Well, that was, um, awful.
I knew it was coming, this GOP wave taking over the House of Representatives. Occasionally, I’d tell myself that maybe slumbering Democratic voters would wake up in time to stop the carnage, but lethargy and disillusionment are powerful de-motivators.
I’ve spent the past few days coming up with Onion-style headlines about a GOP House. So far, I have two:
- House Majority, citing uncertain citizenship status of neighbors, votes to move the Capital to suburbs.
- Republicans plan IPO for America; Exxon, Dow, and Goldman Sachs announce multi-industry consortium to buy majority of shares.
Realistically, given that the Republicans only control half of the legislature, the worst thing they’ll be able to do is hold endless hearings about the socialist books the Obamas keep in the White House library and how they – ZOMG – offered a job to Joe Sestak to clear Arlen Specter’s path in the Pennsylvania democratic Senate Primary. (And yes – Darrel Issa, the car alarm king who gave us the California gubernatorial recall and referred to this non-event as Obama’s “Watergate” – will chair the House Oversight committee in the next Congress.) But other than pass laws that the Senate, as always, gums to death over time, there’s not much affirmative policy damage John Boehner and company can do.
Furthermore, Obama is still in office, and understands, I’m sure, that it’s better to have a nemesis controlled by the opposition party (the House) than his own (the Senate). It will be a lot easier for him to, um, compare and contrast, shall we say, when he can talk about a monolithic (and trust me – the GOP will be just that) opponent than his frustration with Senate procedure.
Which brings me to those of you in the media who pontificate on these things. Yesterday, I heard one analyst on my local NPR station caution against the Democrats trying to puh anything through during the lame duck legislative session – or at least anything republicans don’t like – because that would make Republicans very mad and then they wouldn’t work with Democrats over the next two years to get things done.
He really said that.
Here’s my new rule: Just as Julie Hagerty in Lost in America can’t talk about eggs, and people should simply do a spit-take when Republicans talk about fiscal responsibility, any member of the media who says Obama ought to reach out to the GOP should lose their pundit’s license. Of course, when the Dean of DC Punditry types wisdom like this, it’s clear the licensing board is asleep at the switch:
Somewhere along the way, Obama lost sight of his campaign pledge to enlist Republican ideas and votes. Maybe they were never there to be had, but he never truly tested it. And the deeper he became enmeshed in the Democratic politics of Capitol Hill, the less incentive there was for any Republican to contribute to his success.
Thus, a double setback to the hopes that had been aroused by his election. Instead of cooperation, the worst kind of partisanship returned. And instead of changing the way Washington operated, he seemed to ratify business as usual.
Do I really have to take Broder back through the last two years? Does someone need to remind them that Obama’s “Government takeover of healthcare” is, essentially, the GOP’s 1994 health care plan?
I guess there’s only one conclusion to be reached: Yesterday’s GOP were all America-hating socialists.
It’s going to be a long two years.