Not So Much An Election As A Restraining Order
With apologies to P. J. O’Rouke for the title, last night was a historic night for the GOP, but I have a feeling this was more the voters saying "Stop!" to Obama than it was saying "Go!" to the Republicans.
Still, there were other things at work here than a Democratic smackdown. Witness the shift of so many state governments to the Republicans. These folks weren’t the ones who bailed out banks, took over car companies or squirmed a health care bill through Congress. And yet, for example, for the first time since Reconstruction, Georgia’s major state offices will all be held by Republicans. While the wave last night certainly helped, this is a shift that has been going on for years. The state legislature shift is, I think, the underreported story of the night (though Erick Erickson gives us a good view of it). It’s important because in many cases it is so historic ("not since the 19th century" historic, in a few cases), and because reapportionment is happening this year due to the census. This is big, and I think it’s more than just coattails.
But if you look at things like how well Democrats did who had voted for the health care reform bill, it’s clear that there was, indeed, a significant portion of the vote that was a referendum on Obama and the Democratic Congress. Complaining from Democrats that the bill wasn’t explained enough, over the course of 6 months, is simply a refusal to face facts; the American people generally did not want this behemoth. There was a price to pay for all the shenanigans done to get it passed.
Another big repudiation of the evening was of the media. (Hmm, repudiation of Democrats and the media. Why do these two groups keep getting mentioned together, I wonder?) Uniquely labeling the Tea Party "extreme" by mainstream reporters and pundits alike, and spending so much press trying to make Christine O’Donnell the de facto face of the Tea Party, the voters have apparently decided for themselves what is or isn’t "extreme" and who’s endorsement (rather than the press’s) they’ll listen to (i.e. Sarah Palin’s picks are currently running more than 2 to 1 in the win column).
Other interesting highlights:
No to recreational pot: Californians voted No to make marijuana more available than it already is.
Arizona governor re-elected: Jan Brewer got a vote of confidence from her state. Apparently, enforcing laws that the feds refuse to enforce hasn’t been the economic meltdown her detractors claimed it would be.
I’ll close with some words from Don Surber, but read the whole thing.
This is not a normal midterm election in which the president’s party typically loses seats. In the last 10 midterms, a president’s party has averaged a loss of 12 House and two Senate seats.
That includes 1994’s tsunami, as then-Congressman Bob Wise put it.
President Carter lost 15 House and three Senate seats in his midterm.
Obama lost 59+ and 7+.
This was a big deal.
But I say to Republicans: Great, kids. Don’t get cocky.
The battle has just begun.
Like this post? Subscribe to my RSS feed and get loads more!