In a NewsRealBlog post last week, I wrote about the top 10 excuses Democrats will make for why they were destroyed in Tuesday’s historic midterm elections. Apparently I gave Democrats too much credit. I was assuming they would accept the fact that they had been defeated.
Any self-respecting coach who boasted a season average loss of 65 points would consider letting someone else take charge. As Michael Tomasky observes of midterm elections, “[Y]ou lose 65 seats, you resign. Period. There should not be a question.” But Congressional Democrats have expressed so little interest in replacing House Majority (soon to be Minority) Leader Nancy Pelosi that you might be forgiven for thinking she were a Republican plant.
(Perhaps liberal columnist Susan Estrich is also a Republican plant; see her hilarious but non-satirical column, “Nancy Pelosi, Superhero.”)
Pelosi plans to celebrate the wild success of the 111th Congress with a swanky soiree in the Cannon House Office Building.
Let’s catalogue the damage from Tuesday’s elections. Approximately 40% of incoming House GOP freshmen are affiliated with the Tea Party, and five (six if Joe Miller wins) of the seven Senate pickups are for Tea Party candidates. This is to say nothing of reelected incumbents who are already Tea Party luminaries, such as Representative Michele Bachmann and Senator Jim DeMint.
Not only did Republicans net more than 60 House seats, 7 Senate seats, 7 governorships, and dozens of state legislatures—which should be a strong enough signal to Democrats that America is sick of their policies—but these candidates are on average more conservative and less likely to vote for Democratic legislation than Republicans in the current Congress. Reelected incumbent Tea Party Congressmen are also more likely to pick up key chairmanships and leadership posts and exert greater influence over Congress.
But of the incoming GOP freshman class, the website ThinkProgress.com cries, “91% have sworn to never allow an income tax increase on any individual or business… 79% have pledged to permanently repeal the estate tax… 48% are pushing for a balanced budget amendment”—as though the American people weren’t wildly in favor of all of these proposals.
Paul Krugman hasn’t stopped his wailing for more federal stimulus spending and currency manipulation. His latest diatribe, one week after the election, is indistinguishable from his diatribes from one week or even three months ago. On Monday he proposed “weakening the dollar” and “leading people to believe that we will have somewhat above-normal inflation over the next few years,” citing as supporters of his crazy policies “many economists, some regional Fed presidents and the International Monetary Fund”—by which he means “discredited Keynesians, the people responsible for the mess we’re in, and the organization that has destroyed economies worldwide from Indonesia to Ireland.”
Apparently liberal commentators don’t just want surviving Congressional Democrats to commit suicide again. Evidently they’d also like it if our Commander in Chief did so as well. Former Clinton Labor Secretary Robert Reich advises President Obama to dig in like FDR in 1936, rather than move to the center like Clinton in 1994. Frank Rich recommends that Obama dare Republicans to enact the tax and spending cuts they propose, and suggests that if the GOP does this, the Democratic Party will come roaring back in 2012 like Harry Truman in 1948.
Dan Froomkin of the Huffington Post muses, “[T]he big question will be what lesson Obama takes from Tuesday’s election results. If he and his advisors are finally ready to acknowledge that the source of voter unhappiness was government ineffectiveness—rather than government overreach… then there’s plenty of room for him to maneuver on his own.” Wrong lesson! Try again.
Froomkin continues: “Indeed, progressives are urging him to seize the opportunity to take a more muscular approach with his executive powers… They also hope Obama will use his regulatory authority, his enforcement powers, and his prerogatives as commander in chief to make decisive moves that can’t be sabotaged by Congressional Republicans.” Wow—it’s as though Froomkin is directly channeling the collective will of American voters!
DeWayne Wickham of USA Today declares, “Don’t wave a white flag; hoist the battle flag. That’s what Barack Obama should do… The lesson to be learned… is not that Democrats should surrender to the right wing. It is that they should put up a better fight to move their agenda.” These cute sentiments are almost excusable in the waning weeks and days before an election—who doesn’t like an optimist, a persistent fighter, an underdog—but a week after the Democrats were destroyed? Reality hasn’t sunk in for these people yet?
Sensible Toby Harnden of the UK Telegraph predicts, “Obama is not about to move to the centre… Nothing in his career indicates he is ready to cut deals with political opponents. He is sure what he believes is right; if you don’t agree with him, he pities you for being so slow to understand… Last Tuesday was a setback like nothing else he had experienced in life and it appears to have left his enormous sense of self-assurance undiminished.”
And Wesley Pruden notes, “President Obama thinks nobody is really mad about what he’s done—they just want a little soothing syrup on it. He promises better speeches to describe the same old soggy dish the dogs won’t touch.”
Please note that all of this Democratic blindness is occurring despite a marked absence of gloating on the part of the GOP, who recognize that the Tea Party threw them a lifeline and that they had better hold onto it tight if they want to survive the next election cycle. Democrats are arguably no less triumphant about their performance last Tuesday than Republicans.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said last week, “[T]he White House has a choice: they can change course, or they can double down on a vision of government that the American people have roundly rejected.” Alas, it appears that Democrats are choosing the latter.
To paraphrase an oft-cited definition of insanity: being a Democrat means doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different electoral results.
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- 2012 Could Be Worse Than 2010 for Democrats (politics.usnews.com)
- Bad news Democrats _ 2012 could be worse than 2010 (sfgate.com)
- Cantor: If Pelosi stays, then Dems don’t get it (sfgate.com)
- Rachel Maddow Says Fight But Is Pelosi A Fighter? (middle-class-populist.com)
- Nancy Pelosi’s House with no center (sfgate.com)