That was quite a night last night, wasn’t it?
Pardon me, I know it’s immature, but I’ve waited a long while to do this:
Whew. There. I feel better now.
Anyway, let’s review what happened in the Great Shellacking Part II (1), courtesy of those fine fellows at Real Clear Politics. Click the links for larger, updated versions:
First, the Senate. It was beautiful:
Not only did the Republicans wrest control of the Senate from that vile wretch Harry Reid, but they added plenty of seats to give themselves a cushion for 2016, when many of their own seats will be up for grabs. Things officially stand at a net gain of 7, but with Alaska all but officially a Sullivan victory and Mary Landrieu an almost certain dead duck in the coming runoff, I fully expect a final number of plus-9. That, my friends, is not just a wave, but a tsunami. And with Senator Angus King of Maine (I) sure to seek the best deal he can get, expect an effect 55-45 Republican majority for the next two years.
I had predicted plus-8, but I am happy to be wrong. I was also wrong about my surprise pick, expecting Scott Brown to win in New Hampshire. While I’m sorry to see he didn’t, I was overjoyed at Thom Tillis beating the corrupt incumbent, Kay Hagan, in North Carolina. Congratulations to my blog buddy Sister Toldjah for pulling it off. She and a lot of Carolina conservatives worked their fannies off for this win, and I couldn’t be more thrilled for them.
I was also happy to see State Senator Joni Ernst beat the laughable Bruce Braley in Iowa and Rep. Cory Gardner defeat the monomaniacal Senator
Uterus Udall in Colorado.
The schadenfreude was sweet, my friends.
Then, the House. Biggest Republican majority since at least 1946 (some say 1928):
Plus-13 for the majority party in an era when both parties are despised seems amazing to me, but the Republicans pulled it off. And they may pick up a few more, depending on how a few close California (!) races shake out. Well done, Nancy Pelosi! I hope they keep you in the Minority Leader’s job for years to come.
And finally, the gubernatorial races, which held some pleasant shockers:
Amazingly, the Republicans held Kansas (handily) and Florida when both incumbents had been almost given up for dead, and picked up Arkansas, Massachusetts (!), Maryland (!!), and Illinois (!!!), losing only Pennsylvania. That gives the Republicans 31 governors, which may be the largest in decades.
Now, with all that good news, the question remains, what do the Republicans do?
Naturally, like any good self-important blogger, I have some advice for the respective caucuses.
First, do NOT impeach Barack Obama. Seriously. Unless he ax-murders a convent full of nuns and orphans on national TV or declares himself Emperor, just forget it. The nation did not elect you to overturn the 2012 election, and no national consensus exists for his removal, a political prerequisite for successful impeachment and removal. Democrats may be shell-shocked after what just happened, but, I guarantee you there will be no way to get the needed crossover votes for removal. I agree he richly deserves impeachment, but it would be wasted effort and a self-inflicted wound for our side. If you want to prove to the public that all their worst fears about irresponsible politicians are true, you would find no better way than jumping foaming at the mouth on an impeachment bandwagon.
And it would be just what Obama and his Alinskyite allies would want.
But that does not mean we cannot play hardball with Obama. Republicans should put him on the spot by passing good, sensible measures –such as approving the Keystone XL pipeline– that have real benefits for the average American, and then dare The One to veto them. We may not be able to override those vetoes, but, with his shield-bearer in the Senate, Harry Reid, now in the minority, he won’t be able to hide from tough decisions any longer. Go ahead, repeal Obamacare and replace it with a good free-market solution. Open up drilling off our coasts. Relax coal regulations and thus lower energy prices for the masses. Pass one good measure after another and force Obama to either take an unpopular stand or acquiesce, thus frustrating his core supporters.
Just keep in mind we won’t be able to override most vetoes. That doesn’t mean we don’t fight, but don’t expect much in the way of positive policy results until (we hope) we have control of both Congress and the presidency in 2017.
The same with Obama and executive actions. The presidency is powerful (perhaps too powerful) and Obama can do a lot with his infamous phone and pen. But now, with control of both chambers, Congress can make statist bureaucrats’ lives miserable with hearings and public exposure, as well as educational budget cuts (2). Congress’ investigatory and budget powers are among its most powerful weapons for reining in the Executive. Don’t be afraid to use them.
Just use them judiciously, with wisdom and prudence. Do that, and the people will be ready for real hope and change in the White House in 2016.
But also feel free to bask for a bit in the afterglow of that wonderful night last night.
(1) For my comments on the Great Shellacking Part I, go here.
(2) Which will much more effective now that we have both chambers of Congress and don’t have to deal with Harry “We’re not votin’ on nuthin'” Reid.
RELATED: Yuval Levin on the right agenda for a Republican congress.