Saturday, November 08, 2014

Life after the Midterms

I’ll keep this short and sweet.    Here are ten post-Midterm thoughts.

1.    “We may be feckless and cowardly but at least we’re not crazy” isn’t a winning slogan for a political party.

2. If the U.S. Government is seen as totally dysfunctional, the Democrats will tend to do poorly, since they’re seen as the party that is more supportive of big government.

3. If the GOP stands for bad ideas and the Democrats stand for no ideas, the Democrats will tend to do poorly, because at least their opponents will have passion on their side and Americans don’t vote for political candidates who lack a pulse.    

4.      Mitch McConnell actually does have a pulse.  People shouldn’t mistake his lack of charisma for a lack of political savvy.   However, what the dude has most of all is chutzpah.  How does he get off preaching bi-partisanship after the election?  His tenure as minority leader has been all about making the President and the Dems look bad, Now that he’s succeeded, they’re supposed to compromise with him?   Stay classy, Mitch.
5.  Mitch may be old, but his party has a lot of young people near the top of their leaderboard.   Contrast that with the Democrats, who’s idea of an exciting young leader is someone in his/her late 60s.   Where are the young Democratic leaders?  What positions of power do they hold?   It’s time to tell the Pelosis and the Reids to step aside and give some younger blood a chance to get a seat at the big table.
 6. In 2008, Obama had America excited about politics again.  Now, six years later, all that excitement is gone.  Most Americans didn’t bother to vote, and I suspect that those who   did show up at the polls were mostly there to vote against someone, not for anyone.   With all that said, democracy is still the best form of government available to our pathetic little species.
 7. I’m still in a state of shock that my beloved Maryland, one of the nation’s bluest states, elected a GOP Governor, and that Illinois and Massachusetts followed suit.   I guess you can say that at least with respect to Blue State Democrats, they frequently vote for the “person” not the “party.”  Can the same be said for Red-State Republicans these days?
8. I’m all for the end of political polarization, but Obama had better be careful not to compromise too much.  He has to hold the line on anything that is going to make the absurd economic inequalities in this country even worse.   “First, do no harm,” Mr. President.
9. I can’t wait for the 2016 Presidential campaign. Just from the standpoint of political theatre, this one could be setting up for a true knock-down-drag-out brawl.   We all know Hillary can bring the brass knuckles, but consider that whoever runs as a Republican will have the whole talk-radio/Fox News attack dog machine behind him.   (Yes, I’m assuming it’s a “him.”)  Something tells me that the bi-partisan talk that’s all the rage at the moment won’t last any longer than a New York minute.  Washington is about to turn into an octagon, and everything – biting, hair-pulling, you name it – will be fair game.  At least that’s my prediction.   I think we as a society are determined to lose any semblance of political civility, and only after hitting rock bottom will we push for an improvement.

 10.  But maybe I’m wrong in that last assessment.  Every now and then, something happens to make me question my cynicism about the American public sphere and to imagine the prospects that we will actually be able to work together.  Yesterday, the White House announced that it will nominate Loretta Lynch to serve as the next Attorney General.   This is a woman who doesn’t come from the world of politics.  She’s not an old-time Obama crony.  She’s just a worker bee – a person who has twice headed up a prominent U.S. Attorney’s Office.  Loretta was in my class and my 1-L section in law school, and while I don’t know her especially well, she always seemed nice and … what is that word again? … oh yeah, classy.  I expect her nomination to sail through, and I expect her to do a good job once she’s confirmed.  If her selection is any indication of the decisions the President makes over the next two years, we may have found our “hope and change” after all.

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