I started to get the sinking feeling some time around 8:30 last night that things were not going to go well. The early numbers were coming in, and races that I had good confidence in were not going as expected. By 9:00, I was fairly certain that the House was lost, and so today it is – with the Senate hanging by less than a cat’s whisker. The TV was off and I was in bed by 11.
After the initial shock comes acceptance, and so that’s where I am at today. The Dems are doing their best to play up last night’s election results as a “referendum against Bush / the War on Terror”, etc. Don’t believe it. Two of largest win margins were chalked up by WoT supporters (Arnold and Leiberman). If anything, the results of last night are a glowing example of just how out of touch the Republican Party is with their core constituents right now. The foundations that were successfully laid by Reagan and Gingrich were being neglected to the point of decay. Somewhere along the line, both the cart and horse ran way off the road.
If you believe in the ebb and flow theory of politics, then this turnaround was expected. What you see now is what happens when a party is in control for any extended period of time: they become complacent, fat and sloppy. If any good comes out of this, hopefully it will be the Republicans looking at themselves in the mirror this morning and realizing that what Republicans want to see in office are Republicans – not RINOs that play the “moderate” card without bringing any real thoughts or ideas to the table.
The Dems ran a campaign based on painting their opponents as “being with Bush”. The mistake the Reps made was not standing up to that and saying, “You bet your ASS we are with the President. We’re fighting the biggest threat to Western Civilization since Nazism, you idiot”. Instead, it was the same old smear-and-smear-more campaign. Maybe people are tired of that. Who knows. I’m certainly have my issues with Bush – the way he spends like a drunken sailor at the local whorehouse and never met a veto he didn’t sign – even disagreeing at time on how the War on Terror is being handled – but the alternative option was far more distasteful in my humble opinion. Others seem to have disagreed.
I guess what I am most disappointed about today is lost opportunity. We had 6 years of Republicans in the Oval Office, House and Senate. There was a golden opportunity to push through some REAL issues – REAL immigration reform (not that “guest visa” nightmare that Bush keeps pushing), REAL tax reforms, you name it. Instead, there were to many tangential issues that to be honest, the majority of Republicans (and Americans, for that matter) weren’t really all jacked up about. Sure, there was the Democratic stonewall that reared its’ ugly head whenever a judicial nomination came up – but with all three branches controlled by one party, it just feels like we showed up for a kick ass road trip, but no one remembered to buy gas. In many ways, W is too much like his Dad…mamby and pamby at the worst of times (when the Cowboy in him was most needed).
It also irks me that while a change at this juncture is not surprising, I guess it is what we are left with that is the most disturbing. I woke up today fully aware that not only had the Republicans lost the house (and possibly the Senate), but what we are left with is the usual Democratic refugees from Dick Tracy’s Rouge’s Gallery: a Klansman in West Virginia, a potential terrorist sympathizer in Minnesota, the swimmer / murderer in Massachusettes, a run-of-the-mill thug in New Jersey and a carpet-bagging leech in New York. Never mind the fact that we’re about to be saddled with the most oblivious raving lunatic ever to be installed as Speaker of the House in possibly this country’s history. It’s hard to find solace and feel good about that.
Despite the way this will be played up, what happened last night isn’t even CLOSE to the Republican Revolution of 1994. As waves go, this was no tsunami. I look at it this way: if I lived through the Rangers winning the Stanley Cup, the Red Sox winning the World Series and TWO TERMS of Clinton, I can live through this, easy.
The GOP has two years to get their act together and learn from these mistakes. Hopefully, the Democrats wont muck up the political process so much that our enemies have two free years of scheming to try and kill more of us. The focus is now on them. They wont be able to get by on bitching and moaning anymore. Since the Democrats did so well in the minority of mucking things up, threatening filibusters and locking up judicial nominees, maybe the Republicans can return the favor.
Bottom line now is to focus on 2008. The madness stops NOW.
PS – Despite the gloom and doom, we had a great time in the Hot Air Election Night Chat Room last night. It was about as much fun as you can have while watching your pet hamster get run over by a mack truck!
Some good advice from the legendary Ray Stevens.
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