Even if Patty Murray loses, even if Rick Larsen loses, even if a string of Democrat senators and congress members lose those toss-up races across the U.S., the pundits, pollsters, Fox News and the Tea Party all got it wrong: The Dems didn't lose. The New York Times also pushed the superficial conventional-wisdom notion of a Democrat dethroning with its banner headline today, "Restless Voters Divide Power in Washington." Not!
All of which is a recipe for further gridlock. Even out of power, Republican leaders have refused to "compromise our principles" as some of them put it. House Speaker-designate John Boehner, blubbery with victory last night, has already promised no compromising with the enemy once he takes over.
Likewise, President Obama is not compromising - again - on health-care reform. The mandatory proviso that Americans purchase insurance may get trashed in congress or the courts. But according to some exit polls last night, reform's not really a voter issue anyway: roughly half those questioned at the polls supported either keeping reform or expanding it.
And now maybe Obama might get around to acting like, and advertising himself as, a successful president. As respected columnist/author Jonathan Alter keeps trying to tell us, Obama had a more productive first two years in the White House than any president since Lyndon Johnson, almost a half-century ago.
"You've got to understand what was going on in the country when [Obama] became president," Alter told Stephen Colbert Monday, speaking of back when the U.S. was losing 800,000 jobs a month under George's Bush economic policies.
The stimulus that Obama supported was the largest single tax cut in America, Alter notes. As for that reviled bank bailout - "All the money has been paid back, with interest."
Despite that, some Republicans actually said Obama - not Bush - committed impeachable offenses, Alter says. That's where the party of Lincoln is coming from today. Try to remember what new House leader John ("I'm cozy with lobbyists") Boehner is best remembered for, Alter asked:
He apologized at one point because he handed out checks from the tobacco industry on the floor of the House of Representatives.
As Colbert joked, "That's refreshingly transparent." It just may not be the transparency voters had in mind yesterday.
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