The Big Fizzle: How many things can we enjoy watching for the next two years?

Escher 1

There’s one number that says it all about the mid-term elections in this state (Nevada) and I’d guess it would be comparable to other states as well: 45.51% – that’s the turnout percentage. [SoS]   Voter turnout in 2012 was a nice 80.77%. [SoS]  However, it could have been worse – in the 2010 election the statewide turnout was a miserable 30.12% of active voters. [SoS] Perverse as I am when it comes items in the humor category, there are some things I will find amusing in the next two years as a result of the Big Fizzle.  Here they are in no particular order:

Senator Mitch McConnell may very well want to share more Kentucky bourbon with Representative John Boehner.   Merely because some newly elected senator shares the same party label doesn’t necessarily mean he or she loves you.   Now, who might such hide-bound ideologues like Colorado’s Cory Gardner or the Iowa Pig Snipper Joni Ernst love more? McConnell or Cruz?    As Representative Boehner discovered to his periodic humiliation after 2010, one party can have a majority and still not be able to function like a well ordered caucus.   The Republicans may have figured out how to make the Tea Party candidates more presentable, but they’ve yet to calculate how to make them useful.   I could enjoy watching this scene play out.

Age and craft will be hard pressed to dampen youth and enthusiasm.  There are some wonderfully symbolic things the Tea Party GOP members would like to do – like “repeal Obamacare” however doing so would toss millions of Americans out of the health insurance market, and this won’t be very popular even with the insurance corporations which are now making money off the new customers.   Youth and Enthusiasm will at least want to allow employers to refuse to offer contraception coverage in group plans – enacting this legislation will alienate yet more female voters, especially those of child bearing age – and the husbands who agree with their wives about family planning.

Should McConnell and Boehner retain their leadership positions, they’ll have to face members of their own caucuses who want to repeal the Dodd-Frank Act, defund or dismantle the Environmental Protection Agency, disassemble the Department of Education, allow the government to shut down, and impeach the President – for something, anything.  Since for many Republicans history only begins in November 2008 they’ll not remember what happened in the wake of the impeachment debacle of Bill (now wildly popular) Clinton, and perhaps not even remember how unpopular their own shut down was not too long ago.

Kids say the darndest things.   If the nation learned to love Michelle “Loony Bin” Bachmann from Minnesota, they’re going to be equally enamored of “Granny Get Your Gun” Ernst from Iowa, or Cresent “Bundy Boy” Hardy from Nevada.  Politicians don’t get elected without talking, and the more the likes of these two talk the more 24 Carat Comedy Gold will be mined from the veins of Republican politics.

Heaven has no rage like love to hatred turned, Nor hell a fury like a woman scorned,” spoken by Zara in Act III, Scene VIII The Mourning Bride by William Congreve (1697)   Want to get better turnout in the 2016 elections, especially among women voters?  Keep opposing equal pay for equal work, and opposing insurance coverage for contraceptive prescriptions, and opposing abortion services for women with life threatening pregnancies, and opposing affordable student loans for the women’s children, and opposing increases in the national minimum wage …. that should do it.   And, while we’re being poetic —

Ah, but a man’s reach should exceed his grasp, Or what’s a heaven for?”  Robert Browning (Andrea Del Sarto)  The aforementioned activities like government shut-downs and impeachments are difficult to stop once the Beltway Bovines start moving as a herd.  A free, headlong rush of cattle/Congressmen in a mass impulsive action, makes for great television. The networks will be only too delighted to broadcast these events.  But then there was the Gallup polling which reported the following on December 24, 1998:

“Despite the fact that he is only the second President in U.S. history to be impeached by the House of Representatives, President Bill Clinton received a 73% job approval rating from the American public this past weekend, the highest rating of his administration, and one of the higher job approval ratings given any president since the mid-1960s.”

I’m sure the President would like to see a 73% approval rating.  Then there was that 9%-11% Congressional approval rating after the government shut down of 2013.  That would be a drop from the current 14% rating. How low can they go?

Be careful what you wish for,” or was that the title of a Jeffrey Archer novel?   Okay, the Senate will be controlled by the Republican(t) caucus.  Former Pennsylvania governor Ed Rendell has already offered some timely advice under this heading to the Republicans in Congress:

“I think the Republicans, be careful what you wish for, because if they win the Senate, they better do something, they better send the president some responsible pieces of legislation or they’ll get crushed in 2016,” the former Democratic governor said Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

And what might that “responsible” legislation be? If we assume the newly elected Representatives and Senators want to stay in office?  69% of American voters want an increase in the minimum wage. [HuffPoGallup did a bit of polling of working women and found the #1 issue among them was equal pay for equal work, none of the other items in the open ended poll came close to the 42%.  We’ve known since last July that 92% of gun owners support universal background checks. [TheHill]  One could ignore these, or one could “get crushed in 2016?”

Get the popcorn buttered.

1 Comment

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One response to “The Big Fizzle: How many things can we enjoy watching for the next two years?

  1. DB, I’m sorry, but that is precisely the sort of thinking that led to the Catastrophe of 2014 — and I do not think I am over-stating it with that term. Sure, the Republicans will foul up, will work against every single one of those ‘popular positions.’ And then the electorate will see this, see how the Republicans oppose every heart-felt position and…

    What do you think the Republicans have been doing for the last four years? What did they run on this time? The VERY same electorate that voted to increase the minimum wage voted for Senators and Representatives running against the very idea of a minimum wage. The gun owners who support reasonable restrictions on guns are the same people who voted for legislatures that would remove the regulations we currently have.

    A few months ago Steve Benen ran a few posts making the point that, since the ACA was even more popular, effective, and efficient than anyone had expected, the Republicans would drop repealing it as a campaign weapon, would stop using their vote for it as a weapon against Democratic incumbents. How did THAT work out?

    And — except for Tom Corbett — the same Governors who have ruined their state’s economy, have cut the safety net, have refused to expand Medicaid, have fought to keep SSM out of their states are, when not term-limited, planning their January inaugurations.

    And look at how the electorate surged in a wave against a Congress that did literally nothing over two years, that worked about 1/3 of the year — and many of those ‘working days’ were pro forma sessions.

    The electorate is neither stupid or crazy, but it is very, very confused, surrounded by a fog machine of extreme strength, and most of all unable to figure out why, if what they hear from FOX, from Rush, and in Church is false, why are so many Democrats acting like it is true by running away from the President.

    They hear the Republicans nationalize the election and run, viciously, against individual Democrats as representatives of that ‘evil organization’ — the Democratic Party. Then they watch the Democrats try and duck away from the label while at the same time running — very respectfully and passionlessly — against their single opponents — and never, ever, ever, would they suggest that a member of the Republicans should be held to the positions the whole party espouses.

    We didn’t use to do that. As recently as 2006 and 2008 we didn’t — and we didn’t see ONE Senate seat go from blue to red — and the 2008 election was held in the same states we will be told were unwinnable this year, so we really shouldn’t blame ourselves for doing so badly.

    In 2008 we wound up — briefly — with a filibuster-proof majority. This year we are winding up with James Inhofe, bible-based climate science denier, as the head of the Senate Environmental Committee.

    It isn’t so hard to realize what we need to do — but I’ve been saying this for five years straight. We need to run against REPUBLICANS, not the one Republican that is our opponent. We need to put Republicans on the defensive, instead of letting them define the situations so we are too bust defending ourselves. And we need to focus in on bigots, haters, liars — I mean of the Limbaugh/Coulter stripe, not ‘ordinary’ liars — and the crazies and basically start making it true — once again, as it was for the fifty years I spent in the last century — that these types can not be elected.

    (At the very least, couldn’t we have heard Mark Kelly’s desperate cry and made accepting money or an endorsement from Larry Pratt and the GOoA the equivalent of getting the same from the KKK. A small start, but a start.)