Let say this right up front: last night was not a good night for Americans with a progressive bent. Hell, it wasn’t even a good one for moderates, considering that moderate Republicans are pretty thin on the ground these days. But, are things really as bad as some of the progressive blogs and websites are saying? Maybe. But, then again, maybe not.
In his article for The Nation, George Zornick tells us why Republican control of the Senate sucks, saying “this new alignment is going to be hugely problematic for progressive governance—perhaps for governance, period.” Then, he lists all the ways the GOP will attempt to thwart the President and destroy his legacy. And, my friend, Mark Sandlin of The God Article, says that the Republican Party’s purchase of a Senate majority((Make no mistake, they bought it just as surely as if they went to Wal-Mart)) will bring renewed attacks on women, voting rights, the Affordable Care Act, Social Security and pretty much anything else that’s good for middle and working-class Americans. He also mentions the threat of impeachment the President now faces because a whole lot of people gave into their fear and hatred of change. But, could all of these things really happen?
Sure, they could. But, honestly, I’ll be surprised if they do. For all those things to come about would require a level of cooperation that I don’t believe Republicans are capable of right now. Think about it, for a minute, John Boehner’s biggest problems in the House haven’t come from the Democrats, but from within his own party. Tea party nut jobs have upset his apple cart on multiple occasions since they stormed to power 4 years ago and I don’t see that changing any time soon. Considering that the Senate has its own share of
insane eccentric characters (like Ted Cruz and James Inhofe), I have a feeling Mitch McConnell, the new Senate Majority leader, and Boehner will be doing quite a bit of commiserating over the next couple of years.
But, for the sake of argument, let’s say this latest crop of old, white guys we’ve sent to Washington to represent our interests((not that they will, unless your name is Koch, Adelson or Pope)) actually can come together enough to pull all that off. If they could, would it be the end of the world? No, it wouldn’t. Don’t get me wrong, things would be bad, really bad. But, maybe they would finally be bad enough to get Americans off their asses and to the polls to send these clowns packing.
Really, though, last night isn’t that much of a win for the Republicans because, now, they actually have to govern. No more sitting on the back row shouting NO! to everything the President and the Democrats put forward. Now, they’ll actually have to do something. And, I don’t mean repealing the ACA, dismantling Social Security and impeaching the President. Those things won’t help put people back to work, put more money in their pocket or keep governmental Nosy Parkers out of our bedrooms and bodies, which is what most of are looking for right now. That’s not to say they won’t try any of that. But, they’ll likely have about as much success as they have so far. Which is to say: not much.
So, what do I think will happen over the next two years? Nothing much. Oh, there will sound and fury aplenty, but not much will actually get done, which will only increase voter dissatifaction with Congress. You think their approval rating is low now, what till you see what two years of Republican dithering does to it. It’s entirely possible this mid-term “win” for the Republicans will turn out to be a millstone around their necks in 2016. After losing so badly in the last presidential election, the GOP seemed to realize their party needed to join the rest of us in the current century and some of their more foward-thinking people actually put forth some changes to do that. Unfortunately, party ideologues nipped that in the bud and things quickly returned to business as usual. Winning control of the Legislative branch without enacting any of those changes, coupled with the absence of actual ideas to move the country forward, will most likely spell doom for the chances of a Republican in the White House anytime soon.
So, what’s the bottom line here? Basically, buck up brothers and sisters, it’s not as bad as it looks. Even the worst case scenario has distinct implications of long-term benefit to progressive government in the good ol’ U. S. of A. Even it didn’t, moping and whining isn’t going to help. Look at this way, for the next two years, we get to watch the Grand Old Party publicly self-destruct. Let’s just hope they don’t take us down with them.