You know its going to be a good night for the GOP when the pundits on MSNBC are arguing whether its a big win for the Republican Party, or an historic win. According to Keith Olbermann there is no way its an historic win.
Honestly, it doesn’t really matter what you want to call it. Today the Editors of Time Magazine will be “eating their words” of May 2009 when they declared the Republican Party an endangered species. They will have company at their feast, the Editors of Newsweek who declared that we are all socialists now. Both of those concepts were killed off tonight.
There were individual victories that were extra-special, Daniel Webster ousting the village idiot of the House, Alan Grayson, Lt. Col Allen West who was so impressive during CPAC when he faced me an my microphone, Marco Rubio the new future of the GOP, just to name a few.
The Tea Party
You will hear pundits explain that if it wasn’t for the Tea Party nominations of Sharron Angle and Christine O’Donnell the GOP would have won the Senate. That is a load of rubbish. If there was no Tea Party movement, the House would have remained in Democratic Party Hands and the Senate would not have been close enough to have the debate about whether the Tea Party “blew the Senate” for the Republicans.
But in the end the it was the Tea Party that caused the “retirement” of Nancy Pelosi.
The House of Representatives is known as the “people’s house,” more than any other body of our government, the founding fathers set up the House to reflect the will of the people. These election day results were a major rejection of the President’s agenda. It wasn’t just about the economy, exit polls reported that voters want the progressive agenda stopped. The problem is will the President heed that message.
President Obama is scheduled to make a day after the election speech, what he says will be very telling.
If Obama tells America that he “got the message” look for him to attempt to make a Bill Clinton-type pivot. However it’s very doubtful that this President has a mea culpa in him. Should the POTUS simply talk about the end of bi-partisanship (which he is expected to do) and that he looks forward to working with the GOP on his agenda look for Chicago politics as usual. Even if he plays nice with the Congress, chances are he will shove through his agenda via executive fiat (for example cap and trade via the EPA). This path which he is expected to take will turn off America even further.
Don’t forget part of the public’s disillusionment with the progressive Democrats was they didn’t listen to the people. Should the President not acknowledge the public spanking he received, the 43% approval ratings he now has will be the high point the last two years of his first and only term.
The House will become even more partisan than before. The big losers on the Democratic side were the Blue dogs. The Democratic Caucus will be more liberal than it was prior to the election, there will be as much bickering as before but a consensus may be easier. The Democrats had 255 seats but that included the more “moderate” blue dogs. The GOP tally will be closer to 240-245 seats, but they wont have to contend with a “blue dog” type problem, in fact many of the surviving Democratic blue dogs may join the GOP in some votes.
The result in the Senate may have been the best possible scenario for the GOP. The Democrats still have control of the upper body so the President cannot get away with blaming every log jam on the GOP (he may try but that’s what citizen journalists are for). However that control may be in name only. In 2012 another 33 Senators will be campaigning for re-election. Twenty-three of the 33 will be Democrats (if you include independents Bernie Sanders and Joe Lieberman). Even if the President doesn’t get it, those Senators who have to run two years will. Chances are some of them, such as Ben Nelson for example, may find themselves agreeing with the GOP as a matter of survival.
Lame Duck Session
The Senate will not go hog-wild trying to push through radical progressive bills during a lame duck session. First of all one of the new GOP Senators gets seated right away (Kirk in Illinois). Secondly as described above 2012 is not that far away.
As for the House, for the next month it will be led by the most left-wing Democrats possible, along with a group of blue dogs with nothing to lose. From the House Democrats expect something akin to John Belushi’s famous speech in Animal House. (if you cannot see video below click here)
The GOP/Tea Party Future
The Democratic party win two years ago had as much to do with voter “anger” as this year’s vote. Probably the thing most convincing about candidate Barack Obama, was that he was a believable “Washington DC outsider.” His speeches promising a new way of doing things, fighting politics as usual and listening to the American people was appealing to voters. However, it didn’t take long for Americans to see that his new way of doing things was just the same old Chicago-style politics, his fighting politics campaign against politics as usual was executed by hiring every ex-Clinton appointee that he could dig up supplemented with fringe progressives, and his way of listening to the American people was to pushing through programs they didn’t want ignoring the will of the people was ignored.
To be clear the record GOP was not a swing to the Republican Party as much as it’s a swing against Washington politics as usual. The Democrats lost because they misread the results of of the 2008 election and ignored the people when they were given warnings to shape up as in the victory of Scott Brown in Mass.
But this does not mean the Republicans won. The reality is that voters in 2010 did the the same thing they did in 2006 and 2008: They voted against the party in power. More than anything it reflects a rejection of both major political parties.
That’s where the “promise” of the grass roots tea party comes in. If the Republican party wishes to maintain and build upon the victory won in the 2010 midterms they better understand why they won. They didn’t win because they are the Grand Old Party, but because promised to deliver what Americans are demanding, smaller government, a cut in government spending, and a walk-back of the progressive policies shoved down our throats during the past two years. If they don’t deliver, 2012 may see the Tea Party delivering a political tsunami in a totally different direction.