It is a given that the party out of power picks up seats in the off year election.

Why is that? The logic would seem simple. American voters have the patience and vision of a nearsighted 3 year old. Every two years after they have decided that they want a particular party to run the country, they conclude, “Where’s the unicorn I wanted?” and decide that the other party might have a better unicorn ranch…even though the very reason they elected the current party was their dissatisfaction with the delivery of unicorns by the party that was previously in power.

So, first we have to begin with the concept that no matter what the American electorate orders from the menu of Democracy, when it arrives, they always want to send it back and just get the nachos instead.

As disappointing as that principle of American Democracy may be, it creates a paradox that is inescapable.

a. If a party wants to have power, it must win elections.

b. Once a party wins an election, it is held to an unrealistic standard by an impatient public.

c. The party in power, not being able to meet unrealistic expectations is eventually viewed negatively by the public.

d. In the following election, Americans vote for the party they last voted out because, since they are not currently in power, they provide an alternative to the party in power that has failed to meet unrealistic expectations.

e. Rinse and repeat.

What is kind of depressing is that Americans seem unable to commit to long term goals, too reliant on short term gratification to solve profound issues and build long term successes. Can you imagine if the American electorate was a building contractor? Every other month it would tear down the work that had been done all month and replace all the workers because it wanted the perfect house built in a month and that didn’t happen. This is the Sisyphus School of Construction.

This paradox does however necessarily trip up all that participate in it.

The Republicans, after having handed a near Depression to Obama, have executed a Party of No campaign since he was elected. Thanks to our thriving public education system and a fair and balanced MSM , the American Public instead blames Obama and the Dems for what the GOP has wrought. So, just one and a half years after recognizing how destructive the policies of the GOP are, their bi-annual amnesia has kicked in and they’re ready to proclaim to the Party of Destruction, “Thank you sir, may I have another?”

The Republicans will win many seats in Congress, perhaps enough to take over the House. What will that mean?

Well, Michelle Bachman and Darryl Issa have boasted loudly about spending the next two years in a Clinton-style witch hunt against Obama, times 100. Joe Barton, who apologized to BP for their being asked to compensate people for ruining their lives will be in charge of energy policy. And John Boehner who declared that HCR would bring the Apocolypse will be Majority Leader in the House.

Is there a way to give the American electorate an IQ test or at the very least, a consultation with a mental health professional?

But wait, remember the cycle described above? The silver lining to the Repubs possibly taking over the House is that…they will be in power. So now the unrealistic expectations will be projected on them by the Public. In 2012 they won’t be able to run as they are this year, as the outsiders who had no control over the last two years. Uh-oh!!! Yes, they will BS about how, “If only we had all the power in DC, we could bring you the unicorns you want!” but that’s a bit more complicated than just being able to say, “Blame them, we’re not in power, nothing’s our fault!”

And as we learned from a Repub House impeaching Clinton, not to mention the 8 years of Bush and 6 years of Repub control in Congress, give them a little power and they’ll hang themselves with it.

We should work as hard as we can this year to fend off Repub control of the House but if despite all of our best efforts, they win…it could be the big motivator for Dems to get out in 2012 and re-elect Obama and a Dem majority in Congress. We may have to give up two crucial years of gridlock for at least two more years of progress but that might be the best deal we can get.

It is nearly impossible for Obama and Dems to get credit for what they prevented from happening. If we had a President McCain, I think we would have plunged into a massive depression that would have set this nation back twenty years or more from where it is today (giving tax cuts to the wealthy instead of the stimulus spending would have been the nail in the coffin). But that concept is not concrete enough for many out there to appreciate. Nor are all of the other strides Obama has made.

And don’t get me started on the Purist Dems attacking Obama, I imagine many of them smugly watching Repubs win this year, pleased at how it harms Obama’s presidency. If there was a way to give a Wedgie of Mass Discomfort to all of them, I gladly would.

Ultimately, the pendulum that passes for the mass mindset of American Voters will have a chance to swing back to sanity by 2012 and while we can’t give an inch this year, if Repubs win back the House, I think there will be a silver lining to that sulfurous cloud that could descend on DC after this November.

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caleb36
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caleb36

The following thoughts are not particularly original, but perhaps they can help both me and others understand and discuss last night’s election results. First, although this was a very bad night for Democrats, it was not comparable to the watershed disaster of the 1994 election, where the Republicans swept the table on all levels and opened the door to President Clinton’s subsequent impeachment and ultimately the Presidency of George W. Bush. Republican gains last night were selective and regional, and left Democrats in a fairly good defensive position to counter the coming Republican onslaught.

Although the Republicans gained ground in most states, their landslide victories were heavily concentrated in the South and Midwest. The U.S. Senate, despite major Democratic losses, remained solidly in Democratic hands, and the surprisingly large victory of Harry Reid in Nevada was inspiring, as was Barbara Boxer’s victory in California. The loss of the great progressive Senator Russ Feingold in Wisconsin was terribly disappointing. It is election results like this, along was Tea Partier Rand Paul’s victory in the Senate race in Kentucky, that sometimes cast real doubt on the intelligence of the American voter.

The loss of at least 10 Democratic governorships (including a cluster of Midwestern governors in Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Iowa) was at least partially compensated by Jerry Brown’s return to office in California and, in my state of Illinois, the victory of incumbent Democratic Governor Pat Quinn, whom the polls had declared to be behind during the entire election season.

The real disaster was the loss of over 60 Democratic seats in the U.S. House. Here the Republican gains were greater than in 1994, even exceeding the legendary Republican House gains during Truman’s first Presidential term in 1946. The progressive House that Speaker Pelosi crafted has been obliterated. New Speaker John Boehner appears both unintelligent and ominous. His bursting into tears during his victory address last night for no evident reason was EXTREMELY odd behavior.

The import of the loss of Nancy Pelosi as House Speaker is incalculable. Of all the Democratic leaders in the past two years, she has been the most effective, securing the passage of hundreds of bills through the House, most of which, such as the climate control legislation, languished and died in the Senate. The smear campaign launched against Pelosi by Fox News and other conservative outlets was almost beyond belief. They were constantly ridiculing and deprecating her and questioning her sanity. Judging from the various talkback threads I have perused, Pelosi seemed to have had far fewer defenders than did President Obama, perhaps because she was less known and most of what goes on in the House corridors is “inside baseball.” Unfortunately, part of the reason Pelosi had fewer defenders may have been that she is a woman.

In summary, although the Republican gains were not as widespread as in 1994, where the Republicans did triumph, particularly in the U.S. House, their victories were devastating to the cause of progressive change. In response, we can only commit to do more in 2012.

Zoey
Guest
Zoey

Hi Everyone, I wanted to register just too tell AdLib how much I appreciate this article. It has been frustrating to watch the media make so many people dance to their tune. Highly charged emotions, short term memory, mixed with impatience is what I see and hear every day when it comes to politics.

What I don’t hear through all of the distraction is what the Republicans will do to make anything any better. What I see clearly through all of this is that the Republican agenda is not forward thinking.

Sadly, watching too much television and listening to the opinions of others constantly, instead of thinking for ourselves, seems to have left many people making their political decisions the same way they do on Survivor and American Idol. Oh, well….

Thank you for this article. I have printed it out and will read it from time to time as a reality check.

boomer1949
Member

Zoe_y,

Welcome to the Planet. AdLib is our fearless leader and, in addition to being beyond humble, he is one heckofa’ guy.

If you have time, be sure to read the other brilliant articles he has posted.

Also, we do a couple of things on Fridays. Attendance is not mandatory, and most of us are around in some way or another. Friday Night Music Thread kicks it off and than at 7:00 PM PDT we roll right into Vox Populi (live chat with topics for discussion). Drives some of us crazy, but is informative and fun non-the-less. Wreaks havoc on those East of the Mississippi… 😆

If you have questions or are hesitant, be sure to email [email protected]. Our fearless leader is a gentleman, scholar, and by far the most diplomatic individual I’ve “met” in a very long time.

Again Zoe_y, Welcome to the Planet!!

boomer1949
OHIO, USA

bito
Member

Wow, boomer! Yes, Zoe, a warm welcome and everything that boomer said in her very nice welcome. If you don’t feel welcome after that, this may not be to your liking.

Zoey
Guest
Zoey

Oh, but I do feel very welcome thank you.

kesmarn
Admin

Zoe_y, a belated, but heartfelt welcome to the Planet. We look forward to hearing more from you!

AlphaBitch
Member
AlphaBitch

I second Boomer and kesmarn and Bito and the rest – Welcome to the Planet! I’m a “sometimes here” type of person, but I can tell you – you make real connections here. It’s the Planet I prefer at times….

Zoey
Guest
Zoey

Thanks Boomer1949 for the welcome and the information, I appreciate it.

boomer1949
Member

Zoe_y

You’re most welcome and boomer is just fine. The year isn’t that important and only reminds me how old I am. 😀

Kalima
Admin

I think that it’s all been said below, so I’ll just add my welcome to The Planet, and hope that what you find here will encourage you to keep hoping for a better future for America and it’s citizens.

A warm welcome to The Planet Zoe_y.

Zoey
Guest
Zoey

Hi Kalima and thank you.

Khirad
Member

My welcome, as well. Please stay around for a bit. 🙂

choicelady
Member

Welcome Zoe_y – glad to have you on the Planet where the talk is fascinating and sometimes zany. Life is good here, all ideas are welcome, and now – so are you.

dildenusa
Member

I see you forgot my friend Ralph Nader.

And don

KevenSeven
Member

Oh, your analysis could be expanded by considering the impact of TV and cable, especially the nonsense of 24/7 news.

Along with compare/contrast the structure of govt and elections cycles. Like Federal-separation of powers vs parliamentary.

Some parliamentary systems are relatively stable and slow to swap parties, Britain and Germany jump to mind. Others are whacky quick to change governments. Italy is the classic example.

All that could be drawn out much further to expand your points.

bito
Member

Are not most parliamentary governments under minority leadership right now with many smaller parties bargaining away their principles for a seat at the table of power? Seems to me that most all democratic countries are qite divided right now.
Why the dissension, the divisiveness? With your 24/7 cable “news” constantly harping about how unhappy people are, it makes it hard to be happy. People don’t ever have to watch, read or listen to anything they might find disagreeable. One can find web sites, cable stations and radio programs that mirror what they want to hear, never wandering off their reservation.

Then there are the ones that watch nothing but the western channel and still vote. 😉

Mightywoof
Member

Yup, Bito – although I can only talk to Canada and the UK. Canada has 5 parties, 4 of whom are actually in Parliament (Conservatives, Liberals, NDP and the Bloc – the 5th party are the Greens and they made a good showing but didn’t win a seat). The UK has many parties but, and Marion could correct me here, for many years there were only two that held seats – the Conservatives and Labour. I think the LibDems won seats in the last election for the first time (at least in my memory) – there are many parties in the UK.

Depending on the actual vote system used the Parliamentary system can provide a very stable form of government – first past the post (like Canada’s) means whoever wins the most seats gets to be the government. If the government has a majority then they really get to govern, if they get a minority they can still govern but can be over turned if the other parties vote against them on a budget bill.

The most unstable form of democratic government, in my view, is proportional representation – it may be more democratic than first past the post but then you end up with a government that can’t govern and the most peculiar (and occasionally unsavoury) bedfellows (Israel and the hard religious right comes to mind). There’s a lot more to it than that. I also think having defined terms of government is bad for democracy – if a government (in your case the Dems) cannot get the confidence of the House then another election should be called – it;s amazing how it concentrates the minds of those in government if they don’t want to go back to the voters!

You’re right about the divisiveness right now – I think there are many reasons for this – globalisation where the middle and lower income folks have seen their jobs disappear to the east, the increasing divide between the haves and the have-nots, a political class that seems to be more concerned with large corporations rather than the ‘man in the street’, turning from small c to large C capitalism and, this is my personal beef, turning citizens into customers …… it’s a never ending and exhausting list!

Khirad
Member

Nah the LibDems have been around for a while and been fairly consistent as the last half in two and a half parties. And it is a merger of older parties (well one didn’t last that long and included part of Labour emigres), too. They actually did worse than expected this year.

Mightywoof
Member

Heh Khirad – I know the LibDems or their predecessors have been around since my grandparents were twinkles in their parents eyes – or even longer in the case of the Whigs 😆 but while I was growing up (admittedly that was in the dark ages) they were so small as to be non-existent. I think this last election was the first one that they won any actual seats in Westminster. Oops – I should Wiki before I speak!! They have been winning seats in Westminster – 20 seats in their first election of 1992.

I know they were expected to do better than they did and from comments I’ve read in the Guardian I think their coalition has hurt them badly with their supporters.

KevenSeven
Member

There is an enormous range of variability in parliamentary systems.

Britain has a system that I don’t really understand, but I do know that the Liberal Dems get a lot less seats than they do votes. Britain would be a 2 and a quarter party system.

At the extreme end of thaq is the Israeli kenneset, where if you have 120th of the vote, you have a seat. If Israel had had a three party system (representation requires attaining some minimum. 15 or 20%) a two state solution would have been achieved decades ago.

I think Germany and Sweden and Holland have things structured such that typically three parties are represented, or possibly four. But not lots more than that. Italy is famous for having governments change every year, not not as much of late.

So, no, I am pretty sure there are several stable parliaments going today.

bito
Member

K7, I did not mean to insinuate that most Parliamentary governments aren’t “stable”, I asked that weren’t most of them being run with a divided government under a minority lead coalition. I believe that Germany and all of the members of old “Crown Colonies” are right now. The other point I was attempting to make was that some of the parties that join the leadership have lost their credibility in the voters eyes. IE. the Greens in Germany, perhaps the Greens in Australia, and now the LibDems in Britain. I’ll let MightyWoof explain Canada.

I’m sorry, I am losing your point. Are you saying that the parliamentary system is better because of its stability, its better representation, or what exactly?

Khirad
Member

You can now add the Aussies to that.

bito
Member

Hey she has a huge majority–ONE VOTE 😆 She said this morning that it will survive the three years before the next scheduled elections.

3 weeks? 3 months? 😉

bito
Member

Should the Republican Party puge this man? Does this pass the purity test?

My idea is everybody from Stanford who

choicelady
Member

bito- I was told by a VERY good source, that he remains perhaps the scariest person running becausse of his lies about accepting integration. Quite recently he walked out of a meeting saying to an aide – “Great meeting. No C***s here.” (Reference to Black people, not women, but then what’s the diff? He probably disrespects both.) My one shining hope is that this nation has not often tolerated the chubby and mush-mouthed, so it’s not likely he will go very far, racism or no. Personally I don’t want him purged – I want him “outed” for his racism and disgusting attitudes. The MSM, including HuffPo, do NOT expose these people enough.

bito
Member

C’Lady, Oh, I don’t think he is close to getting purged. I was being my sarcastic self and pointing out his/the party’s hypocrisy. If he decided to actually run will the poverty of Mississippi be exposed? How about the huge disparity between the have’s and have nots in that state.
I am unsure of the order of his dislikes. Women, blacks or just all poor people.

He calls his lobbying practice for large corps and illegal money raising from foreign companies a public service and he is proud of it.

bito
Member

So many perplexing things in this chart from the Gallup poll.

http://yglesias.thinkprogress.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/healthcaregallup.jpg

How is on the plus side for some of these topics is beyond me!
Terrorism +24? Why? Have we had some major attacks that I haven’t heard about? Did some laws get changed? No, in fact the “Patriot Act” was renewed, more foreign arrests, more targeted drone attacks?

Immigration +15? Why again? Illegal immigration is down, more deportations, especially criminals (up 40% from Bush), more actions by DOJ on businesses?

Federal Spending +15? Bush went from a surplus and left Obama with 1.37 billion deficit and a huge tax cut for the rich, a recession and two wars to pay for and his deficit was only 1.7 billion? Where is this wasteful outrageous spending by the Dems?

The Economy +11? Oh, I understand the Dems didn’t blink nod their head and wiggle their nose like Genie or Samantha. The ecomy is improving quite steadily, people, yes unemployment is still too high. I mean Rayguns unemployment rate zoomed down from 10.8% to 8.5% in two years and the inflation rate was over 5%. Why can’t Obama do that “magic”? (snark)

OK, the thing is thay many of the R’s and Tea Partyers are all “We’re going to repeal HCR!” and that polls at -1 for the R’s! That is a non-issue?!?!

Go down the list and please help me understand, please. Someone, anyone?

http://yglesias.thinkprogress.org/2010/09/health-care-and-stimulus/

Moist Robot
Member
Moist Robot

I agree with the gentleman below, who fancies himself a physicist, by saying this is a most excellent piece, Adlib

bito
Member

Will the Republicans unveil a “plan” to combat their party of no label? Will they be able to appease both the GOP-“Regulars” and the demands of Tea Party-“Insurgents?” There is a faction that believes that not outlining a platform for the mid-terms is best. Will it, should it, be a new “Contract on Americans”?

The 1994 “Contract with America” included a pledge from Republicans that within the first 100 days of the 104th Congress they would introduce 10 major pieces of legislation:

KQµårk 死神
Member

One of your best pieces Adlib because it shows how the shortsighted American people are and why they get what they deserve for not thinking about the future instead of the present. I for one saw allot of this coming from the right and left. The right only cared abut getting back in power and have proven they will take down this country to do it and libs/progs think government can wave a magic wand and fix everything. The first truth can only be described as sedition and the second truth you descriped with your metaphor.

No one seems to remember history FDR did all he could to get out of the only economic period we can compare to these past couple of years. By today’s standards his congress would have been booted within 2 years and even though that did not happen to his presidency it still took WWII to get out of the GD. The big difference back then was Americans were patient and not driven like automatons with slanted media from the right and left.

KevenSeven
Member

Quark.

Adlib’s rather trenchant column does not “show” anything.

It argues a point. A point that could readily be challenged.

Not that I don’t agree with it. But it is not “evidence” in any scientific manner, and thus “shows” nothing.

Rather it lines up generally accepted observations about the nature of American politics and draws a not terribly controversial conclusion.

Nicely written, but not proof of anything.

Just saying.

Kalima
Admin

O/T, excuse me, but it’s great to see you here again K. Missed you muchly.

KevenSeven
Member

OK, “Menu of Democracy” should not have a capital “D”. This may seem pedantic or trivial, but it is not. It is a serious point.

And while I grooved on most of this, it sure as hell sounds like what the Reactionaries like to tag us with: sense of superiority over the ignorant unwashed.

Not that I cannot sing chorus on that, but how persuasive would this be without that tone?

Just thinking back to my old tone….which has not gone away….

bito
Member

There you go AdLib, they are starting fresh out of the gate with a sure winner in 2012!! Mr. “if-it-smiles-funny-bomb-it” Bolton.

Earlier this week, when the Daily Caller asked neoconservative war hawk John Bolton if he wanted to run for president in 2012, the former (recess-appointed) U.N. ambassador wouldn

Moist Robot
Member
Moist Robot

Your comment is awaiting moderation.

I got my unicorns and I’m still upset! I was promised a trial box of unicorn glitter reality sprinkles to put on my unicorns so they would actually exist outside of my minds.

Obama is JUST like that guy who sold me those sea monkeys I saw advertised in that Archie comic book when I was going through my limerent relationship with Jughead.

NO! The sea monkeys don’t sit in their livingroom watching TV while the mom monkey serves them cake! It was a hoax!

Obama is the man I voted for to give me my unicorns and unicorn glitter reality sprinkles, but all I got were three unicorns and a flashback of a crushing sea monkey disappointment.

I’m voting Republican no matter who runs on that side.

KQµårk 死神
Member

ridiculous hyperbole no further comment needed.

Moist Robot
Member
Moist Robot

Really?

Explain.

bito
Member

MR, What principles do the Republicans have that appeal to you?

Rudy
Member
Rudy

There is a word called a self-fulfilling prophecy in which we predict something that directly or indirectly causes itself to become true. Our constant belief that Republicans will retake the House and Senate is ridiculous. We need to stop doing that because it doesn’t have to happen.

I believe that for the first time, Democrats will finally break the trend of losing control of both houses at every midterm. I have no doubt. Of course, they will probably lose some seats but they will definitely gain new ones and I hope that b*tch Bachman is one of the seats they take. She need to be placed in a lunatic asylum where she belongs because she is batshit crazy.

And for purists, I never believed they were ever true liberals/progressives. They are just a bunch of folks pretending to be outraged liberals, ratfucking us. It’s not many of them, it just seems like a whole lot of them because they are talking the loudest. We need to start ignoring them.

Kalima
Admin

I agree Rudy, the Republican scare tactics seem to be working on the Dems a little too well. The only good thing that would come out of a Republican majority is that they would actually be in the public focus long enough to have to do much more than say no or filibuster every darned thing in Congress, taking the harsh spotlight off the Dems there for a time, and make this bunch of incorrectly wired layabouts, work for their paychecks for a change

Oh and I think that I have been rather remiss in welcoming you to The Planet.

Welcome to The Planet Rudy!

bito
Member

We have all heard about the President’s speech last night. Both from the left (he didn’t praise Bush) to the left(Yeah but we still have troops there). Why have we heard so little about his words on the cost of war and how it affects domestic policy or should? (Bush and a Republican congress was happy to borrow)

Our nation

bito
Member

Huh?

Your comment is awaiting moderation.

That’s a new one on me at the Planet!

Kalima
Admin

Not sure what happened there bito, I found the comment and took it out of moderation. Could be overheated wires. 🙂

bito
Member

Hey! Badge of Honor!! “I was moderated at the Planet!” 😆

Kalima
Admin

Seems to be a glitch. Just contacted our “main man” to let him know. If it happens again on my watch, I’ve got your back. 🙂

boomer1949
Member

I want one! 😆

bito
Member

And you merit one, boomer!
😆

bito
Member

Rep. Issa and Bats*it Bachman are threatening an investigations-r-us House and they my very well be able to have their way. Let’s see during Clinton the had their “travelgate” “Vince Foster murder” and the “Christmas card list” just to mention a few frivolities.
Any speculation on what crop this bunch will waste time?