Don’t let it be said that I’m too full of myself to admit when I’m wrong. I’m certainly too full of myself for lots of other things, but not that….
I honestly believed – right up to last night – that the Dems would probably be just fine in their majorities in the 2010 elections. I was wrong.
The Dems managed to hold the Senate, though in all honestly, the numbers from last night make it clear that all us Liberals owe a debt of gratitude to Sarah Palin, Sharron Angle and Christine O’Donnell for that. Count that as a “Win” for #4 on my list. In fact, things have gone so badly for Sarah Palin that even when Dems lose, they still win in Alaska: Senator Murkowski looks poised to take back her seat despite being primaried by a Tea Party and Sarah Palin-backed Joe Miller. Murkowski is hardly a leftie, but she certainly looks it when compared to Joe Miller.
I am very surprised that voters went for Republicans in such large numbers, but then, Democrats and the Obama White House have done such a poor job of at least getting credit for the things they did accomplish that our current result set was probably inevitable. That would be why #1 in my list didn’t matter: even when winning, the prevaricating, overly-cautious Democrats looked like they were losing. So all those great accomplishments meant nothing to the voting public.
#3 on my list, the myth of low voter turnout, turned out to be false almost immediately. The “enthusiasm gap” seems to have had nothing to do with the loss, but rather a swing among Independents.
That leaves #’s 2 and 5. Both burned the Republicans once, the Democrats once. And if they don’t shape up, the lack of cohesive planning and vision will burn them both next election.
I am curious now what the average rate of incumbency is in the Congress, relative to say 2000? Have long-term incumbents like Harry Reid been given a pass in favour of a lot of cannon fodder candidates? Certainly at the margins, that is always true. But have the huge swings in voting habits of the American people resulted in a genuine shake-up of Washington’s elite, or just made for good television and lots of heartburn for us political watchers?
If you have any details, I’d love to hear it.