Commentary Magazine


Flotsam and Jetsam

How’d they do it? By being the party of no: “It began in late January 2009, when Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi held a quick vote on an economic-stimulus package and Mr. Cantor helped engineer a unanimous Republican ‘no’ vote. … [T]he unified vote signaled to previously rattled Republicans that they didn’t have to go along with the big Democratic majority and the highly popular new president. The vote also set a pattern that would be repeated time and again over the next two years, with House Republicans solidly opposing one Democratic initiative after another. The strategy infuriated the White House and ran the risk Republicans would be damaged by the ‘party of no’ label.”

How’d they lose it? “A Congressional majority is a terrible thing to waste, as Rahm Emanuel might say, and yesterday the public took that lesson to heart. … Yes, the economy was the dominant issue and the root of much voter worry and frustration with Washington. But make no mistake, this was also an ideological repudiation of the Democratic agenda of the last two years. Independents turned with a vengeance on the same Democrats they had vaulted into the majority in the waning George W. Bush years, rejecting the economy-killing trio of $812 billion in stimulus spending, cap and tax and ObamaCare.”

How’d the governors do? The GOP picked up at least 10 seats.

How’d Republican New Yorkers do? They picked up five House seats, remarkable considering how badly the top of the ticket ran.

How’d they make history? “South Carolina voters have elected the first black Republican to Congress from the Deep South since Reconstruction.”

How’d it work out when he ignored the Tea Party? Obama really doesn’t like to experience bad news, but it might do him some good to hear directly what the media are saying about him. “Aides say the President received updates on races from his staff, but didn’t sit in front of the television watching the election returns himself.”

How’d Mitt Romney want you to reflect on the election? With a morning-after op-ed by him, touting his free-market credentials. A sample: “If the president is to become serious about spending, borrowing and deficits, he must subject government to the two budgeting rules employed by every well-run business and home.” Welcome to the 2012 GOP primary.

How’d you expect Maureen Dowd to react? Uh, not well: “Even though it was predicted, it was still a shock to see voters humiliate a brilliant and spellbinding young president, who’d had such a Kennedy-like beginning, while electing a lot of conservative nuts and promoting this central-casting congressman as the face of the future: a Republican who had vowed in a written pledge to restore America to old-fashioned values, returning to a gauzy ‘Leave It to Beaver’ image that never existed even on the set of ‘Leave It to Beaver.’” Was she really shocked? She should stop doing research in New York taxicabs. But, hey, she got the humiliation part right.