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The Day After....

This is not the special election post-mortem I wanted to write.  Not even close.

I'm not going to bother trying to offer analysis of who's to blame for the loss -- as Nate Silver points out in one of his posts today at 538, there's plenty of blame to go around.  But I do have a couple of things to say.

To my friends on the right:  Enjoy your victory.  You earned it and it may be the harbinger of more victories in November.  Midterm elections always suck for the party in power and this year won't be any different.  But don't be too sure that last night's results spell the end of the Obama Administration.  Democrats still have 59 Senate seats and over 250 seats in the House, and ten months is a lifetime in politics.  Three years is an eternity.  Bill Clinton lost both houses of Congress in 1994, won reelection two years later in a landslide, and left office with approval ratings that were literally twice as high as George W. Bush's at the end of his disastrous Presidency.

To my friends on the left:  See above.  It's way, way too early to panic.  Symbolically speaking, this is a big loss.  And yes, it costs us our 60 vote "super majority" although with DINOs like Blanche Lincoln and Ben Nelson and Evan Bayh and Mary Landrieux and Holy Joe Lieberman, I'm not sure how "super" it ever was.  But remember this:  If someone had told us the day before the 2008 election that Obama would win AND we'd have 59 Democrats in the Senate, we would have been ecstatic.  If we can't govern with the majorities we still have, we don't deserve to be in power. 

To Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi:  For the love of God, get your shit together.  We have huge majorities in both houses -- bigger than the Republicans ever had under George W. Bush, and we still can't get anything done.  That is your fault.  Learn how to govern, for God's sake.  If the Republicans threaten to fiflbuster LET THEM FILIBUSTER!!  Let them go on TV and talk about pie recipes for 47 hours.  They'll look like obstructionist idiots, which, as it happens, is what they often are.  Stop caving at the first threat of opposition!  Fight as if your jobs depended on it!  Because they probably do . . . 

To President Obama:  I voted for you.  I would gladly vote for you again.  But you have to get over your bipartisanship fetish.  The Republicans are not interested in bipartisanship.  They never have been.  They want to destroy you, even if that means destroying the country at the same time.  They will oppose anything and everything that you propose.  You could endorse their party platform and they would find a reason to block it.  They hate you and everything you stand for.  It's great that you tried.  Really.  I think you had to, at least for the first couple of months.  But how many times do they have to punch you in the mouth before you'll stand up and hit them back?  Enough!   Stop trying to work with them.  It's time to start beating them over the head with a two-by-four.  We elected you to change the tone in Washington if you could, but more than that, we elected you to fight for us, to pass meaningful health care, to save the planet, to kick Wall Street's ass.  As it turns out, you can't change the tone in D.C.  You need help to do that, and the GOP isn't going to help.  So get the rest of it done.  You'll have the support of a large majority of the public, you'll have your base behind you, and you might even manage to save a few of those Congressional seats you're on course to lose.

To the American public:  Please, just for a moment, think back to January 20, 2009.  Try to remember how bad things were when Barack Obama took office.  Yes, unemployment was lower.  Any economist will tell you that unemployment is a lagging indicator, so it gets bad after everything else goes to hell and it recovers after everything else starts to improve.  But think about the rest of it:  The contempt with which other nations looked at us, the fear that our economy was about to tumble into an abyss of historic depth, the feeling that our foreign policy had been out of control for years.  Has Barack Obama fixed everything?  Of course not.  He faced problems the like of which no President since FDR had seen in his first year in office.  But we are better off now than we were a year ago, and I have no doubt that our economy and our national pride will continue to improve under his leadership.  George Bush had eight years to screw things up; let's say we give Obama a bit more time to clean up his mess.

Comments

( 19 comments — Leave a comment )
careswen
Jan. 21st, 2010 03:32 am (UTC)
Well said.
davidbcoe
Jan. 21st, 2010 04:34 pm (UTC)
Thank you. That's one angry looking squirrel....
(Deleted comment)
davidbcoe
Jan. 21st, 2010 04:33 pm (UTC)
Thanks, Jennifer.
(Deleted comment)
davidbcoe
Jan. 21st, 2010 04:34 pm (UTC)
It is frustrating. But I expect that things will change in the next few months.
(Deleted comment)
davidbcoe
Jan. 21st, 2010 04:35 pm (UTC)
I do think the legislation is lacking, but I also think that it's a better bill than some credit. The restrictions placed on insurance companies are not insubstantial.
kmarkhoover
Jan. 21st, 2010 04:30 am (UTC)
We never had 60 votes to begin with. That was a meme pushed by the MSM.

I say draw a line in the sand and stand up to the RepubliKans. My God, stop acting like you lost the F'ing presidential election. The RepubliKans didn't have anything like the majorities we still have, and look what they pushed down our throats.

For God's sake, grow a F'ing pair, will you, Democrats?
davidbcoe
Jan. 21st, 2010 04:37 pm (UTC)
Well said, Mark. I'm not sure where we go from here on health care, particularly after Pelosi's announcement this morning. But they need to do something.
kmarkhoover
Jan. 21st, 2010 06:28 pm (UTC)
She's talking about the Senate version, which never had a chance in the House anyway with Stupak's clothes hanger amendment.

The Dems dropped the ball in August when they went on vacation and let the GOP scream hate and invective for a month without answering any of the baseless charges. Like it or not, in American noise always overpowers signal. That's why the RepubliKans know how to do politics. They can't govern, but they can do political theater. Democrats can govern, but they don't know how to do politics.

They should have gone into this thing with an eye toward expanding Medicare. This is easy to understand and would have been simpler to push through.

I think when political historians do the post-mortem they will find this all went south last August when the Democrats sat on their hands and didn't draw a line in the sand and stand up to the hate-screaming GOP.
davidbcoe
Jan. 21st, 2010 10:42 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I know she was talking about the Senate bill, but I'm not convinced that the Senate can pass anything new, so the Senate bill might be all we have. In which case, we have nothing.

I think Obama might be best off laying out a plan in his SOTU and saying: "This is the bare minimum that I will accept." List four things that EVERY reasonable person is for, and then threaten a veto if the bill he's sent doesn't offer those protections to the American people. He grabs the high ground again and he puts the Repugs on the defensive. Just a thought.

I agree that the Dems dropped the ball on this, but I think that's as much Obama's fault as anyone else's. He should have been leading the charge. That's what he needs to do now.
shsilver
Jan. 21st, 2010 01:15 pm (UTC)
Unfortunately, my prediction is that in November, the Democrats will lose the Senate seats filled after the Presidential election in Illinois, Delaware, and Colorado. They'll also lose Nevada, which means we might get a Democratic Senate Majority leader with a backbone. Connecticut could go either way. Best case for the Dems is a 55-45 majority (including Lieberman).
davidbcoe
Jan. 21st, 2010 04:38 pm (UTC)
Maybe. I think it's early to be making any predictions. If things go badly through the summer it could be far worse. If the Dems get some legislation passed and the economy improves, we could do far better.
arhyalon
Jan. 21st, 2010 02:15 pm (UTC)
>They will oppose anything and everything that you propose. You could endorse their party platform and they would find a reason to block it. They hate you and everything you stand for.

I don't think this is fair, especially as I know people who normally vote Republican who voted for Obama and wanted to give him a chance.

This idea downplays the importance of what is really going on, which is:

The two sides actually don't agree.

It's not about hate. It's not about trying to destroy anyone. It's about what is good for America.

Republicans and Democrats disagree at fundimental levels as to what will make things better.

No matter how hard you try at bipartisanship, if you are convinced to the depth of your soul that the only way to save things is to go left and the other guy is convinced that the only way is to circle to the right, you can't walk down the middle of the road.

It's not that people are mean, or that they don't get along, or that they won't cooperate.

It's that they don't agree.

If you think a national health program will destroy our health care institutions, stop R&D, raise prices, raise taxes, produce rationing, and require old people and children to suffer while others get help (which is exactly what most of my Conservative friends think), you don't want the same outcome as a guy who thinks that a national health care program with help the poor, help those who don't have insurance, make sure everyone gets care, and will not be particularly expensive (which is exactly what some of my Liberal friends think.)

The problem is not in Washington, it's with the fundimental premises of the two parties

Edited at 2010-01-21 02:17 pm (UTC)
davidbcoe
Jan. 21st, 2010 04:42 pm (UTC)
In the rest of the post, and in this paragraph as well, I was referring to Congressional Republicans, and I should have made that explicit. That said, I stick by my point. The elected Republicans in Washington couldn't care less about bipartisanship. They want to destroy Obama's Presidency, and they've made that pretty clear. Are there fundamental disagreements on policy? Of course. But if you're interested in governing rather than winning, you find ways to compromise, to agree on those things that both sides feel they can support. Obama tried this; the GOP spat in his face, to the detriment of us all.
estellye
Jan. 21st, 2010 02:54 pm (UTC)
May Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi and the President hear you! Please. Thank You.
davidbcoe
Jan. 21st, 2010 04:43 pm (UTC)
Amen to that.
perspectives.rea-hedrick.com
Jan. 21st, 2010 03:56 pm (UTC)
Hear! Hear!
Just . . . Hear! Hear!
davidbcoe
Jan. 21st, 2010 04:43 pm (UTC)
Re: Hear! Hear!
Thanks, Hedrick.
(Deleted comment)
davidbcoe
Jan. 21st, 2010 05:54 pm (UTC)
Yeah, bleeding hearts to the core.....
( 19 comments — Leave a comment )

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