Now that I’ve gotten a full night’s sleep, here I am with a political hangover: I’m a little cranky and sore, and looking back on the events of last night it’s all kind of a blur. So, while I sip my coffee, some musings about last night’s election results. I’ll keep it brief because others who are smarter and more eloquent than I will be analyzing throughout the day.
So, the Republicans have pretty solidly taken control of the House; Nancy Pelosi is replaced as Speaker by John Boehner, who cried on camera last night. However, Democrats have retained control of the Senate, with 51 seats to Republicans’ 46, with three seats undecided (including the CO seat). Stay tuned to the news outlets to see how the last few races turn out.
Of course, all everyone’s going to talk about the next few days is how stunning this victory is for the Republicans, and how it’s the American People sending a message to the White House and the Political Establishment. Even though no one really knows what exactly the message is. Even though most of the Republicans, including many of the Tea Party-supported candidates, ARE part of the Political Establishment (Dan Coats, anyone?). This hand-wringing (or gloating, depending upon what side you’re on) will once again take place under temporary amnesia of the fact that that it’s pretty much always election season in America. The midterms allow us to make grand proclamations about the state of American politics on a two-year cycle.
We as a country have an apparent fondness for the underdog that comes out just about every election. I think it says a lot about the partisanship of the US right now that dissatisfaction with the current administration and its initiatives just immediately translates to shifting to the opposite party. Wasn’t anyone paying attention during the primaries? You have the choice to nominate the person that is going in a new direction within your own party. That’s kind of the point of this whole system, and people need to get engaged before Election Day if they want to see some changes on their side.
And, finally, now that the dust is settling, and they gear up to take their place in January, the Republicans get to be reminded of what’s been made clear to American Democrats in the last two years: it’s hard to transition from campaigning to governing (or, in this case, legislating). It’s one thing to hold little grass-roots protests against The Establishment and get the masses all riled up over their unhappiness with the political landscape. But once you become part of The Establishment, part of the landscape itself, you have to put your money where your mouth is. Hence, the extensive discussion on MSNBC last night that no Tea Party candidates (or, should I say, winners?) are able to name a single government program that they would cut to reduce the taxes they won’t stop complaining about. Well, once they get over their hangovers this morning, they better get working on that.