November 5, 2014

Post Election Musings

Presidents usually lose ground in midterm elections, and this was no different, really, except Obama is such a polarizing figure and so that makes everything bigger: the Republican victory is bigger, the Dem loss is bigger, the whole mess is bigger. You'd think we were all in "Texas, Texas, Texas" as Rick Perry put it on his way out.

The well-paid pundits will be working hard to earn their salaries in the coming days; heck, the Sunday news shows are going to be worth a million bucks as the hosts fight to get the best interview and lure the most viewers.

Here's what it looks like from my spot in the cheap seats:

  • Dems did not own their successes, and they allowed Republicans to have their way with Dem failures. It's been a signature of the Dems under Obama, and it is likely a big contributor to the outcome. 
  • Republicans were able to take advantage of general malaise, but they cannot forget that they are a huge contributor to that malaise. Polls for months show that people are even less enamored of Congress than they are the President, something they can ignore at their peril.
  • It was noted that Republicans worked very hard this time to get candidates who were well coached on how not to appear too extreme during the campaign so as to be 'electable.' Which means even the people who voted for them have no idea what they're actually going to do now that they've been put in the majority. I'm thinking their true colors will come out, and that it won't take long.
  • If the Republicans lead on what they won with, we will spend the first few months of their majority dealing with Ebola, ISIS, saving Medicare from the Affordable Care Act, and spitting the word "Pelosi" over and over and over again.  I don't see that as a winning strategy, and hope there's more to it than that.
  • Republicans will likely have a cast of dozens again for the 2016 presidential campaign; Dems cannot sit on the sidelines waiting for Hillary to make up her mind. You may ask "what difference, at this point, does it make?" and I'll tell you it makes a heck of a lot of difference, if no one dares challenge her or at least ramp up her decision making, so we can get on with the next step.
  • I wonder who will be the leaders -- the real leaders, not the designated ones -- who will make the first move and try to get something done before the end of this Congress. Anything, really -- at this point it could be agreeing not to chew gum on Tuesdays while the House and Senate are in session. I'm so desperate for consensus on anything, I'd take that. 
  • And of course, who will be the first one to actually reach across the aisle in January? Will we see another State of the Union data night, where they actually physically cross the aisle for a one night stand and pretend they'll still respect each other in the morning?
  • We now have a 30-year old woman from Upstate New York going to Congress.  Wonder what it will fee like for her working with people who have been in office longer than she's been alive? And will some of the old-timers take the hint and make room for new blood?  
  • Republicans made a lot of promises, but they don't have a veto-proof majority. If they cannot deliver on their promises, do we suffer from even more 'uncertainty' than they say we've had in the past six years? 
  • And will their first official act be a repeal vote on the Affordable Care Act? 
  • This election cost some $4 billion. That, my friends, is an embarrassment. Is there even a chance that we'll get our money's worth?
What's it look like from your vantage point?