Well, the third straight POTUS has presided over a Congressional shift at midterms. This has never…happened…before! (I’m imagining spooky Fox “News” echo effects.) Yes, the current guy only surrendered one house of Congress, and yes, his feckless predecessor did manage to hand him the most execrable, nucular in-box since, oh, Woodrow Wilson. For Republicans, it’s almost a blessing that John McCain went nuts in public by energizing Sarah Palin. Maybe God really did it, after all: imagine if they were sitting in the catbird seats right now, reaping the whirlwind they themselves wrought! But that’s been the story of the last forty years, hasn’t it? Republicans host long, tiresome toga parties for business and the war machine, and whenever the adults finally become disgusted, Democrats have to come in and do the unpopular job of sweeping up the drunken mess. Despite what they try to force-feed into the ether, it’s the Pubs who are Bluto: clear rationality is only Pinto.
Delaware’s former witchcraft dabbler Christine O’Donnell lost, but that was a slam-dunk, and the Tea Party Express probably saved the Senate for the Dems; her defeated primary opponent, Mike Castle, was a thoughtful, moderate Republican who would have done a fine job. So did Alvin Greene in South Carolina – what’s amazing is that he got a single vote; there must be some really loyal Democrats down there! Meg Whitman, Carly Fiorina and Linda McMahon all lost, and that’s much bigger, except that it might teach Pubs that even a personal fortune isn’t enough to win without Karl Rove-style, court-approved secret tubs of money, so they might open the wallet much wider next time, you think? Sharron Angle frightened many but failed. But Rand Paul won, and he’s every bit as crazy as Jim DeMint or Michele Bachmann. So did that ol’ whorehound David Vitter, Mr. Family Values. Less noted are the tons of mad-as-hell d00dz in statehouses currently slavering over gerrymandering plans that’ll make it impossible for Democrats to retake the House until the next toga-party hangover.
Aw, Tom, you say: this time it’s different, dawg! Pubs have learned their lesson! Now it’s draw down the deficit and cut spending! Nice sound bite, but retaining the “temporary” Bush tax cuts on the top 2% of wage-earners – which everybody says is Job One – will cost $700 billion, and that’s with a B, over the next ten years. Guess I should check with Professor Glenn Beck, but to my unschooled eyes, that increases the deficit. Now to cutting spending. Let’s see. Defense? Entitlements? Support our troops, and keep your government hands off my Medicare! Privatizing Social Security (just how would that save money?), and turning your nest egg over to the gluttons who brought you the financial meltdown? I am still waiting for one single constructive idea. And by the way, that fascist Marxist Kenyan is still President, and he’s read the Constitution too, even the part about vetoing.
Now the 2012 election begins (talk about creating jobs — political media is the place to be, kids!). I still don’t see the Republican, or even Tea Bagger, who can beat the president one on one. But you want some scary stuff? Read John Heilemann’s cover story in New York magazine. As I’ve written before, I really didn‘t think Republicans would be stupid enough to tank the election by nominating Sarah Palin – but after O’Donnell and Angle, I’m not so sure any more. On this date, Half-Term Gov. Palin’s their biggest star by far: it may be out of their control. Now suppose she does manage to get the Republican nomination. And suppose some disgusted, well-known third party decides to run, somebody like, say, Mayor Mike Bloomberg. Suppose he siphons off enough votes in a three-way race to deny anyone the 270 electoral votes required to win. There’s no runoff. The election is thrown into…the House of Representatives! As Mr. Heilemann writes: hello, President Palin!