he 2010 midterm elections were a bloodbath for the Democratic Party. Because there are no mollifying messages to be had from such a political massacre, liberal pols, pundits, and other dominant interests, hastened to soften the "shellacking" by framing it in terms more tolerable.
As they tell it, a gain of more than 60 seats in the House ─ "the biggest party turnover since 1948," in Ann Coulter's assessment ─ was no more than a howl for compromise, civility, and bipartisanship. Obama failed to deliver all sweetness and light, as he had promised in 2008. When Americans finally unfurled from the fetal position, they voted to protest the incivility that had deformed the political discourse they hold so dear. Pretty much.
Here's how Harry Reid rendered
this historic election:
"The message that voters throughout Nevada and all across the nation sent to Washington is that they want Democrats, Republicans and Independents to work together to find the common ground needed for real solutions and real progress. … The time for politics is now over. And now that Republicans have more members in both houses of Congress, they must take their responsibility to present bipartisan solutions more seriously."
Considered "Washington's most highly regarded columnist' by both editorial-page editors and members of Congress," the banal David Broder seconded Reid: "Instead of cooperation, the worst kind of partisanship returned. And instead of changing the way Washington operated, [Obama] seemed to ratify business as usual." You just know that The John and the mindless schoolmarm
of CNN's "Parker/Spitzer" are agreed.
You heard it from the "Dude" himself (which is how liberal comedians refer to Da Main Man):
"You know, a little over a month ago," intoned Obama, "we held a town hall meeting in Richmond, Virginia. And one of the most telling
questions came from a small business owner who runs a tree care firm. He told me how hard he works and how busy he was; how he doesn't have time to pay attention to all the back-and-forth in Washington. And he asked, is there hope for us returning to civility in our discourse, to a healthy legislative process."
The president's sample businessman omitted the effects of the hulking health-care overhaul on his tree-care enterprise because these were as nothing compared to the discomfort discordant politics have caused him. I knew that.
MSNBC's Chris Matthews has more street cred than most. The host of "Hardball" spent the first two years of the Obama presidency in a state of delirium bordering on the sexual. Famous for experiencing something akin to a (daytime) nocturnal emission during Obama's coronation — "thrill up the leg" Matthews called the incident — Chris later begged Barack to be his "Enforcer," in the matter of sacking Gen. Stanley McChrystal. Understand: when a liberal like the president shows a bit of that manly magic, "girlie boys" like Chris get giddy.
Given Chris's well-known carnal affections for Barack Obama, it is unfortunate that the op-ed segment with which he ends the "Hardball" program daily is called "Let Me Finish."
Yesterday, Matthews finished-off by surmising that the "kick in the pants" the president has sustained means that it was now up to Obama to make the Republicans an offer they could not refuse ─ especially with the entire country watching. The challenge for Obama, advised Matthews, is to force Republicans to join him, or look like creeps if they fail to join him.
Chris arrived at his version of the bipartisanship lesson from a different position or angle. But then he is "special."
Democrats concede that other considerations compounded the electorate's inconsolable sorrow over America's impolite politics. They, the Democrats, had been ineffectual in finessing Fabian policies; they did not communicate these well. And, the economic doldrums distracted from the president's obligation to take "a series of very tough decisions, but decisions that were right," as he put it.
The blessings of such "sound" initiatives ─ stimulus, bailout, nationalization, cap-and-trade, a moratorium on energy extraction in the Gulf, more war in Afghanistan; and on Arizona, commanding a green-energy economy, a $3,039,000,000,000 addition to the national debt, and massive monetary quantitative easing to facilitate it, on and on ─ were not helped by a factor highlighted repeatedly by the MSNBC broadcasters. When all is said and done, Tea Party America was a bunch of "stump-toothed Appalachian mountain men."
In other words, spectacularly stupid (and venal to boot).
Traditionally, as this column has quipped, the Democratic and Republican parties have each operated as counterweights in a partnership designed to keep the pendulum of power swinging in perpetuity from the one entity to the other. As my fellow libertarian Vox Day has observed, no sooner do the Republicans come to power, than they move to the left. When they get their turn, Democrats shuffle to the right. At some point, I predict, John McCain will reach across the aisle and the creeps will converge.
Yes, "reaching across the aisle to get things done" is a euphemism for relinquishing principle in favor of political pragmatism. Barack Obama, Harry Reid, David S. Broder, Chris Matthews ─ you heard it straight from the donkey's mouth.
Thus, to paraphrase one hardcore tea partier's fighting words, the only time you want your representative to reach across the aisle is to grab a Democrat or an errant Republican by the throat.