November 8, 2010

7 Reasons the GOP’s House Takeover was No “Wave”

All the credit goes to the folks at AlterNet for this one, but while many people are sitting back and wailing about the loss of the House to the Republicans as something catastrophic, the one thing you won’t hear anyone but the Republicans themselves saying is that they have some kind of mandate to reduce spending and create jobs – two things that are all but impossible to do since employing people involves spending money on those people. As usual, the instant the Republicans and their tea party friends win a few elections, they’re back to their Bush Era paradoxical talk and impossible promises – after all, those promises and paradoxes are what got them elected.

A lot of good Democrats lost in the House, but in some cases I don’t regret their losing – Blue Dog Democrats who caucused with the Dems but voted with the Repubs, or who held up critical legislation in order to push their own semi-centrist agenda won’t be missed. This is a rallying call for the Democrats who remain to trust in their progressive base and go on the attack, and make sure the American people know loud and clear who’s responsible when the improvements already in place either start to stall, or when one of those new Tea Party freaks does something stupid, says something racist/sexist/homophobic, and inevitably gets busted taking money from the private industries whose boots they lick.

Perhaps the only loss I’m really mourning is the Senate seat of Russ Feingold – the one Senator who voted against the Patriot Act, the one Senator who truly appreciated and respected the rights and civil liberties of the American people, voted out and replaced with a car salesman who bought his way into the Senate with a ridiculous amount of money. Just goes to show you where the Tea Party heads are at, doesn’t it?

So they’re in the House now with a ridiculously slim majority, no majority in the Senate, and an agenda that includes something like repealing Health Care reform, which I would almost be happy to see them try to do – they’re going to need a whole lot more votes to do that, and any effort they make to try and pull people in front of Congress to talk about the new health care laws, the more the American people will see what it does for them, so good luck with that.

Regardless, over at AlterNet, there’s an excellent list of 7 reasons why this was anything but a “wave,” and nothing compared to the 08 elections, and while it’s worrysome in many ways, it’s nothing that progressives can’t rally against – and we all should. Here are a couple of highlights:

We thought a little perspective was in order, so without further preamble, here are seven things progressives should keep in mind after Tuesday’s drubbing:

1. Midterm elections, unlike presidential races, are a collection of low-turnout, localized contests rather than a barometer of the nation’s ideological tilt.

The GOP’s gains in last night’s elections, as Rosenberg notes, “are part of the predictable rebalancing that occurs between presidential elections, rather than ideological shifts in the electorate.”

2. The electorate is hopping mad, but they still dislike Republicans. A month before an election that has swept some rather extreme GOPers into Congress, an Associated Press-GfK Poll found that “60 percent disapprove of the job congressional Democrats are doing — yet 68 percent frown on how Republicans are performing.”

A New York Times/CBS News poll last week found that while a majority of Americans voted GOP yesterday, the electorate “continues to have a more favorable opinion of the Democratic Party than of the Republican Party, with 46 percent favoring Democrats and 41 favoring Republicans.”

This will be the third consecutive year in which the party out of power wins. That’s not a measure of the country’s ideological leanings, it’s a sign that people are hurting and are mad as hell about it (in case one needed such a sign).

3. Blue Dogs took the brunt of it. The loss of Wisconsin’s liberal lion, Russ Feingold, is a blow to the progressive movement. Alan Grayson’s defeat in Florida hurts. Other good lawmakers were booted out of office last night as well. But in many cases, what we saw were conservatives with Ds next to their names replaced with conservatives with Rs.

I’ll leave the others – really good ones, I might add, to you to head over and check out.

[ It’s Not the End of the World — 7 Things Progressives Need to Keep in Mind About Last Night’s GOP ‘Wave’ ]
Source: AlterNet

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