* There was a driving rain when I walked in to vote Tuesday morning, but I found a decent line for that hour, which made me hopeful that people are starting to get engaged again. More likely they aren’t so much engaged as enraged, which may work out to be the same thing.
* Some of you may recall that I made a list of predictions a few weeks ago, and that one was that the Democrats would gain control of both the House and Senate. As of this writing they have firm control of the House, and there’s a dead heat in the Senate, which means I’m batting about a .666. We all knew the devil was involved in this somehow, didn’t we?
I guess that means my predictions will be two thirds accurate, which means in 2013 some of New Jersey will be hit by part of an asteroid.
Following that logic, two thirds of New Orleans is going to sink, which should surprise no one.
Update – it looks like the Dems (Democrats, not demons) got both the House and the Senate, pending a possible recount. Get out of any place with the word “New” in the title, just in case.
* After twelve years of Republican control, there’s something to be said for the Democrats getting their shot at accomplishing something – anything – in the House. However, I’m not the only one cynically muttering that we just traded in one set of scoundrels for another.
* The idea of far-left wing liberal Nancy Pelosi as Speaker of the House, hand-picking the people who will control -- among other things -- how much we’re taxed and what happens to that money, scares every vestige of crapola right out of me.
* However, the idea of a far-right wing conservative being in the same position is almost as frightening. Putting people so far out on either fringe in charge of the major committees in Congress is like making Adolf Hitler the minister of diversity. Whatever happened to the centrists in this country? For twenty bucks I’d write a short story about the moderates of America being shot up to exile on the Moon. (Note to self – talk to Editor about that.)
* According to Pelosi: "Democrats promise to work together in a bipartisan way for all Americans." Yeah, right. The Democrats have no more intention of being bipartisan than the Republicans did, which lays out the whole problem right there. What Pelosi likely said, when the camera weren’t on her, was, “We win! We get all the toys, and we won’t let them play!”
Which is probably just what the Republicans said in elections past.
* Other than being third in line for the Presidency, why is Speaker of the House important? Because the Speaker gets to choose committee chairmen, who in turn can hold up legislation in committee. The representatives we elect often never see proposed legislation; it dies in a committee of a few people. The same thing happens when the President makes appointments: they get tied up in speeches and filibusters, never get voted on, and the next thing you know it’s two years into a four year term and we still don’t have a minister of diversity. Debating is good, but shoving issues aside so nobody ever gets to decide them isn’t. If the Democrats are serious about making a change, give our Congressmen a vote – up or down. We’ll decide next election if we agree with their decision.
* Where was I? Oh, yes, Pelosi. She said, “From sea to shining sea, the American people voted for change”, which on a simple red/blue basis looks true enough.
But it’s not so simple.
On a nationwide basis victory can be declared, but not mandate: America is polarized to such a point that almost half of this country hates whoever’s in power at any given time. A good centrist candidate may change that, but don’t hold your breath. No, the margins aren’t big enough for anyone to claim some overwhelming edict.
* Certainly there was an overall dissatisfaction. In fact, while all politics is local, many politicians lost, this time around, not on their positions but on their affiliation. I still maintain that voters don’t usually pick county, municipal, and township offices by party, but this year may be the exception.
* Everyone’s talking about how wonderful the voter turnout was. It’s being held as almost miraculous that a full half of possible voters showed up in some Noble County precincts, a huge increase over normal.
Where the heck are the rest of them?
For many years, America has been run by the minority: the people who do go to the polls. You can argue that they’re the more knowledgeable of the electorate, but that doesn’t change the fact that the average person you hear complaining about politicians on the street didn’t bother to vote. Then they complain.
We may not always be able to choose who runs; but, if nothing else, we can darn sure keep throwing the older bums out, again and again, until they get the point. But we can’t do that without you, the guy in the stained t-shirt in front of the boob tube (these days that term’s probably literal).
* As much as we fuss about this whole election business, one thing the politicians continually forget is that we’re not there for them; they’re there for us. We want them to solve problems, or leave us alone so we can solve them – not make more. Give me a candidate who will consistently support that position, and he’ll get my vote every time.
* My overall prediction – and you might remember I also predicted this in my pre-election column: gridlock in Washington, for the next two years, followed by the election of a Democrat to the Presidency. The question of whether we’re better off with a government that accomplishes nothing remains open.