Okay, the election is over, well almost, and that’s about the best thing we can say about it. By this time we political junkies are all a little loopy from following every obscure election story and projecting our hopes and dreams on an outcome that never seems to be what we truly wanted or expected.
Sure, I’m disappointed in most of the outcomes. I followed the polls and I had some small hope that voters would come to their senses at the last minute. There was some of that, Crazy Carl lost in New York. Tom Tancredo got bounced in Colorado. But a lot of just outright idiots got elected as well. Somehow, the good people of Arizona think that loony Jan Brewer should stick around. Chistine O’Donnell went down hard in Delaware, but 40% of the electorate thought she was a fine candidate. Even absolutely insane people like Derek Skees will be given a chance to display their insanity in the state legislature. What does it all mean? Is the country headed down the rabbit hole? Who knows. The WSJ had a good perspective article on it’s front page today that kind of reminds us that there is really nothing new under the light of the election full moon. The article attempts to point out that “American voters make mistakes, but in their wisdom they usually correct them. Four years ago they gave the Pelosi Democrats another chance to govern. Yesterday they revoked their liberal license.” Along with the article was this table. I think the table makes it abundantly clear that American voters make lots and lots of stoopid mistakes and spend lots and lots of time, effort and money correcting those mistakes and wisdom hasn’t a thing to do with it.
In the last two election cycles, Democrats picked up 54 seats in the House of Representatives, the exact same number stolen by Republicans in 1994. This time around it’s looking like about a 60 +/- gain for the GOP. According to history, they will hold that majority for a couple of years and then we voters will spit ’em out again like a wad of old gum. What the table really shows is that there is a soft spongy core of American voters who aren’t sure what the hell they want from their government. They get most or all of their information from mass media and will spin on a dime if you can develop the correct message to feed them.
So go ahead, bask in the brilliant sunshine of the great “mandate” handed to the Republican Tea Party or soak your aching head in a large flagon of Canadian Club. Next time around the roles will likely be reversed and the other side won’t know what to think. Republicans will spend the next year or so, as they usually do, flogging their social agenda, holding hearings on the President’s birth certificate and moaning about smaller government, but nothing will really get done. Then everyone will realize that there is another election coming up and a spate of meaningless bills will get quickly passed and each party will begin to crow on their accomplishments. The electorate however, will be listening to the party with the largest advertising budget and the best spin machine and will begin to lather themselves into a “throw the bums out” fervor and we will start all over again.
No matter what the outcome of the current election cycle, or the next, or the next. The real amazement of each and every election to me is that there are hordes of people out there who care enough to take time out of their lives to show up at their designated polling place and make a selection, no matter how misguided. Go to the polls and you will see your friends and neighbors as well as your most hated enemies drawing little circles on a piece of paper and all they get for their effort is one of those 2-cent stickers that will show up on every parking meter in town declaring “I Voted!“. Thank you for taking that time and making that effort even though this time around you really missed the mark in my opinion. See you same place, same time in two years.