I am super-duper liberal. Like, socialist liberal. Like, gays getting married, hybrid-driving, healthcare and legalized marijuana for all, liberal. I should, by all rights, be really upset this morning. After all, it was a total bloodbath last night for Democrats! The streets ran blue with liberal blood!
But I feel… fine. Actually, I’m not even sure why I’m supposed to be upset. I don’t even understand how the Republicans kicked Democrat’s asses. Am I missing something? Yes, the Republicans took the House. And yes, Democrats lost some Senate seats. Is that sad? Yes. But honestly, what were we all expecting? Because I was expecting to have traumatic Bush flashbacks and retreat to my bunker/Canada to cry. And that totally didn’t happen.
What happened was, the Democrats lost a moderate amount of seats, which I think we all knew was going to happen. Not only does the party in power always lose seats at the midterms, but these weren’t any old midterms. These are midterms in the middle of a recession with a president who has, for whatever reasons you choose to attribute to him, deeply polarized the nation. He had a huge Democratic majority to work with in Congress, yes, but he may as well not have. The Democratic majority was achieved in 2006 when the Democratic party put up candidates in traditionally Republican areas that were Democrats in name only, deciding that the label was more important than passing some sort of policy purity test. And yet, people are surprised that in those contentious districts, those Democrats didn’t hold on?
If, knowing what I know about government, I was forced to choose which house of Congress Republicans would take, the House or the Senate, it’s a disgustingly easy choice. House – always have them take the House. Why? Because the House can’t pass anything without going through the Senate. Which has caused a problem, actually, because the House has already passed oodles of legislation. They have, in fact, passed 420 different bills that are all waiting on the Senate’s approval. This means that the Senate would need to pass or kill a bill almost every single day to even work through the massive backlog, and we all know they’re never going to take just a day to pass, say, the immigration reform bill that’s awaiting their attention, or those jobs bills, or the defense bill, or cap and trade. The House could pass nothing at all and the Senate would still be kept busy until 2012.
So what, then, am I mourning? Am I mourning the loss of the almost-super majority? Because that turned out to be pretty useless. Am I mourning the government grinding to even more of a halt than a Republican minority had already ground it? Where is this crushing, defeated feeling that everyone speaks of coming from? Because I’m not feeling the might of the Republican party. I’m feeling kind of smug, actually. This election should have been a cakewalk for Republicans. They should have had landslides all over the country. They should have taken both houses easily. This should have been the mirror image of what 2006 was to the Democrats. It’s like we were supposed to get punched in the face so we all bled red, and instead the Republicans gave us a purple nurple. (Like my how my analogy also uses the proper colors? Yeah, I thought you’d appreciate that.)
What’s more, this could be a fantastic opportunity for Obama’s re-election. What would be better to rail against than an ineffective Congress that’s utterly cuckolded him with partisan bickering? How better to look like he’s risen above it all than to play the harried executive who can’t herd his Congress any better than one could herd cats? Granted, this was already true of what was going on in Washington before this election, but it’s a pretty hard concept to illustrate when your party has just won a crushing victory, taking both houses of Congress and the Executive in a landslide. It looks more like you’ve punched a kid, taken his lunch money, and now are saying how unfair and hard your life is.
This is not to say I’m totally unconcerned or not upset. I am. I’m concerned about the fate of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. I’m concerned about redistricting in the Midwest. I’m concerned about unemployment for the next two years. And I’m absolutely desolate at the thought of losing New York politician Jimmy McMillan of the Rent Is 2 Damn High party, because he’s easily the most entertaining human being I’ve seen in years. He’s like if Dr. Evil and Colonel Sanders had a Black baby and then he had a tragic seizure that restricted his verbal ability to repeating one phrase over and over again. I would pay to watch him host a television show. Or at least be autotuned on Youtube somewhere.
But let’s look at what America looks like this morning – it’s pretty damn close to what it looked like yesterday. The crazy conservative candidates (with the exception of Rand Paul, but he’s from Kentucky, which means they no longer count as part of a logical reality) have lost. The government is still gridlocked. The Democrats are not dead. You are not dead. The sun is shining (at least where I am), the birds are chirping, and America has returned to its favorite, vaguely centrist resting place.
And honestly, I feel pretty damn good.