I’ve studiously avoided posting much in the way of politically-tinged content here for at least a few years — I’ve constrained much of my flip commentary to my Twitter account, but my thoughts on yesterday’s election results exceed that limited format, so if you’ll bear with me for the span of a post, I’d like to jot down some of my thoughts/reactions.
- As strange as it sounds, I think the GOP’s failure to capture the Senate could be a good thing for the Party’s prospects come 2012. Securing both houses could have induced intellectual laziness on the part of Congressional Republicans and it could have raised unreasonable expectations from the voting public as to what, exactly, the GOP could accomplish over the following two years. The gridlock will likely be impressive and the fact that funding bills must originate in the House are decided advantages.
- The best news of the night: Senators-elect Pat Toomey, Marco Rubio and Ron Johnson; Representatives-elect Tim Scott, Dan Webster, Allen West, Renee Ellmers and Chip Cravack; Governors-elect Tom Corbett and Nikki Haley
- The night’s biggest losers, in order:
House Democrats, Nancy Pelosi/DCCC, the myth of TEA Party invincibility, the NRSC/GOP Senatorial leadership, Sarah Palin’s potential for a 2012 Presidential run, and Chuck Schumer. Reasons?
- The first three should be obvious.
- The NRSC was atrocious this year: endorsing candidates in the primaries, withholding funding after non-preferred candidates won said primaries, anonymous sniping, refusal to strip Murkowski (ptui!) of her chairmanships and a general lack of investment in high-visibility races. While Miller in AK may yet pull it out, chances are slim for Buck in CO and lack of adult supervision likely helped sink Angle in NV. Rubio succeeded in spite of the “establishment” in FL. O’Donnell called it “party cannibalism”, a term that (while it may not have sunk her individual candidacy) aptly sums up what went on in my opinion. John Cornyn should lose his job.
- Palin’s reputation as a kingmaker for electable candidates has taken a beating in the Senate contests (in particular O’Donnell and Angle) while her last-minute robocall for Tancredo in CO seems to have done little. Fair or not, the general public views her as out-of-the-mainstream and little better than O’D and Angle and the voters have shown that, even when confronted with terrible candidates like Harry Reid, they’ll vote for the dirtbag over the loon.
- Chuck Schumer was really hoping for a Reid loss last night in order to assure his coronation as Senate majority leader. I’d watch my back if I were Harry Reid, though — I’m still not convinced Schumer won’t back an insurgency under the guise of “fresh blood in leadership”.
- The prevailing pre-election conventional media wisdom held that voters were “angry” and were looking to “punish” “incumbents” in a vengeful, largely logic-free vote. These results would suggest otherwise. In order to carry as many governorships and yet lose corresponding Senate seats, the GOP had to have been facing a lot of folks willing to split their vote, a practice that hardly ranks as “angry”. Instead, it seem that voters were well-informed and sought to make careful, well-thought-out decisions in the voting booth.
- I like Mike Pence. I think his Presidential ambitions may well be overselling his prospects and his refusal to run for a House leadership post may well end up being a bad thing for both himself and conservative interests in the Congress.
- The results of this election most profoundly affecting the nation will likely not be felt until at least the Presidential election of 2012, if not the midterms of 2014. The GOP took a tremendous number of state legislatures and governorships which will allow for a great deal of redistricting that could end up being net benefits to the GOP.
- As a certified Person of Pallor, I feel slightly unqualified to comment upon issues of diversity, but it seems as though a lot of non-WASPs won GOP seats last night — Allen West, Tim Scott, Nikki Haley, Susana Martinez, Raul Labrador, Marco Rubio and a few others I’m forgetting. I think this is a great thing, as it brings in a lot of fresh perspective and demonstrates that, counter to the prevailing narrative, the Republican party is indeed one that can and will embrace people of all races, creeds and origins, as long as they’re united in their view of the proper role of government.
All-in-all, it was far from my ideal night, particularly in regards to the Senate results, but I’ll certainly take the statehouse results over the alternatives.