I haven’t had a good night of election returns in ten years. The last decade has been the fuel of my political cynicism. This is why I’ll be waiting two years for the other shoe to drop. I’ve heard a couple of smart people say that the Democrats didn’t win so much as the GOP lost. I agree, in part… the GOP may have done EVERYTHING wrong leading up to this election; BUT, the Democrats did one smart thing… they ran moderate, center-left candidates targeted against some extremely conservative incumbents in not quite so conservative districts. Maybe that sounds like a no-brainer… but it has seemed like the blue party was short a few political neurons for the last ten years.
Take Rick Santorum (YES!!!). I heard one political hack after another talk about what a nice guy the (ex) Senator from PA was, pointing out some of the rather Democratic issues he championed such as poverty. However, despite his feelings on poverty he was one of the most divisive Republicans in the Senate (in terms of bi-partisan goodwill) – nice guy or not. He was just about as socially conservative as they came, and he was voted out by a more moderate electorate in Pennsylvania – who had a moderate Democratic alternative.
The chairman of the RNC made me feel a little better last night… even if it wasn’t his intent. He said that every two-term president since 1822 lost seats in congress (seats belonging to his party) in the mid-terms of their second term.
As it turns out, he was wrong. Clinton (or more accurately, the Democrats) picked up five seats in 1998 – despite the above history, and despite Ken Starr having released his report on the Monica Lewinsky scandal.