000 new jobs by doing so. Everyone is complaining about unemployment yet they fall for the same old BS of the state can't afford to let you have your money. People fell for the same "If you cut taxes we will have to cut police, fire, education and hospitals. No one is asking why Beacon Hill can't cut their expenses. No one asks why the people have to suffer first while the politicians protect themselves.

MA deserves what it got. The pain needs to be turned up here until the people get it. I just hope that we don't have to go as far as CA to figure it out.

At this point, I really ... (Below threshold)
JLawson:

At this point, I really don't care whether we get more Keynesian stimulus or extended tax cuts for the wealthy. I just want them to do something useful.

And there's the rub. Who gets to define 'useful'? Republicans? Democrats? Libertarians? The folks who post on Daily Kos? Metafilter? LGF? Here? DU?

The 'progressive' line seems to have been 'we will take care of you and make everything just right according to OUR vision, just give us all control'. And you'd best not disagree with their vision, because there's no apparent tolerance for any other opinion. No shades of gray allowed - you're either for them totally or you're seen as

But that vision seems flawed at best. Maybe it's time to cut back on the nanny-state governmental model (which will cut expenditures) and take the lumps that will come with that, knowing that in the long run the country will be better off.

(And the problem with THAT plan is that our politicians can't see beyond pandering for the next election. Kind of like the guy who joins a gym wanting to muscle up, but finds out that it'll require sweat and dedication and aching muscles - so he gives up on the idea and gets a pizza instead. Short term pleasure, long-term problem - and if that isn't a description of what the folks in Washington have been doing for the thirty+ years, I don't know what is...)

Something's got to be done. Doing nothing isn't an option, neither is continuously promising out what can't be delivered.

Problem is, there really is no consensus among the general public on what needs to be cut. The challenge is to form the legislative consensus ... and I don't think the Republicans are genuinely interested in doing that. Or the Democrats, for that matter.

No consensus? Cut everything. Scale back ALL governmental/federal expenditures to 1995 levels, except for the military and public health/safety. Look for places in the budget which duplicate private-sector expenditures - and cancel those.

Yes, it's going to hurt. Yes, it's going to step on toes and piss people off. But what we've got is badly broken and CAN'T be fixed unless there are cutbacks - and those need to be as across the board as possible.

(Of course, the above has about the same chance of implementation as the FairTax, so obviously I'm dreaming...)

I think you're on to someth... (Below threshold)
Big Mo:

I think you're on to something, Jay Tea, but I think you're slightly misreading the results of 2006 and 2008. 2006, IMHO, was the delayed Dem revenge for 2000 (in part because Kerry was such a feckless tool in 2004), and 2008 had a LOT to do with voting for the then-hip, charasmatic black guy.

Yes, the mushy center had a lot to do with 2006, 2008 and last night, but I look at it this way: 2010 was the first election in a LONG time when substance won over slickness and packaging. (For example, Angle in Nevada and COD in Delaware were attractive packages, but they just didn't have enough oomph to win.) Last night was a HUGE win nationwide for the Constitution, not necessarily the GOP. We, the people, are just fed up with both parties, and it finally came out last night. The new GOP House knows darn well that they had better perform, or they're history in two years.

Remember, this heartland revolt has been brewing for a couple of decades. Sure, many centrists cast "here's hoping" votes against the clowns in power, as every election since at least 1992 has been about throwing the bums out in hopes that the next set of bums will be better.

But remember Porkbusters? That started brewing in the last half of the Bush years, and it went after big spenders regardless of party. (Recall that Trent Lott once grumbled that he didn't want to hear anymore about the d*mned Porkbusters.)

This was a mass revolt against ALL of the powers that be, which is why the new GOPers were put on notice as soon as they won.

Does that mean we want what we want now? Well, yes. But it also means that we the people are no longer complacent with politicians who promise the moon but deliver more of the same. Until last night, "change" meant simply switching horses. Now, we've kicked most of the horses out of the stable and brought in some new stallions and fillies.

(Sorry if this sounds a little mushy; still waking up.)

And one more thing: Last ni... (Below threshold)
Big Mo:

And one more thing: Last night finally broke the meme that the GOP is the party of rich white men. Allen West, Tim Scott, Nikki Haley, Suzanne Martinez, Marc Rubio, etc. etc.

Regardless of how many mino... (Below threshold)
jim m:

Regardless of how many minorities the GOP run and actually elect the left and the MSM (I know, redundant) will always try to brand the GOP as racist and uniformly white. The left sees minorities as window dressing and keeps them around as such. They can only view minorities for the GOP in the same way they view them on their side. The only difference is that they castigate the GOP for having the very attitude toward minorities that they do.

jim m - yes...but look at i... (Below threshold)
Big Mo:

jim m - yes...but look at it this way: Last night was the first step -- a big step -- in wiping out that bigoted and racist view continually vomited up by the lefties.

This election certainly WAS... (Below threshold)
oldpuppymax:

This election certainly WAS ideologically driven. Actual Americans are tired of the theft and outright criminality, the Marxist agenda and arrogance of the left. That is indeed what drove things. MOREOVER, republicans generally sat on their butts and did NOTHING to attract votes!!! Had they been aggressive, the blowout would have been larger...depending upon the fraud which no doubt played a large part in a number of races. We have the opportunity to correct that mistake over the next 2 years. If republicans continue to lie back, or rather BEND OVER for the left, the party will literally cease to exist in 2 years. Voters will NOT TOLERATE spineless aisle-crossers.

James H,Dude wo... (Below threshold)
Sheik Yur Bouty:

James H,

Dude would be in trouble vs. a credible challenger.

Dude would be in trouble against ANYONE, without vote fraud and the unions strong arming their members into voting for him.

yes. . . but it also leaves... (Below threshold)
ryan:

yes. . . but it also leaves obama with a weak hand for doing the same




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