Home > Uncategorized > My Reflections On The Nov. 2 Midterms

My Reflections On The Nov. 2 Midterms

My colleague columnist Shaun Mullen at The Moderate Voice reflects that voters will be the losers in the Nov. 2 midterm elections because too many winning Republican candidates are not serious about governing.

Wrong. That would be the fallacy of a political scientist or a pundit sitting in the center or left on the political pendulum. It is easy to take potshots and ridicule not-ready-for-prime-time Tea Party Republican candidates who want to privatize Social Security and Medicare but also argue unemployment benefits are unconstitutional and the U.S. Department of Education should be abolished.

There are far too many people on the right who believe that the nation has gone to hell since the Franklin Roosevelt administration. Fortunately, there are not enough of these “return our nation to the people” to return to the days of Herbert Hoover.

What moderates and progressives forget is that good governing is not always passing legislation for the sake of creating new laws.

Where the right wingnuts have gone wrong is to impugn any Republican who dares compromise his principles and cross the aisle to craft legislation. This is why I think Sen. Jim DeMint of South Carolina and his following of hand-picked Tea Party Republicans are living in a fantasy world in which from a practical standpoint no legislation will be passed, at least in the Senate.

A bloke like me thinks that’s exactly what they want. That’s not democracy. It is dictatorship. My way or the highway, they are telling us.

Where Mullen and I agree is that once the public gets a taste of reality when specifics are entered into the equation of political dogma, nothing gets done, legislative logjams paralyze both Houses and the freshmen politicians realize they are under one-term limitations for being heroes in principle and losers in governance.

The progressive base of the Democratic Party is just as bad as the right’s base. Common wisdom says the Obama coalition is sitting out the midterms in a lack of passion because there is no public option in the health care reform law, Don’t Ask Don’t Tell is still policy in the armed services and the landmark successes of Bush’s bank bailout law, the stimulus, health care and financial reform were too watered down and rendered meaningless.

The “professional left” is demonized by the White House press secretary for not getting its way 100% and that same left demonizes the crackpots on the right for being out of the mainstream.

Mullen says once these ultra conservatives reach Washington, they will be eaten alive by the jaws of Beltway machinations. I’m not so sure. Rather than a DeMint here, a Jim Bunning there and a Joe Wilson in the galleries, there will be several dozen more just like them. And the more the big media exposes them as fools, their constituents’ backs will stiffen with more resolve.

Of course they all could turn into hypocrites like the Republican leadership which announces the stimulus plan as a failure but behind the scenes ear pencil pork projects for their home districts.

My vision of the next Congress, unlike my colleague, is looking at a glass half empty. With a Republican House, it doesn’t matter the party breakdown in the Senate. I not only fail to see much legislation of consequence getting done, I don’t even imagine 96% of the stuff now passed by unanimous consent will see the light of day because of Tea Party obstructionists (or true heroes) in the House and by secret holds in the Senate.

Yes, the voters may be the real losers in these midterms. The winners will be people like me and Shaun and Ezra Klein and guys like Charles Krauthammer and David Brooks blowing the whistle and exposing these dolts from both parties for what they are.

Mark my word, the 112th Congress will go down as the worst “do nothing” Congress in history. That does not bode well for any Republican presidential candidate in 2012.

(Photo courtesy brownpelicanla.com)


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