The Party's over and Jude's ready to clean up. POLJUNK takes a look around the Web to see how everyone's reacting to the Democratic blow-out.
I must admit that I am surprised by the breadth of the Democrats' victories on Tuesday. I was cautiously optimistic that they might eek out a slim majority in the House of Representatives, but I was really surprised to see that they took as many seats as they did. The Senate looked like wishful thinking, but as of tonight, it appears that the Democrats will have a total of 51 seats in that house.
Over the last few elections we watched as America moved further and further to the Right. After the 2004 election, I began to wonder if some fundamental shift had taken place at the bedrock level of the American electorate: Had enough people bought into the conservative misinformation propagated by the likes of Fox News and Rush Limbaugh long enough that radical conservativism had become the new normal? Had fact become fiction and fiction become fact? Had enough of the American public lost the will and/or the ability to critically examine the government that it had elected? Had we, as a nation, sacrificed a delicate system of checks and balances on the altar of post 9/11 patriotic correctness?
I was especially surprised to see the Democrats make gains in regions that I had all but written off as irreversibly Republican. I have spent most of my life living in southwestern Michigan and Chicago, so over the years I have become fairly familiar with the state of Indiana, which has long been a conservative stronghold. I've often felt that, culturally, Indiana is the only state that should have been part of the Confederacy, but wasn't. I was surprised to see that the Democrats took three House seats away from the Republicans in Indiana. The Democrats also took seats, including governorships, away from Republicans in states, such as Montana, Colorado, Arizona, Kansas, and many others. CNN.com has a nice breakdown.
Of course, one should not make the mistake of assuming that all of these new Democrats are far-left or ultra-liberal. Many are reasonably conservative on a number of issues, but promise to be better stewards of our tax dollars and pursue more pragmatic foreign and domestic policies than their outgoing Republican counterparts. Ultimately, I think it is good for the Democratic Party to have some diversity in its constitution.
Some folks have wildly different ideas as to what a Democratic Congress will mean. For fun, let's check in with some of our right-leaning friends and see what the view is like from their perspectives...
A.J. Strata at Strata-Sphere declared, "Bin Laden and Zawahiri and all the rest of the goose-stepping Islamo fascists are probably besides (sic) themselves with glee right now." Goose-stepping? I thought goose-stepping was for German soldiers circa World War II. He also offers this gem, "... frustration with Bush has now left him as the only thing standing between our sanctity for life and fetus harvesting for spare parts."
At Hyscience [a site that looks suspiciously like a CIA propaganda vehicle--ed.], Abdul (not sure if that is a pen name in jest) proclaims that, "Radical Islam has won a very important victory, and the West is now full on its way to defeat." Apparently, a vote for anybody but a Republican was, for these guys, tantamount to inviting bomb-belt-wearing terrorists over for dinner.
The sarcasm is flowing freely at John Cole's Balloon Juice, "Less than 24 hours since the polls closed in which our new Communist leaders were elected and the terrorists won, and already people are showing their true colors as terrorist-enablers."
Tammy Bruce asks this sobering question of her fellow conservatives, "For everyone who is panicking about how "conservatives" got kicked out of office yesterday, tell me, exactly what "conservative" policies have been enacted by that Republican controlled Congress?" Great question and no doubt a contributing factor in the Democratic takeover, hence the 109th Congress's moniker of "The Do-Nothing Congress."
Hopefully, the net result of Tuesday's elections will translate into a legislative agenda for the next two years that addresses workable solutions for pressing issues like healthcare and immigration and returns the federal government to some sort of fiscal sanity. It would really be nice to hold those responsible for the Iraq mess accountable too, while working toward a reasonable solution that allows for a withdrawal of U.S. forces.
Let's give the 110th Congress a chance to prove itself. We can reevaluate in 2008.