You would think last night the Democrats lost the White House, the Senate, and the House by some of the reactions here and elsewhere.
The past 75 years of mid-term election history should have clued people in that Congressional losses were likely to occur. The party that doesn't have control of the White House usually makes big gains in midterm elections.
So what happened with the House last night was not a surprise. What is a surprise, however, is the Republicans failing to take the Senate when you look at their big gains in the House.
In fact, in what is a fairly rare public display of dissension ( considering the triumphalism of last night ) -
Long-simmering tensions within the Republican Party spilled into public view Wednesday as the pragmatic and conservative wings of the GOP blamed each other in blunt terms for the party’s failure to capture the Senate.
With tea party-backed candidates going down in Delaware, Colorado and Nevada, depriving Republicans of what would have been a 50-50 Senate, a bloc of prominent senators and operatives said party purists like Sarah Palin and Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) had foolishly pushed nominees too conservative to win in politically competitive states.
Rush Limbaugh in February 2009 announced the GOP strategy to do everything they could do ensure this President failed.
This President accomplished what no president in nearly a century before him did -- significant health care reform.
This President ended combat in Iraq.
This President saved the American auto industry from implosion.
This President saved upwards of 2 million American jobs with the stimulus -- which DID work -- and private sector job growth has been on the plus side for the better part of the past year.
This President won a Nobel Peace Prize.
This President went to Cairo, Egypt, and spoke directly to the Arab/Muslim world in a long-overdue effort to transform the so-called war on terrorism into a smarter effort to deal with the majority of Arabs and Muslims who are moderate, not extremist.
The list of major accomplishments goes on and on, and Rachel Maddow summed a number of them up quite well.
While Rush and the Republicans were spreading lies and rumors and conspiracies, all united in their single-minded effort to destroy this President, too many Democrats and Progressives were piling on the President on the other side.
Nothing was good enough. Hugely significant bills signed by the President were not good enough.
So the constant drumbeat of criticism of the President came from the Right, with its screaming at town hall meetings, flat-out lies about the health care bill, and microcriticism of every single move Obama has made as President, literally from the moment he took the Oath of Office.
On "our" side, the drumbeat of criticism has not been as constant or loud, but it has been ongoing and it is noticeable.
So when Independents, so-called Moderates, and other folks who can't or won't get off the damn fence see and hear a barrage of criticism of the President coming apparently from all sides, don't be surprised when they run away from him and back into the arms of the yo-yo's and yahoos who got us into the mess in the first place.
I am already sick and tired of hearing people here advocate for primarying the president in 2012. I have no earthly idea what that would do except serve some strangely sick desire to help the GOP transform this president into Jimmy Carter.
Enough is enough already.
We certainly don't need blind and mindless loyalism, but we also don't need blind and mindless criticism of every move the President makes.
Last night the House was lost because of a combination of four factors:
- Classic midterm pendulum swing back to the party which doesn't have the White House.
- Huge accomplishments compound #1 (see Lyndon Johnson, 1966). The President got Health Care Reform passed (when the naysayers said it was dead on arrival), plus a huge stimulus deal, plus financial reform, plus ending combat in Iraq. Presidential historians say you have to go back to President Johnson (Medicare, Voting Rights Act, Civil Rights Act) for such huge legislative accomplishments -- and Johnson and the Democrats paid the price for those in 1966.
- It's (still) (always?) the economy, stupid! People are still hurting and want to lash out because of the problems. When people are enraged and lash out, they often do so irrationally. ( Which ought to give pause to people here who are enraged and lashing out at the president. )
- Young people just did not show up.
Oh -- and he's African American, so I suppose that might be factor #5 when you look at the race-baiting by the Right wing noise machine.
I think we need to tone it down, and think it through, else we end up sounding like screaming conspiracy theorists at town-hall meetings, or shriekers from Wasilla.
Maybe I'm overly optimistic, and I'm sorry to see my Senator Feingold lose, but I think it is a huge positive that Democrats kept the Senate.