As the people who study this sort of
thing have noted, government
expands most when under single-party control (no matter what the
party), and least when there is gridlock. So I thank the voters for
restoring gridlock in DC, and I look forward to moving on with my
I really don’t know why anyone is surprised by this. It’s like
everyone thinks that someday their chosen party is going to sweep into
power and then just keep gaining. It never works that way. Politics
in this country have been a gentle pendulum swing for as long as I can
remember, and I don’t see that changing anytime soon. Two years after
Clinton took office the Republicans made a very similar comeback to
the one they just made last night.
Which is not to say that it was completely inevitable; for my money
the Democrats made a horrendous mistake in pushing healthcare at a
time when middle class America was far more worried about jobs than
health. It’s a mark of egotism on Obama’s part that he simply wasn’t
able to shift gears sufficiently from his grand goals in order to
focus single-mindedly on the biggest issue of the day. Healthcare
reform was well-meaning and badly needed, but when push came to shove
the electorate was concerned first and foremost with employment, and
that made the last two years a very bad time to be pushing through
any major government entitlement, especially one that didn’t promise
jobs. It’s not his fault that he came in during a recession; but it
was his job to realize the import of that recession and pivot
I do hold out the hope that this will herald a new level of
bipartisanship in Washington, but it isn’t a very bright hope.
Considering the sorts of Republicans that were elected, I expect
things to stay fairly shrill and petty.
Mostly I just hope that Jon Stewart’s message of sanity won’t be lost
in the wash of disappointment and/or euphoria currently being
experienced across the country. I think he would agree with me that
the country still isn’t going to hell in a handbasket, and that
anyone who tells you otherwise is selling something.