Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Election 2014 - The Aftermath

There are pundits galore, all over the political universe it seems, who will make meaning out of yesterday's election results. Be careful whom you choose to believe.

I have remained intentionally silent in the run up to this election, privately hoping for the results we observed, but not going public with those aspirations. Putting control of the Senate back into the hands of the Republicans has little to do with their superior agenda, in my opinion. Rather, this election was a stout repudiation of Barack Obama's misguided policies across the whole political waterfront. His much-ballyhooed base seemingly evaporated in this election. The vaunted Democratic election machine ground to an embarrassingly squeaky halt.

We are being told this morning the Democrats need to reinvent themselves in the wake of this stunning defeat for Barack Obama as leader of the party.

He won't see it that way, and in fact one of his aides was quoted this morning in the NY Times as saying exactly that: "He doesn't feel repudiated." And this from a man who boldly declared this election was about ALL his policies, "every single one."

It wasn't that long ago there were cries for the Republicans to reinvent themselves, allegations they were a divided party in search of unity, woefully unable to connect to the American people. Well, times change, people change their views, and the political pendulum swings back and forth. Now it is the Republicans who are trending upward. And that will change someday too.

Not only did Republicans win seven Democratic Senate seats (and counting), lost none, and took control of the Senate, but they did something far more significant for the long term health of the Republic by dislodging Harry Reid (D-NV) as the Senate Majority Leader. He has single-handedly and heavy-handedly, broken the Senate rules repeatedly to make new rules to suit his own political needs.

This morning, he sounded like a statesman: “I’d like to congratulate Senator McConnell (R-KY), who will be the new Senate Majority Leader. The message from voters is clear: they want us to work together. I look forward to working with Senator McConnell to get things done for the middle class.”

Based on what Harry Reid has done for the middle class over the last six years, no one should be holding their breath that Harry Reid will ever become anything but the obstructionist he has always been. But hope springs eternal, I suppose. History, I predict, will judge Harry Reid harshly as the author of chaos and divisiveness in the legislative process these last six years. I hope Republicans will model true leadership better, now that the reins are in their hands. I am, and will always be, optimistic about the future of America.

In addition, the Republicans added more governorships throughout the country. Democrats won only one and lost four, including bluer than blue Maryland. Even Illinois added a Republican governor! In the House, Democrats lost at least eight seats, probably more when the final results are in. There are now more House Republicans on Capitol Hill than have been seated since World War II.

Mia Love's family
Several firsts in the House include the election of Mia Love (R-UT), the first black Republican conservative woman, who is also a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. That is an historic "first" worth celebrating, and the citizens of the 4th Utah Congressional District are to be congratulated for their foresight.

Orrin Hatch (R-UT) finally is realizing his dream to become the Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, and as an added bonus he will be named the President Pro Tempore, now fourth in line to the presidency and the recipient of his own Secret Service security detail. For the uninitiated, that office is provided for in the Constitution (yes, we are still governed by it), and is the senior Senator in the majority party who sits (ceremoniously) in the seat of the President of the Senate, who is the Vice President, when the Vice President is not there (which is nearly always never).

There’s no reason to gloat this morning. You couldn't fairly call it a "wave" election. But it could be accurately characterized as the election where Democrats suffered worse than the mid-terms four years ago in 2010.

I hope I'm not stretching too far to think this might just be the end of the liberal progressive Democratic governance and all of Washington's gross spending excesses. My fear is that Republicans have been prone in the past to be the all too willing collaborators for the spending orgy.

Let's hope for some responsible budget setting governance to replace what we've witnessed in the last six years.

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