I watched as former Democrat vice presidential candidate Geraldine Ferrarro opined that the Republican victory was not the big wave that had been predicted. WHAT?
This was about as huge of a repudiation and annihilation that a party can suffer. The Democrats lost control of the house with one of the biggest political party gainsin modern American history. Not only were the crop of new recruits that got the Dems the House in 2006 decimated, but a lot of “old bulls” and powerful chairmen were knocked off as well.
Also, keep in mind that it is the House from which all budget and appropriation bills must originate, and while Nancy Pelosi was re-elected, she is effectively gone. I would even go so far as to say that she ranks below an incoming freshman in terms of influence, even in her own party.
While the GOP did not take control of the Senate due to the fact that only one-third of its members had to face this year’s angry electorate, when you consider that the GOP already held some of those seats and some were beyond hope for a takeover, the Republicans had to win 10 out of 12 – a daunting task.
Picking up more than half a dozen seats, however, is very significant since it shifts the center of gravity in the Senate and makes stopping filibusters impossible. Not taking the Senate also means that Obama cannot run against the Congress as Harry Truman did in 1948.
The Democrat loss of governorships across the board – especially the big states like Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Florida, Ohio – have huge ramifications for the redistricting year. The Republicans are poised to redistrict themselves into an even greater majority in the U.S. House and the various state legislatures.
Also, having a friendly governor in a state is an important asset for any presidential campaign. The advantage now leans toward to the GOP in key states – imperiling Obama’s second term.
The Tea Party, which is now bonded to the GOP, was a huge factor – not only in their own winning candidates, but the grassroots energy they generated throughout the nation. Some pundits see the defeats of Christine O’Donnell and Sharron Angle as some sort of indication of Tea Party weakness. No one should have expected that all Tea Party candidates would win, and the weaker ones did lose. To fully judge the Tea Party impact, you need to see their wins in the Republican primaries, their wins in the general election and their undoubted influence as the foundation for the broad range of GOP victories.
Ironically, I see the victory of Harry Reid, in Nevada, as the gift that keeps on giving. Had he lost, New York’s Chuck Schumer or Illinois’ Dick Durbin would be taking the helm in the Senate. They would not have the same negative national image and propensity to say stupid things as does Reid. Reid’s pugnacious victory speech gives the American people the personification of their angst against Washington, and is an albatross around the neck of the President.