Well, we took some blows yesterday. For a great round-up of some of the results, check out Andy Towle’s.
I have to say I’m very sad to see Patrick Murphy and Alan Grayson go, among others. Nothing is more disturbing than the ousting of three of Iowa’s Supreme Court Justices simply because they ruled (unanimously, as you my recall) in favor of marriage equality. It is incredibly petty to punish judges for doing their job (especially since it doesn’t change the state of marriage equality in Iowa), but that’s the world we live in.
But rather than sit around bemoaning a “bloodbath,” I’m here to say that I’m actually optimistic. Democrats held the Senate, and we pushed back Tea Partiers like Christine O’Donnell, Sharron Angle, and it looks like Joe Miller too. Our LGBT caucus in the House grew with the addition of David Cicilline. In California, progressive values won out over big money with victories for Barbara Boxer and Jerry Brown.
And you know what? It only gets more fun from here. I’m no political consultant, but consider this…
As long as the Democrats had significant majorities in both houses, Republicans weren’t beholden to deliver. All they had to do was obstruct the Dems until they could regain some power (which they did quite well). But now the Republicans control the House and the Senate is more evenly split. If Republicans are in power, they can’t get away with just being the party of “No!” anymore. They have to try. And not only that, they have to be bipartisan about it. They have to get bills through a Democratically controlled Senate and then past, lest we forget, a Democratic President, for whose vetoes they do not have nearly enough votes to overturn.
Plus, there are now a few Tea Partiers in the mix now to shake things up (like Rand Paul), and from what I can tell, they are not allegiant to the Republican base. They might prove to be wild cards who create obstacles for the Republican leadership (and, well, probably everyone else too).
So, either we see all our representatives actually start working together, or we have no government for two years. That’s certainly possible, especially if Republicans/Tea Partiers obstruct raising the debt ceiling by the deadline and the whole federal government shuts down. I’d love to see the Republicans try to spin that one in 2012!
And honestly, we probably won’t beat up on President Obama as much. Speaking at least for myself, my biggest frustration has been that Obama has caved on so much in the name of bipartisan compromise when he didn’t have to. He gave away a lot to Republicans and he got absolutely nothing in return. Now, he has a bipartisan legislature, so hopefully that strategy works a little bit better. We have to lower our standard for what he can accomplish, which isn’t good, but if we aren’t all as mad at him in two years, that’s probably a good thing.
So chin up, folks! The game goes on, and this time around the other team actually has to play.
By the way, I just want to share something about Pennsylvania. I often talk about central Pennsylvania as “middle America” and people seem to react, “Oh, no! You’re on the east coast! It’s so progressive there. You’re so close to the action. It’s completely unrealistic to describe yourself as being far removed.”
Well, that person would right about Philadelphia and sometimes Pittsburgh, and population-wise those two cities help in elections. That person would be wrong about the rest of our fair commonwealth.
Here is what our Senate results looked like. Pat Toomey (R) beat Joe Sestak (D) 51-49, but look at how the counties break down (courtesy MSNBC).
Here’s the governor’s race. Tom Corbett (R) beat Dan Onorato (D) 55-45.
I’m drowning in red out here in the boonies…