08 November 2006

A House Divided

I'd dearly love to see a reduction in the animosity and vitriol in this country, but I'm close to giving up hope for that. Both sides can crow about victories this year - and will.

  • We took back the House!
  • Midterm elections usually see a swing of 20-25 seats
  • Democratic incumbents held their seats
  • All the Democrats who won were conservative, anyway

Fantastic. I'll be happy to see gridlock at this point, compared to the rubberstamp we've had for the last six years, but I'd also really like to see some collegiality. Of course, with Sen. Bill Frist out, it will improve a little.

The race that speaks to me the most, that demonstrates where we are as a nation, is FL-16. Even with the cheeky "Punch Foley for Negron" campaign, Joe Negron should have faced a Sisyphean struggle. Not only was he running in place of a recently disgraced congressman, the ballots hadn't been reprinted. One really had to "punch Foley". And how many people found it in their hearts to do so? As of right now, CNN's reporting 110,317...a scant 4500 hundred votes fewer than his opponent.

Mind you, there's a lot of scary redneck country in FL-16 and even on the coast you've got Jupiter, which isn't exactly Miami. Still, one would think there'd be a little hesitation punching Foley.

I don't see things getting better. We're going to have a long recount in VA and even MT will take a little while to resolve. When this election season is over, it'll be back to the mat in Washington. Neither side has a mandate, so both will act is if they do. I'm glad, of course, that my side won; however, it's not like we swept in with overwhelming support.

We'll get our bills out of committee in the House and hopefully can take the Senate and do the same. If we're lucky, that might just be enough.


Earl said...

I swear you damn lieber-types are all the same, calling John Kerry an imbecile one day and the pleading for civility the next. Just repulsive.

Bipartisanship is still date-rape, especially when your president is a pscyhopath.

No mandate? it was a @$(&*!#@# shut-out. No republican pick-ups. A shut-out. Stop drinking the cherry koolaid and open your eyes.

You really are retarded.

R.A. Porter said...

Entering the results of 468 races by hand doesn't really appeal to me right now, and I haven't found a source of preliminary results for all races in a convenient format. So I can't give you the numbers to back this up. Sorry about that. I assume in a few days we'll have some data to look at.

While we clearly won the House, and probably the Senate, we did so by a very small number of votes. Most of the races were painfully close, indicating anything but a mandate.

It's like winning the NBA finals in seven games with a total point differential of under 10. Yes, you hoist the Larry O'Brien. No, you didn't crush your opponent.

Eyeballing the numbers, the Senate victory looks pretty substantial by total votes for Dems, but the House numbers aren't so definitive. The cumulative effect is that we won a lot. The individual races, however, were very, very tight.

So, if you think that random freshman Congressperson X, who won by a percentage point, has a "mandate" from his or her district, you're cracked.

We get committee chairs, we've bumped more senior Republicans off of committees, and we'll get to pick what comes to the floor of the House (and hopefully, the Senate) and what stays stuck in those committees. This is a very big deal. But thinking that the tide has turned, and we are anything but a 50-50 nation at heart is short-sighted. Maybe someday, but not now. And especially not after the next two months of hell in VA.

Earl said...

Engage in all the navel-gazing micro-focused 'for want of a stitch' analysis you want. Nobody is suggesting this morning that we all woke up in fantasyland where everybody gets free ponies. The point is George Bush woke up this morning in a non-fantasyland where he can no longer give away free ponies to his friends. That's how 2-party rule/checks and balances is supposed to work in our system of government.

You can call it gridlock, but that's a built-in design feature, not a flaw. The mandate is to get this government back functioning the way it supposed to: with careful deliberation and accountability to the people. The mandate is not to roll-over for this clown.

As to both sides ruling as if they have a mandate... whatever. Your Republican mandate barely made it thru the night--Rumsfeld getting out of town 1 step ahead of the posse. And I'm sure the shredding company that showed up at the VP compound was just so Cheney could clear some space for some fresh mandates.

R.A. Porter said...

It's not navel-gazing to point out that the citizens of this country are still - despite abysmal numbers for their President - split right down the middle. As a people, we need to understand that we are two people and act accordingly. That's my key point. That means: talking calmly; listening to others; and striving toward civility, not stridency.

As for gridlock...I'm aware it's a feature. It's one of my favorite features of our two-party system when it's in place. It provides time for deliberation and often leads to more measured, palatable laws (Henry Clay's efforts excluded, of course.)

Angela said...

Shouldn't 'retarded' be replaced with 'politically challenged'?

Brian B. said...

Well I for one am glad that there are Lefties that know the truth of all things and are willing to instruct us politically challenged buffoons.
And it certainly is wonderful that the squeaky clean Democrats have wrested power from the vile Republicans. No more corruption in DC, thats fer sure!
Sadly though, Pelosi may have some degree of difficulty getting the conservative Dems the DNC planted to go along with all of her wonderful plans for the people.