Friday, November 5, 2010

Post-Partum Election 2010

Thousands of early and provisional ballots still await the counter's hand, and some races are still too close to call, but I'll go ahead and put on my amateur pundit hat.

Probation Revoked. It took only four years for Democrats to lose control of Congress. That was after Republicans held it for 12. And so it continues: the partisan oscillation fomented by an electorate that runs to the opposition party every time they're stiffed by the one in power. The Dems were on probation the minute they took the gavel. Now they're back in the pokey. The GOP will be there, too, if it doesn't deliver.

I don't mean to discourage anybody from holding our elected officials to the fire; that's what we're here to do. Yet the back-and-forth over less than two decades has me a bit concerned about the future of our two-party system. I saw a t-shirt the other day that expressed it a little more bluntly: "The more I see of people, the more I love my dog."

From The Top. The Dems can lay most of their suffering at the feet of the commander-in-chief. President Obama overestimated his political capital from the start, ramming through a bloated stimulus package and flawed health care plan. Now he's facing a Republican house and a barely Democratic senate. Whatever agenda he had for the rest of his first term, he can throw it in the trash.

The president offers a mia culpa on Sunday's "60 Minutes," admitting he was so focused on legislation, he forgot about leadership.

As for his plans to make amends with Republicans... wait, is that snide laughter I hear?

By A Nose (or, A Mustache). I secretly predicted Rep. Raul Grijalva would win a squeaker after his hissy-fit call for a boycott of Arizona following the signing of SB1070. Sure enough, he ended up in a tight race with Ruth McClung. As of this writing, the AP and MSNBC are calling the election for him. A 12th-hour loss is still possible but not trending that way.

Given the trend holds, Grijalva has one of two interpretations before him:
1) It's time to make amends and start listening to the people who nearly booted him out.
2) The base saved his behind and he owes them, much the same way Sen. Russell Pearce says Gov. Jan Brewer owes him.

The books are now open for bets on which option Grijalva chooses. My money is on #2, given that Grijalva went ahead and declared victory on Election Night.

Red State Blues. With their ranks continuing to dwindle in the state legislature, it won't be long before Arizona Democratic lawmakers end up on the Endangered Species list. The GOP picked up three seats in the Senate, giving them 21 out of 30 -- a two-thirds majority. In the state House, they'll hold at least 37 out of 60 seats.

Perhaps the state Democratic honchos are considering a statement like this:
Dear Electorate,

We realize most of you consider us a dadgum nuisance rather than the loyal opposition, but allow us to remind you that a healthy democracy requires people willing to hold others accountable. In the months to come, we expect to see a lot of bills come down the pipe ranging from sensible to guano insane, and there will be times when our conscience forces us to speak. You won't like our words, but we kindly ask that you at least hear us out before you vote us out.

If the above does not agree with your persuasions, we are currently examining a large plot of land in rural Montana.

Arizona Democrats
Take This Tax And Shove It! On the local level, Tucsonans thunderously rejected Proposition 400, which would have hiked the city sales tax a half-cent to pay for core services like police and fire protection. For months, TPD and TFD warned of layoffs and cuts. Now the voters are saying, "Go cut yourself!" We'll see if any dire predictions of a lawless city come to fruition.

Prop 401 also tanked. It would've changed the city charter to give the mayor more voting power and raised council salaries, among other things. Do you get the feeling we have a large slice of local citizenry eager to pay our leaders 25 cents a day and feed them dog food for what they've done to the budget?

You Can't Win 'Em All. The Tea Party proved it can't be ignored, but among its victories on Election Night, a glaring loss stands out. In Maryland, Senate candidate Christine O'Donnell found a certain body part handed to her by Democrat Chris Coons. The GOP brass warned she was no match for Coons, even with her primary victory and the tide turning against the Dems, and they didn't endorse her.

We can go back and forth over whether that lack of support doomed her, but you can't ignore this: she may not be a witch, but a big loss after a big win is certainly a word that rhymes with it.

And In Closing... How many of you would have voted for the Libertarian candidates if they had bothered to run TV ads? How many of you even knew they were on the ballot before you saw their lines underneath the R's and D's?

We have a lot of people in America who are spitting on both parties right now. You would think this would be the time for the LBT's to capitalize on it and get their alternatives out there. Yet once again, they are comfortable being the protest party instead of playing to win.

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