Friday, November 05, 2010

Friday Post: the Red Shift of 2010

In 2006, Republicans were melons being evaluated for ripeness. In 2010, Democrats were given a floor treatment to seal out moisture. But instead of accepting the defeat and moving on, some Democrats are finding small victories on which to console themselves. Ooh, many (not all) of the Tenthers (Republicans who think that most things the federal government does is unconstitutional) lost! Hey, Jim Inhofe said Republicans were going to control the U.S. Senate. Joke's on you! The Tea Party actually cost Republicans control of the Senate! And look, now we don't have to worry about pacifying those pesky blue dogs anymore!

No, all of that stuff isn't important. The 2010 midterms showed that the country was unhappy with Democrats generally. The top two issues were the economy and the new federal health care law. We lost because the economy sucks and people are scared of Obamacare.

Here's the actual good news for Democrats: the economy will get better, and most of the health care provisions will be tough to repeal. The economy is already getting better, as evidenced by this morning's jobs report. The results until now had been less noticeable because it is harder to perceive benefit from a saved job as it does from a created job, even though they both take the same amount of capitalistic energy.

And as we've all heard, the individual provisions of the health care law poll much better than the comprehensive, easy-to-slander whole. Lawmakers will tinker with it, because that's what lawmakers do. But now that it is law, it will be very difficult to find enough votes to take away key provisions like policy rescision, college students on parents plans, and the closing of the prescription plan doughnut hole. And if future speaker John Boehner is serious about closing the deficit, he won't be able to rescind or delay the mishmash of taxes and spending cuts that make Obamacare a net surplus for the country. Two years of legislative dominance for Democrats clearly wasn't enough, but it's not like those two years didn't bear any Progressive fruit.

And now that the Republicans have gained a chamber of Congress, they will have more stake in governing. They won't be able to simply snipe from well-secured positions in the bunkers of Fox News anymore.

Perhaps the best news of all: Republicans don't actually control much. President Obama still wields executive control and with it a veto pen. Harry Reid will amazingly still be majority leader of the Senate and will use his power to schedule bills for a floor vote like Project Runway contestants use the wall: thoughtfully. Most likely any successful legislation that comes out of the House of Representatives will have to be either a) moderate, or b) mostly irrelevant. Which means sweeping legislative change is probably out for the next two years. And if it leads to questions like "what the fuck has Obama done so far?", well, there's a website that can answer that.

No comments: