Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Flotsam and Jetsam...

There has been much groaning and gnashing of teeth today as Tuesday’s election results continue to pour in.  Some races are still undecided, but the main outline is known, viz. that the Republicans have gained control of the House and the Democrats are likely to keep control of the Senate albeit by a slim plurality.  
Everyone has his own personal analysis of why the electorate voted the way that it did, but one of the best was in Wednesday’s NYTimes by Indiana Senator Evan Bayh, who will soon be the retired Senator Evan Bayh in January. [Here]
Many of our problems were foreseeable. A public unhappy about the economy will take it out on the party in power, even if the problems began under previous management. What’s more, when one party controls everything — the House, the Senate, the White House — disgruntled voters have only one target for their ire. And the president’s party almost always loses seats in midterm elections.
...To a degree we are authors of our own misfortune, and we must chart a better path forward.
Bayh wrote that Obama “overreached” by trying to enact universal health care reform rather than first weighing in on a massive and much needed job creation program, which would have been very popular.  He also pointed out that in 2008 the exit polls indicated that 22% of Americans identified themselves as  liberal, 32% as conservative and 44% as moderate.  Yes, even then, without Tea Party theatricals or Citizens United v. FEC allowing massive corporate money to flow into the political system, most Americans defined themselves as right of center. 
WaPo’s E.J. Dionne pointed out [Here] another interesting fact that Obama should not ignore.  In the 2008 election, young people under 30 made up 18% of the electorate, but the young were only about 9% of Tuesday’s voters, leaving the election to be decided by an older and presumably more conservative electorate.  

Dionne goes on to offer specific advice to Obama about ways to address the lagging economy.  I wonder whether anyone in the White House was paying attention this morning.
Digby pointed us [Here] to an interesting fact that should give progressive and liberal Democrats some hope today:
Only 47% of the members of the Democratic “Blue Dog Coalition” won re-election.  [and yet] 95% of the members of the “Progressive Caucus” won re-election. 
Yes, this is interesting, but it also probably reflects a very politically divided country. 
Digby also reminds us of Hillary’s stirring words at the 2008 Democratic National Convention: [Here]
My mother was born before women could vote, my daughter got to vote for her mother for President. This is the story of America, of women and men who defy the odds and never give up.
So how do we give this country back to them? By following the example of a brave New Yorker, a woman who risked her life to bring slaves to freedom along the underground railroad.
On that path to freedom, Harriet Tubman had one piece of advice:
‘If you hear the dogs, keep going. If you see the torches in the woods, keep going. If they’re shouting after you, keep going. Don’t ever stop, keep going. If you want a taste of freedom, keep going.
And even in the darkest of moments, that is what Americans have done--we have found the faith to keep going.
It is certainly refreshing to remember Hillary’s words.  
Wouldn’t it have been grand if the nation had listened to her--really listened to her-- before the 2008 Democratic convention?
What a glorious thought...

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