(This is the first of two posts on yesterday’s election. This one deals with the overall results, while the next will focus on California.)
Forget any the spin coming from the Democrats and their allies on the Left. And you Righties put down your disappointment that Republicans didn’t sweep all before them. An honest look at the results tells us one indisputable fact: last night was a great night and a near-total rejection of the (Social) Democratic agenda and their anti-Constitutional means of pursuing it. In the results so far, the Republicans have gained 60 seats in the House (11 outstanding), for the biggest win by any party since 1948. And they knocked off several powerful committee chairmen. Minority Leader and Speaker-in-Waiting John Boehner struck the right tone in his victory speech, even getting a bit emotional toward the end:
Boehner has it right: Republicans won, but largely because the Democrats scared the Hell out of the electorate. They now have to prove they’re worthy of the second chance the public has given them.
In the Senate, the Republicans have so far gained six seats, a good result in any year, but, honestly, a bit disappointing nonetheless. Colorado may go to a recount and Alaska may take days or weeks to resolve (“Write in” currently leads). A Murkowski win there would be a black eye for Sarah Palin, a longtime foe of the Murkowski family. Disappointments include West Virginia, California, Nevada, and maybe Colorado and Washington, though those are too close to call and may go to recounts. Losing the first three killed any realistic chance to flip the Senate.
On the bright side, though, were several nice wins: Ron Johnson upended Russ Feingold in Wisconsin, in a big victory for the 1st amendment (Feingold was one-half of the execrable McCain-Feingold campaign “reform” act.) Mark Kirk defeated Mob banker Alexi Giannoulias in Illinois; because this was also a special election, Kirk takes his seat immediately, reinforcing our side in the event a filibuster is necessary to stop any stupid legislation from passing during the coming lame-duck session. Pat Toomey won a close race in Pennsylvania, bring a voice of fiscal sanity to the Upper Chamber.
Perhaps the most promising win last night, though was that of Marco Rubio in Florida, for two reasons. First, it was the final nail in the coffin of Charlie Crist, the Governor of Florida who revealed himself to be free of any sense of honor, principle, or even shame. Good riddance.
However, it’s even better because of Rubio, himself. He has a fantastic personal story, his principles are good (and he sticks to them), he’s intelligent, and the man gives one helluva good speech. Here’s his victory address from last night:
Republicans also managed to capture many governorships (22 of 37 races, with 6 to go) and legislatures, some of the latter for the first time since Reconstruction. (And congratulations to my blog-buddy Sister Toldjah for the Republican takeover of the North Carolina legislature for the first time since 1898. We know you were the secret power behind it all. ) These results are important not only for the individual states themselves, but also for redistricting in the wake of the 2010 census. (Yes, I know I’ve railed against gerrymandering in the past, and I still loathe it, but, if those are the bad rules in place, we might as well put them to good ends.)
So, what does this mean for the future? For the Republicans, as Ed Morrissey writes, they’re on probation. The new class, with a strong majority in the House and a strengthened minority (and chastened Democratic majority, perhaps) in the Senate, has a mandate to reign in spending, debt, and the growth of intrusive government. They may be able to accomplish some of this, but I wouldn’t expect many legislative accomplishments on all but the most bipartisan issues. And were they able to pass, for example, a repeal of ObamaCare, they wouldn’t be able to override a veto.
A more reasonable expectation is for the Republican caucuses to act as a break on the progressive-statist agenda, stifling new measures and slowing down the implementation of what’s been passed, perhaps through a refusal to provide funds. However, I also expect Obama to pursue his radical agenda through the bureaucracy, via administrative regulation and executive order, now that he’s effectively lost Congress. He’s not the skilled political triangulator that Clinton was; he’s an ideologue whose goal is the fundamental transformation of the United States in a democratic-socialist direction.
In other words, with renewed Republican caucuses that have markedly shifted to the Right toward small-government, free-market politics and a president who’s whole political life has been on the the far Left and whose arrogance inclines him against compromise… Well, let’s say I think gridlock might be the most likely result. And that wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing, for it means Cap-and-Trade and Card Check are dead.
So, consider this step one. Step two is in 2012, when we finish the job.