There are two reasons that the Republicans “won” the house and took more senate seats. One of them was made clear last night at dinner. Our waitress was funny. She started out a little funny-strange, then went to funny-ha ha, and I left the restaurant liking her and wishing more people were mostly like her. The funny-strange bit derived from her thoughtful pauses following certain questions like “do you have vegetables” and “you are out of my favorite beer, what should I drink” and so on. It turns out that we were pretty nearly her first customers ever, and she was hiding her nervousness very well but something (strange) was seeping through. She also heard and began to engage in our conversation, and was probably unsure how appropriate that might be (a good question, indeed). When we proved friendly the banter amongst us evolved into an all-out Michele Bachmann bash-fest, funny-strange had evolved into funny-ha ha and I was glad to be giving this person a tip instead of some Michele Bachmann supporter.
But during the conversation, this interesting thing was said: “Two years ago, I was a total political activist. I did all sorts of things. For some reason this is not so true this year. I’m not sure why.” And, this was embedded in a larger conversation about how it is silly that everybody thinks Obama is lame for having not done anything. A, he has done stuff, and B, you can’t do everything in two years, and C, when did anyone who got elected to that office ever do half of what they talked about during the election. So her present day relative apathy was not a function of disillusionment.
And that is one of the two reasons that the election leaned towards the right this year. For some reason, our waitress, and zillions like her … burned out, too busy, distracted, not fired up for some reason … did not go into the trenches this time around.
Next year, they will, of course. At least, that’s what she promised me last night.
The second reason is the drop off in African American voting rates this time around. African American voting rates are always abysmal, but with an African American candidate nominated by a major party, they went up two years ago. Hopefully they will go up again in two years. In the mean time, we need to find a way to make them always be higher than they typically are.
In the mean tie the hypocrisy festers and the potential for internal strive within the teabagger movement grows. Rush Limbaugh is now telling his drones that “pre-existing conditions coverage” is welfare. He is attacking the most popular part of the health care reform bill. This will work. Pretty soon we’ll have photographs of teabaggers, at rallies, holding up signs equating pre-existing conditions with Communism.
In the mean time, Rand Paul, who made a major campaign promise to fight against “earmarks,” has already turned his position and he is not even sworn in yet. We went from this:
“Rand Paul has made a ban on wasteful earmark spending in Washington D.C. one of the key points of his campaign … He has supported Sen. Jim DeMint’s vocal support for an earmark ban and he supports news that House Democrats are even coming around on the idea of a partial ban.”
In an interview published over the weekend … Paul signaled a major backtrack on a core campaign promise: cutting federal earmarks. … “In a bigger shift from his campaign pledge to end earmarks, he tells me that they are a bad “symbol” of easy spending but that he will fight for Kentucky’s share of earmarks and federal pork…”
In the mean time, cooler heads prevail. The US Supreme Court has turned down a challenge to the health care reform bill launched by Republicans.
Now, this is a tricky one, and smells like a Newt (as in the stinky kind of Newt, New Gingrich). The presentation of a challenge to the supreme court over an issue that has not been brought to a lower court is routinely ignored. So what we have here is either an abysmally incompetent former Republican lawmaker, or a cynical move to make the court look like it is against a really bad idea that happens to be popular among teabaggers.
A similar event has happened in Oklahoma. Oklahomans, as you know, carried out a number of utterly stupid political acts earlier this month, causing this blog to consider naming Oklahoma as the stoopedist state evah. One of their brilliant ideas was to ban Islamic Law from Oklahoma. Part of that was to bad all foreign law. Crazy people proposed this on a ballot and the babies who call themselves voters and citizens in the not so OK state voted for it because they were afraid that with an Islamic Caliphate Loving President and all that pretty soon the Mosque-o-vites would be knocking on their precious doors.
The Oklahoma chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations challenged the conditional amendment on the grounds that it officially casts disfavor and condemnation on the Muslim community. In response, a judge has stayed the amendment. We’ll see what happens next. Details are here if you want to follow up.
The point of these two stories is that voters and right wing politicians can bluster and fuss and do stupid crap, but our system has checks and balances and sometimes those checks and balances kinda work.
One wonders if the recent decline in ratings of Fox News is also important.