Thursday, November 4, 2010

The Peanut Gallery is now extra-crunchy!

Well, folks, we've got ourselves another Republican-led House of Representatives.  You's one thing to have a Republican White House or a Republican Senate, but the House is something of a peanut gallery to begin with; the last thing you need is more nuts.

Pity the poor American electorate; they almost never remember this.

Unfortunately, American voters don't have many tools at their disposal to register displeasure.  Sure, there are a handful of tiny parties out there one can use to thumb one's nose at the bums; but, to have a voice in an actual governing party, one really has to choose between Republicans and Democrats.  Maybe one day these behemoths will be broken up into smaller chunks that can coalesce into governments based on the leading issues of the day, but, for now, it's still Pepsi versus Coke.

This last election was a referendum on the Democratic Party as a whole.  Republicans would like you to think it was about Obama, Reid and Pelosi -- and, to the extent that they are the party leaders, it's true.  But I believe the discontent is much broader. Part of it comes from the voters in the middle who aren't necessarily loyal to one party or the other.  These people can be swayed by policy and/or personality.  But the other part comes from demoralized progressive voters on the left who simply stayed home on election day.  They're frustrated that more wasn't accomplished in the golden opportunity they helped provide. After all, the Democrats had commanding majorities in both chambers and the White House.  If things cannot get done with a line-up like that, why bother?  Unfortunately for Pelosi, the entire House is up for election every two years, making it much more immediately reflective of voters' moods.  Sadly and ironically for her, she was seemingly the only Democrat who was making good on campaign promises.  She delivered; the Senate dithered; and Obama wasted time and energy on a détente that was never possible.

So now the gavel gets passed to Ohio's John Boehner -- the quintessence of Wall Street and country club Republicanism. Unfortunately for him, his is a dying bread.  His party has been hijacked by the Tea Party crowd and, just like the Contract with America types before them, they run the very real risk of reminding voters of why a Republican-run House is something of an aberration in American politics.

He's got two years.

But so do the Democrats.  What he and they do and don't do in this intervening period will decide whether Republican gains this cycle are sustained or if this year's results were a periodic attack of American political nuttiness.

[Image source.]