What the GOP shouldn’t take Tuesday’s results to mean
Tuesday night was a special night for Republicans throughout the nation. Big wins in key races handed the GOP control of the Senate to go along with their control of the House, to say nothing of big wins putting more governor mansions in the red. Needless to say, life on the right is good right now.
However, it’s important to understand what those results don’t mean.
First, it’s imperative that Republicans view this for what it is. As our own Kevin Boyd said:
The American people gave their verdict on President Obama and “hope and change” and they were not pleased. All Republicans had to do was play it safe and make “Obama sucks” their whole message and it worked. It was not only enough to drag good candidates such as Cory Gardner who defeated Mark Uterus, I mean, Udall in Colorado after Mark Uterus ran probably one of the most offensive reelection campaigns in memory. However, the real test of a wave is if it’s good enough to drag mediocre candidates across the finish line and it was. The mediocre Thom Tillis was dragged over the finish line as he defeated Kay Hagan in North Carolina.
Exactly. Tuesday night was a repudiation of Barack Obama and his policies and nothing more.
Some in the GOP may be licking their chops. After all, control of both chambers means they can throw up all the socially conservative legislation they want and use it to pressure Obama into signing at least some of it. After all, big wins mean the American people like what the GOP was selling, right?
Getting things through both chambers gives them a lot of leverage, true, but remember that the bulk of the message Republicans put out on the national level. “Obama sucks”, as Boyd put it, worked because he sucked. Increased instability throughout the world, an economy that aspires to be “in the toilet”, a surveillance state that keeps me awake at night, and a whole host of other things made the “Obama sucks” thing an easy sell.
However, also in Tuesday’s results were two new locations approving marijuana use on some level (with one loss). Polls show support for marijuana (at least for medical use) and support for gay marriage. Translation: There’s zero reason to believe that the American people actually support social conservatism.
If Republicans want to take Obama to task on economics, foreign policy, or how the NSA probably knows what size underwear I have on, then fine. As I said earlier, having both chambers gives them significant leverage to force Obama to compromise. After all, if the White House wants increased funding for one of their pet programs, they have to go through two Republican chambers to get it. If he wants additional funding for Head Start or something else, he’ll have to be willing to sign something the GOP wants.
This is a good thing, but it’s also not hard to image the Karl Rove crowd envisioning it as an opportunity to craft new legislation against abortion, gay marriage, or anything else on the SoCon wishlist.
So what’s the harm?
The harm lies in those other initiatives that were approved. You see, the American people don’t want that. The like the idea of freedom, more or less. President Obama has failed to deliver on the promise he campaigned on, and the American people figured six years was plenty of opportunity. Now, the Republicans get a chance, but they need to recognize that what they got was an opportunity rather than a blank check.
While there is little that can prevent the GOP from doing whatever they want, common sense would tell them to reign in their enthusiasm just a bit.