Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Congratulations, America

My faith in the nation has been restored.

10 comments:

MK said...

Except for the disgrace that happened in your old home state, the failure to fund alternative energy in your current home state, as well as the overwhelming exhibition of homophobia on the numerous ballot measures.

Octopus Grigori said...

Agreed on all points. I am just as depressed as anyone about Lamont losing, Prop 87 going down, and the rash of homophobic amendments.

However, let's take stock. The Dems took both the House and Senate. We have the first female Speaker of the House, the first African-American governor of Mass, the first self-described Socialist elected to the Senate, the first Muslim-American elected to Congress, Rumsfeld has resigned, Rick Santorum is gone, and Bush will not be able to force some crazy right-wing judge onto the Supreme Court.

All things considered, I'll take it.

Octopus Grigori said...

See also here.

MK said...

Have they taken the Senate though? VA and MT are still open. If they don't take both, there will be legislative gridlock, which will be easy to blame on the Dems.

Octopus Grigori said...

The Dems have sizable enough leads in both VA and MT to hold, regardless of the legal bickering that will ensue.

There will, no matter what happens, be legislative gridlock because (1) the White House isn't going to be able to do anything, and (2) the 2008 Presidential campaign officially started late last night.

MK said...

Consider also; 1) that a 30 seat loss is common in second term midterm elections; 2) many of the democratic candidates who won are rather conservative by any standard (a few German commentators have described this election as a return to the middle). I am therefore not convinced that this is a historic turning point in any sense. The election just shows that Bush is now considered out of touch with soccer moms.

Octopus Grigori said...

I agree, it's not a historic turning point (well, putting aside that this is only the second time in like 50 years that control of the house has shifted).

No, rather, it's significant because many people, including myself, were worried about a permanent Republican majority controlling both houses, the Supreme Court, and, usually, the Presidency. That was, after all, Rove's plan.

I'm not foolish enough to think that Americans have suddenly overwhelmingly become liberals. No, the reason my faith in the nation is (largely) restored is because the voters decided to throw the bums out. The voters do not appear to have any particular enthusiasm for a super liberal agenda. They were just sick of the rampant incompetence and mendacity of this administration and its Congressional enablers. The reaction of a strong correction to long rule by one party over both the White House and Congress is a healthy, and, as you note, well-precedented pattern in American politics. Voters get uncomfortable with one party in control for too long. I, along with many others, was worried that after 9-11, with the War on Terror propaganda and climate of perpetual fear, this healthy pattern might be checked or lost. The Democrats seemed like a lost party in many ways. And with the Republicans in total control, there was serious danger of legislative lock-in, as the Republicans pulled up the moats behind them, gerrymandering away, toying with districts, etc.

But we don't have a permanent Republican majority. The Republicans, drunk with their own power, overreached in innumerable ways. And the voters reacted. That in itself was enough to make me feel that things were still sort of right in the country.

MK said...

On that I agree. Unlike ivanomartin in your Dean thread, I just don't expect a massive shift. the new platform won't be anything exciting. Nancey Pelosi already is speaking of a "shift in direction" whatever that is. So nothing radical, as they don't have the power to override a presidenital veto, if they even win the Virginia senate race. The election functioned as a much needed brake on the runaway neocon train. But I doubt it will translate into any new impulses.

Justin said...

I love it when you two go at it.

MK said...

You have a strange definition of "going at it"...