I’m well-known for saying that at current rate and speed, the Republican party is on target to be the Whigs of the 21st century. Based on last night’s election results my prognosis may have been premature. Then again, was it? If you listened to the victory speeches of Rand Paul and Marco Rubio you did not hear the defiant declaration of Bush-era Republicans returning to the helm. On the contrary, you heard a rejection of a political party that had lost its way. Rand indicated he was going to make the Senate “deliberate” on a thing or two. Marco reminded his audience that last night was not a vote FOR the Republican party but rather a rejection of the current leadership.
After listening to a good six hours of talking heads (yes I’m obsessive) I came away with a few perspectives on last night’s mid-term results which I shall share in no particular order:
(For the most part) Nutjubs, Racists, and Misfits Need Not Apply
A few weeks ago MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow mourned the demise of the “macaca moment”. It was her assertion that the type of gaffe that could destroy a candidate the way “macaca” destroyed candidate George Allen in 2008, seemed to go unnoticed and completely forgiven in 2010. Alas Rachel was being a bit melodramatic. One thing we learned last night was that if you send pornographic photos via email (Carl Paladino), use blatantly racist campaign ads (Sharron Angle), declare that you are not a witch (Christine O’Donnell), dress up like a Nazi on the weekends (Rich Iott) or can barely complete a sentence in an interview, with a sex-offender accusation pending against you (Alvin Greene) then you are not going to be elected dog catcher by Americans in 2010. I cannot overestimate what a relief this was to me as I watched the results come in last night.
It’s The Economy Stupid
Liberals will burn me in effigy for saying this but if last night taught us anything it was that we wasted eighteen months on health care reform that most of the nation didn’t want when we should have had a full court press on job creation. Before you stick your pin in my voodoo doll, let me distill this for you. I walk up to you and say I am going to ensure that your employer can provide you with health care and that you cannot be rejected for pre-existing conditions. Your reply, “that’s fine and dandy but I don’t have an employer. I haven’t worked in two years. I’m about to lose my house.” And then I say “but I insist it’s your right to have good health care!” Then I wonder why you don’t vote for my ass in the next election.
There are those who say there is never a “good time” to introduce health care reform. That may be but I can damn sure tell you there are some particularly bad times to do it. If Obama presided over a booming economy, he would have still encountered philosophical opposition to HCR but at least he could have made it a reasonable priority. Whether or not it makes sense, people prioritize earning enough money to keep their home over good health. That is a social and political reality that the Obama administration, most liberals, and I ignored. Yes, I admit it. I fell in love with the Utopian idea of health care for everyone. I did so ignoring my own underemployment. I was a fool. We liberals paid a price for our principles last night and I’m not at all sure it was worth it.
Some Hispanics, Our Youth and Minnesotans Have Got to Go
If you don’t know when you’re being insulted, you deserve everything that’s coming to you. 30% of Hispanic voters in Nevada voted for Sharron Angle after she portrayed them as a criminal threat to law abiding white folks. Guess what 30%? That makes you a bunch of nimrods, oh pardon me, estupidos! Marco Rubio was right to call out Harry Reid when he wondered aloud how any Hispanic could vote for a Republican. Harry should have wondered how any of them could vote for Sharron Angle.
Apparently our young voter count was lower than expected. You know what? All I hear the Tea Party Movement and other conservatives say is how terrible it is to leave all this debt to the younger generations. Well, I don’t feel one shred of remorse today. They came out in droves in 2008 to vote for the rock star like it was some friggin’ edition of “American Idol”. Now when policy and our future is at stake, they had better things to do. Until the lazy selfish bastards stop texting their BFF’s while watching the latest installment of “Jersey Shore” and get out and do their civic duty by voting, they can choke on my debt.
Finally, Minnesota. What to do about Minnesota? OK I know they like colorful characters. Just look at Prince or Jesse Ventura. And yes I can forgive them for electing Michele Bachmann the first time. But now that we know what a show-boating brain-dead, rhetorically dangerous woman this is, how in the name of all that is good and decent, could she be re-elected? There is only one solution but I will limit this solution only to the sixth congressional district of Minnesota because unlike the average conservative Islamaphobe, I don’t smear the whole with the faults of the few. The solution is that the sixth district of Minnesota must be sold to Canada. I don’t know how much we’d get for it, but it would certainly help bring down the deficit that Ms. Bachmann is so fired up about.
Two Lib Losses that Don’t Upset Me That Much
A good number of our lib heroes survived last night with nary a scratch. Icons like Barney Frank (yeah conservatives … SUCK IT), Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Barbara Boxer and that other boxer from Searchlight, Nevada, Harry Reid. Even that old example of political decay, Charlie Rangel lived to see another day. However there are two losses that don’t have me all that bothered. The first is Alan Grayson from Florida. I have maintained almost from the beginning that Grayson was all show and no substance. In a political climate where there is too much heat and too little light, Grayson generated a lot of the former. Was it great for catharsis? Damn straight it was! Did it move the ball forward in any meaningful way? Not one bit. Grayson was doing an audition to replace Ed Schultz on MSNBC but he was doing it on the tax payer’s dime. I’m not shedding a lot of tears that the audition was canceled.
The other loss that I almost cheered was that of Joe Sestak in Pennsylvania. When Sestak unseated party-switcher Arlen Specter for the Senatorial nomination he made a huge self-righteous ruckus about how the Obama administration tried to buy him off so he wouldn’t run. Honest-Abe Sestak rejected the “bribes”. All this did was fire up the “impeachment” advocates claiming that Obama had authorized political dirty tricks for which he should be punished. A good Democrat would have kept his big fat mouth shut but no, Joe had to prove to everyone what a virtuous guy he was. I nearly vomited at the time and I found him equally obnoxious in his concession speech last night. By the way, his daughter was obnoxious too …
Most Obnoxious Performance on Election Night
That award goes to Joe Sestak’s daughter Alex. Yes, I know I’ve been beaten up on this blog in the past for prodding at politician’s families but I’m sorry, this kid needed a good swift kick in the ass. As Joe attempted to give his concession speech, not five seconds would go by without Alex interrupting him with some pithy comment. Her mother smiled ear to ear with that look you’ve seen on mothers who mistake their children’s rudeness for “just being precocious”. Joe seemed slightly less amused and I was expecting him any minute to scream “I JUST LOST THE MOST IMPORTANT POLITICAL RACE OF MY LIFE …. WOULD YOU SHUT THE F**K UP?????” Instead, Joe just grinned and carried on. At the end of his speech he lifted his “little girl” up in the air and for a split second, I thought he was gonna throw her into the crowd like Alice Cooper throwing a chicken into a mosh pit. No such luck.
Later in the week, I’ll share my thoughts on where progressives should go from here.