Tuesday night, November 2, 2010, was one of the most exciting elections eves I’ve spent in recent times watching unfold a not-so-surprising political turnaround in our country’s voting out an agenda they deemed too radical, too rushed, and not in their best interest. They spoke out candidly and decidedly, invoking their right to change the course of Washington politics–dramatically so.
On Wednesday morning, as the ashes from the previous night’s fires across the country settled on our nation’s capital, the pundits frantically searched for the meaning of such an abrupt and clear repudiation of the politics of Democrats in power, especially the president’s own policies which were aided and abetted for nearly two years by a Congress who obviously miscalculated the effects of the nature of the change they hard-pressed on the country. Even the normally calm, cool, and collected Barack Obama appeared befuddled and dismayed at what he openly admitted was a “shellacking.” His very demeanor–stoop-shouldered and somber, pain reflected in his eyes–was witness to the cold hard facts of an astounding defeat, a defeat beyond the imagination of the overly-confident Democrats.
The very scope of the defeat was stunning. The Republicans had retaken the House by a wide margin of more than sixty seats, a defeat of such a magnitude not seen for more than a half-century. They could and should have had the Senate also if not for nominating some tea party-sponsored dingbats in Connecticut, Delaware, and Nevada as well. Nevada, especially, was the Republicans’ Senate seat for easy picking so disgruntled were the Nevadans with Harry Reid. He was toast until Republican candidate Sharron Angle displayed her total ineptness–bumbling through an election which was all hers to win. Oh, well, maybe next time.
The vote counting has been done and now the governing can begin. The question is: “Will the Republicans, heady in victory, screw it up again?” Will they lose direction and misinterpret the choice of the people to hand over the House and strengthen their hand in the Senate by overstepping their bounds? They have an uncanny tendency to do just that as recent history shows.
Republicans were given a second chance Tuesday to govern in a manner acceptable to the voters and to get something accomplished. They must right the ship of state, set new courses, and do so in such a manner as to not alienate their constituents. That voters sent so many new people to Washington is testament to their expectations as well as their dissatisfaction with the status quo. Now Republicans must be wary of the politics of ‘no’ and muster the troops to get something done without all the viciousness of the past. Bickering and bullying won’t do that.
There will be a tendency to revel in the aftermath of the bloodbath the voters inflicted. There will be an inclination of payback to the Democrats for their ruthless tactics over the past two years in denying Republicans their fair share of participation in governing. Republicans cannot make this mistake again for to do so will ensure loss of power in 2012. The voters have lent them the reins of authority for a short period to see what they can do and how they do it and not to invoke a midnight political massacre on Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid, et. al. Though God knows, they deserve it.
If the Republicans are to become as judicious as they will need to be, they will invoke a modicum of civility into any and all discussions and use the art of logical persuasion to accomplish what they seek to achieve in the next two years. Republicans cannot rely on the tactics of obstruction nor the reckless politics of bombard and bombast if they wish to reestablish the confidence of the voting public–and retain it.
One thing most obvious in the midterm elections of 2010 is the disgust with an embittered Congress, an arrogant Congress as uncivil in its public display of governing as any ever in our history. The bickering, partisanship, and general lack of civility displayed over the past two years is contemptible–on both sides of the aisle. Voters are fed up with such partisan nonsense and showed their disdain on Tuesday night. More is expected of our elected officials–if they fail to deliver on the voters expectations, it’s to the curb with them!
Compromise, cooperate, coordinate will be the watchwords of the voters. Get something done to get this country back in gear and moving forward again. Stop wasting valuable time on politics for politics sake and begin to rebuild based on the spirit of what’s best for America and not what’s best for each respective party. Forget about reelection for now. Do your jobs and reelection is yours. Fail and you’re out. That’s what the voters said–and they damned well mean it, too.
In their evaluations as to just where they stand now in Washington politics, the Republicans would be well-advised to pay heed to that old adage: “Revenge is a dish best served cold.” For, as Confucius so wisely observed, “Before you embark on a journey of revenge, dig two graves.”