My takes on Tuesday, Election Day:
7 p.m.: Indiana Senate seat won by Dan Coats is the first gain for Republicans. How many more will there be?
8 p.m.: Delaware Senate race called for Chris Coons, proving Delaware voters voted for logic and reason. How soon will Fox News sign O’Donnell to a contract? Given O’Donnell’s repeated self-proclaimed expertise in the Constitution, maybe Fox will hire her as a “Senior constitutional analyst.”
8:02 p.m.: Richard Blumenthal holds off Linda McMahon for the Connecticut Senate race. McMahon’s bizarre demeanor and statements during the few interviews she did was enough to overpower the outrageous fabrications.
9 p.m.: MSNBC calls the House of Representatives for the Republicans, still with an unknown margin.
9:08 p.m.: Rand Paul, during victory speech for Kentucky Senate, says the “Tea Party tidal wave” has sent a message to Washington, and refers to the “debt crisis,” without mentioning Obama’s deficit-reducing healthcare bill. For all his talk about being enslaved by debt, Paul will soon have to vote about the debt ceiling for the U.S., which will likely have to be raised. How will he vote?
9:35 p.m.: Wolf Blitzer refers to Marco Rubio, the Republican Senate winner in Florida, as “very attractive” in one of the stranger moments of CNN’s coverage election night coverage.
9:37 p.m.: Christine O’Donnell states during her concession speech that “the Delaware political system and the Republican Party will never be the same.” We can only hope that she’s right, and that neither Delaware voters nor Republicans will let another witchcraft-dabbling, Constitution-non-understanding, evolution-denying, anti-masturbation candidate like O’Donnell win a primary election again.
10:18 p.m.: CNN projects Republicans will gain more seats in the House than ever before in one election (52 seats). My immediate thought: How soon will we see the argument made that based on the numbers of seats gained, Barack Obama must be the worst president ever?
It’s clear. This election was not good for Democrats. Republicans made gains in the Senate and enough in the House to take over control, with Ohio U.S. Rep. John Boehner likely becoming the next Speaker of the House.
I will focus on the positive aspects of this election, given that the negatives are very clear to any progressive-thinking individual:
Christine O’Donnell and Sharron Angle both lost their Senate races in Delaware and Nevada, respectively. I already mentioned why O’Donnell’s faltering is positive. Angle’s explanation that abortion should never be allowed, even in cases of rape and incest – because those are also part of God’s plan, is reason enough for many to keep her out of office, although there are many other reasons as well.
You can’t (necessarily) buy your way into office, as we saw with many of the “self-funded” candidates like former eBay chief Meg Whitman in the California governor’s race, former Hewlett-Packard chief Carly Fiorina in her California Senate race, and wrestling executive Linda McMahon in her Connecticut Senate race, all losing in this week’s election. In a political climate that has moved significantly in the direction of “1 dollar = 1 vote” with the Citizens United decision earlier this year in the Supreme Court, any time that the results seem to correspond more with “1 person = 1 vote,” it’s something to feel good about.
Let’s be honest: Many of the House Democrats who lost this week were just as conservative as the Republicans that replaced them. Although the number from each party in the House is of absolute importance, many of those races do not represent a fundamental change in the politics of the person in office.
These results will force the Obama administration, if it wants any chance of reversing this trend in 2012 and getting the president re-elected, to take credit and publicize blame for what is and is not done by his administration and both houses of Congress. The conservative machine, which increasingly includes entire media outlets, will be on the offensive in 2012, blaming Democratic control of the White House and Senate for anything they weren’t able to pass themselves. A more aggressive media strategy will be needed. Losing the House shows why.
One question Democrats must be asked as they develop their plan for the next two years is, “How did the bipartisanship work out?”
During the 2008 election and the first portion of Barack Obama’s first term, there was continued discussion of bipartisanship, and it did not help to get a single piece of legislation through. In fact, it helped the Republicans, who simply got in the way, and then succeeded in branding the Democrats as not having done much, leaving voters unclear about why they should re-elect them # and they didn’t!
Bipartisanship does not win elections, as the Republicans cleverly determined when Obama took office.
David Pakman of Northampton, MA is host of The David Pakman Show, internationally syndicated on over 100 radio and television stations, DirecTV, DISH Network, and davidpakman.com