Friday, November 05, 2010

The point of being in Congress is to actually do good stuff

This seems like kind of an important point:

To me it seems obvious that having the 111th Congress press hard to get big things done was the right call, even if it contributed to electoral defeat. This is especially true because as I said yesterday you need to do the analysis at the margin. Losing 65 House seats is way worse than losing zero House seats. But dropping the Affordable Care Act wouldn’t have saved 65 House seats. Maybe it would have saved 15. But that’s not nearly as big a deal. The reason you try to win elections is it gives you the chance to pass important laws, so saying you want to avoid passing laws in order to slightly reduce your midterm losses seems silly.

Yglesias goes on to quote conservative writer Ross Douthat:

Politics often gets covered as though the legislative sessions are just a long prelude to the real action of election season. But for all the breathless horse-race coverage, elections only matter to the extent that they produce (or forestall) actual legislation. And where the policies of the United States government are concerned, all the ground the Republicans regained tonight doesn’t change the fact that what liberals achieved in Barack Obama’s first two years in office was more consequential than any conservative victories in recent memory.

So, the point of being in Congress and holding majorities in Congress is to actually get good legislation that helps people passed. The point of being in Congress and holding majorities in Congress is not to just keep being in Congress and holding majorities in Congress the next time. Hopefully the no-guts, no brains assclowns muttering about Nancy Pelosi will figure that out.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010


Even though the Democrats got shellacked in the U.S. House, I'm feeling much better today than maybe I should. At the moment it appears that the Democrats will hold the Senate with a 53-47 edge. If Republicans had not nominated teabaggers in several key states, we would be looking at a Democratic minority in the Senate as well. And locally, Maryland Democratic candidates generally did really well.

But the House losses were huge and it will take several more cycles, and probably a lot of bad legislation, to reverse those. And the Democratic's hold over the Senate may be short-lived because they will need to defend more tough seats in '12. So, it's possible that even though last night's vote prevented an outbreak of full-blown-crazy, it might only be a temporary salve, especially if the economy does not improve significantly or if there is another significant terrorist attack.

Nonetheless I was greatly relieved to see Harry Reid win his seat over Sharon Angle. Hopefully, Patty Murray will hang on in Washington State.

I doubt any legislation of consequence will get passed in the next two years. Any that will, will be bad (i.e. extending all of the Bush tax cuts).

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Elsewhere in Maryland

Martin O'Malley cruising to a re-election victory over Bob Ehrlich. This was a closer race at one point, and Ehrlich signs are ubiquitous in my area of central Maryland (above DC, below Baltimore). Maryland, Oh My Maryland. Guess signs don't win elections.

Also too, Frank Kratovil, blue dog "independent" Dem who voted against the HCR bill is losing to the Repub. Kratovil's ads have been all over the tv. Can't feel sorry for this guy. See ya, Frank.

Dems to hold Senate

CNN has the Dems with 47 seats in the Senate (counting the two Independents) with Hawaii, Oregon and California still to close. Assuming the Dems win those three Senate seats, and there aren't any party switches, that would give them 50, with VP Biden providing a tie-breaker. And there's still Murray in Washington and Reid in Nevada in close races. So the Senate looks promising. At least we may forestall the really supercrazy for another two years.

Hoyer could be in trouble (updated below, update II, update III)

The #2 Dem in the House, Maryland Rep. Steny Hoyer is trailing his Republican opponent 53%-46%, with 14% of the vote in. Still early. But the Repub is an African-American and this is a heavily African American district.

Good Democrat Rush Holt of NJ also trails with about 25% of the vote in.

Update I: CNN is now projecting Hoyer to win, although he still trails 53%-46% with 17% of the vote in. State-wide, the Republican vote tends to come in earlier, but for this district, I don't know.

Update II: 39% of the vote now in and Hoyer way ahead with 65% of the vote. Sorry for the false alarm.

Update III: CNN has now projected that Good Democrat Rush Holt of NJ will retain his House seat. Very good news.

Before the Morning After

I know tonight's going to be bad, but I did a lot of hand-wringing after the ‘94 mid-terms, then again in ’95 when the pundit class told me Clinton was toast, then in ’98when the pundit class wanted Clinton impeached before Dems won seats, then in 2000, then in 2002 when it looked like The War On Terror had Changed Everything, and I doubly wrang my hands again in 2004 when the pundit class told me it was all about the Values Voters. In 2006 the pundit class and my own pessimism had me convinced there was no way the Dems could win Congress again. Then in 2008 I couldn’t believe Americans would elect a black dude with the middle name of Hussein and the last name of Obama.

I wouldn’t worry much about the long-term impact of tonight’s results. It’s a mid-term (see 1982 1994), the economy is really bad (see 1982). If it stays bad, we might have more to worry about.