Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Election 2010: Not Exactly a Knockout

The bad news is that the Democrats took some solid punches in the midterm elections; the good news is that  the injuries aren't life threatening.


There was significant voter turnout, especially for midterm elections, but the numbers weren't as good in some states as in 2006. I've been reading blog posts, mostly from the young folks--the 35 and under crowd--which called for showing the Democrats their displeasure by not voting. A lot of these calls for desertion of the Democrats came from young African-Americans and Latinos who have decided that President Obama has betrayed them. They have all the impatience of youth and and want everything yesterday.


One young blogger refers to Obama as the Changeling, the mythical creature from the fairy tale who replaces the human child and has evil intent on the unsuspecting family. It's an interesting but inaccurate metaphor.


In order to make a statement to Obama about his imagined betrayal and to teach the Democrats not to take them for granted, there were a number of folks who advocated not voting at all. I'll try and remember to ask them in about two years how that "I'll show those Democrats" thing has worked out for them.


In the meantime, the Democrats have a few moments of glory from Tuesday night. It appears that reason prevailed and Chris Coons defeated  "I am not a witch" Christine O'Donnell in Delaware. Harry Reid pulled the rabbit out of the hat and managed to wrestle a win away from mad hatter Sharron Angle.  Blumenthal out wrestled Linda McMahon in Connecticut. Jerry Brown is back as governor of California and Barbara Boxer managed to hold on to her senate seat. (Click for NY Times' Election Results)


There are a lot of serious bruises. Republicans have gained 60 seats giving them control of the House with a possibility of gaining four more when all the counting is done. In comparison, the Republicans gained 54 House seats in 1994 (Clinton administration). In 1946, the Republicans gained 56 House seats and in 1938 a record 80 House seats.


However, although the Republicans gained Senate seats, the Democrats continue to control the Senate and Harry Reid still holds his position of power in the Senate.


Two states were still too close to call as of 6:30 a.m. --Colorado and the state of Washington. In Alaska, it appears that the write in candidate has the most votes. The only candidate running as a write in candidate was Murkowski, but Alaska has some law that prohibits identifying the write in candidate until the ballots are counted. Of course, Murkowski has been all over the news thanking her supporters. Go figure!


I read a comment on Facebook by a 35-year-old who declared that all was lost and that we (progressives) were done and may as well accept that there is no hope. I'm far from Pollyanna but I think that's pretty extreme. Unless you're planning on dying today, how can anyone be done? It's an election and there will be other elections. The political scene changes like the wind; you never know which way it's going to blow. 


The Republicans cannot do most of the things that they touted in their campaigns; even if they get legislation through the House, they still have to get the necessary Senate votes. If they succeed in getting it through the Senate to the president's desk, he can veto it. They can override his veto if they can get enough votes (a 2/3 vote in each chamber) to do so in both the House and the Senate. If they adjourn before the president decides to sign or not to sign, then the president has effectively killed the legislation with a pocket veto. Isn't politics fun? 


What does their win mean? Probably a lot of deadlock where nothing much gets done and what is accomplished is done very slowly. In other words, business as usual.


P.S. Don't worry about the Republican threat to repeal the Health Care bill. I doubt that they want to tell the American public that they've decided to allow the insurance companies to end coverage for all those newly insured folks with preexisting conditions and are taking away grandma and grandpa's Medicare donut hole benefits. 

11 comments:

Alan said...

I'm always surprised at how many people think the President has all the power. If there was a failure or a betrayal in the past 2 years it was mostly in the congress. They are the ones who didn't use their position to make the changes. The President can't really legislate, so how did he fail except in having big ideas and maybe in failing to inspire Congress to act.
I expect nothing will get done this next two years due to idiotic party bashing.
I was one who wasn't going to vote because I was so discusted with the options I had. However, I did vote, we had some local issues that needed support, and I realized it was important to pick which devil would be representing me.

Deb said...

Sheria...Just wanted to clear up a couple misconceptions to which you referred in linking to my last post:

"One young blogger refers to Obama as the Changeling, the mythical creature from the fairy tale who replaces the human child and has evil intent on the unsuspecting family. It's an interesting but inaccurate metaphor.

First, I’m no young blogger - unless you consider yourself one as well! :-) I am 54 years old. Secondly, while the Changeling can refer to the mythical creature you described, my use of the term refers to the archaic (and quite appropriate, IMO) - “turncoat,” as in one who betrays his own. While you may not agree with my characterization - in that context, it's not inaccurate at all.

”In order to make a statement to Obama about his imagined betrayal and to teach the Democrats not to take them for granted, there were a number of folks who advocated not voting at all. I'll try and remember to ask them in about two years how that "I'll show those Democrats" thing has worked out for them.”

Not sure if that one was meant for me, but if it was - I’m certainly not making any statement to Obama about his imagined betrayal. As I said in my response to your comment at my place, I had no expectations of him at all after watching him work on the campaign trail. I didn't vote for him in 2008.

Again, we can agree to disagree, but there was nothing imagined to me about how he’s pretty much maintained the Bush status quo by governing for the wealthy; standing up for the telecoms; claiming it is “absolutely essential” to continue the Afghan war; claiming he passed pay equity for women when Ledbetter had nothing to do with that; absent on comprehensive immigration reform; etc, etc.

Not trying to teach/show the Dems anything – in my standing for what I believe in – I think they, or whoever else looking for my vote as an Independent will get the message.

Deb said...

Alan...I agree that it is Congress who legislates. And as I told Sheria in another comment, "...Dems held the majority in both the House & Senate during the 110th Congress under Shrub, and the current 111th during which they also have the presidency." During that time they rubber-stamped plenty Repub craziness. So yes, they failed, but IMO so did he - by making promises he either did not plan to, or knew he would not be able to keep (he's been on the Hill since 2004, he had to have some idea how this all works!). People believed him - and gave him their vote as a result.

I'm hoping that something will get done despite the Repub take-over of the House. But like Sheria, I'm thinking gridlock at this point - unless and until they all grow the h*ll up!

Like you, I believe in voting on local issues and there were a few important ones here such as school bonds, school board trustees, sales tax, etc.

Charlene said...

I have always voted. I have worked as a poll worker for over a decade. What I believe in cannot be killed off by wack-job attention whores. If the young people are depressed about the lack of quick change, then they need to get off their butts and work for the change the want. The strong don't give up. The strong persevere.

Bucko (a.k.a., Ken) said...

I think it will be a contentious two years, and if both parties do not learn to compromise and work for the greater good, it will be even worse in 2012.

Kyle said...

Hi Sheria, I just came over from Nance's place. I saw her post about meeting you and I've also seen you when you comment at Beth and Ken's places.

You have a nice blog here. Love your no nonsense writing style and your political slant. I've also been enjoying your tunes as I've been reading the blog.:)

I've added you to my blogroll to follow and look forward to reading your posts, not just your responses to other blogs.

Sheria said...

Deb, I did indeed think that you were much younger than I am; however, we both can still call ourselves young people! :)

I respect our differences in belief,but I don't share your belief that the president is a turncoat. To the contrary, I think that he has done an extraordinary job considering the mess he was left with by the previous administration and the cantankerous obstructionism of Congress.

Nance said...

It's no surprise to me that we see eye-to-eye on this election. The task ahead is pretty clear: re-energize the folks who think they've been abandoned or discarded, educate those who think everything should happen yesterday, and help progressives understand that the President and his administration can do so much more for them with their support than they can accomplish with a voting moratorium.

I like Charlene's comment! And, as always, I appreciate your work, Sheria.

Knatolee said...

From my vantage point, I foresee gridlock, but what do I know? As for people not voting by way of protest, well, they then deserve the government they get, and have lost all b*tching privileges for the foreseeable future.

Sarcastic Bastard said...

Sheria,
This is what a 35 year old may not yet fully realize: The political scene changes like the wind; you never know which way it's going to blow.

You hit it on the head, as usual.

Love,

SB

Sybil said...

I am just a far away bystander as you know and don't think I wil ever fully understand your voting system but what I do know form over here is that teh majority of us admire Obama's stance and feel so sorry that he has not been backed by the majority of the citizens. What is it about people that they want instant results..their way of course...
Just hope and pray that the medical bill continues to go through as I do so worry for those unfortunate folks with no insurance.
Love Sybil xx