The 2010 midterm elections have come and gone. We’ve had a week to mull over the results. Here are three thoughts I came away with.
1. This election was a referendum on Barack Obama. Obviously, government spending and the lingering effects of the recession played a significant role in defining how the electorate felt about incumbents. But people are pissed at the way government is growing, and pundits have downplayed the ideological nature of the discontentment.
In 2008, people elected change, expecting hope, and all they got was this lousy healthcare thing, which sucked the air right out of the national dialogue for over a year. Spending has ascended to unprecedented and unsustainable levels. Our currency is experiencing devaluation and extreme volatility.
There is a general sense that the president is simply too involved in our business. The world feels like it’s slipping from our grasp. It’s almost as if George W. Voldemort never left the Oval Office.
The Obama administration received a clear signal Tuesday that people would like to see less of them in the future. To Obama’s credit, last week marked the first time in his presidency that George Bush wasn’t blamed for his problems.
Look, Mr. President, we all know you are super awesome. We’ve seen and heard enough about your three-point shots and Lil-Wayne-is-on-my-iPod shenanigans to know that you are, like, the coolest president ever.
But take a moment to consider that your job is to faithfully execute the laws of the United States. Cut down on the face-time and, who knows, the American people might yet recapture that 2008 O-bam-a magic.
2. Californians suck. The anti-incumbent, anti-spending fervor that swept across the country last Tuesday apparently could not make it out west. Governor Moonbeam was given a second chance, which wasn’t a surprise. But I had such high hopes that maybe, just maybe, we’d kick out the wild spenders (irrespective of party affiliation) who’ve mired California in the pit of economic hell.
Big spenders in the State Capitol have bankrupt the Golden State, and they should have been fired on Tuesday for their pathetic display of narcissism and pigheadedness over these last few years. Instead, they were re-elected to an overwhelming victory. And us always-informed Californians, in our supreme wisdom, passed Proposition 25 to make it even easier for these morons to pass a budget. So there’s that.
Just to show you how concerned Californians apparently are with fiscal discipline: of all my protest votes against the spending interests in Sacramento, my biggest victory was the rejection of an $18 car tax. Hooray?
Proposition 19 could have been the first major step in this country toward ending the failed war on drugs. Instead, an electorate of cowards defeated it.
I’m happy for the people that opposed Proposition 23. I really am, because even though that global warming bill won’t do anything to, you know, stop global warming, at least they’ll be able to sleep soundly in their biodegradable futons at night. In doing so, of course, they’ve all but insured that 1 in 10 unemployed Californians won’t be able to sleep in their beds at night.
Nah, just kidding. The No on Proposition 23 folks were right. The global warming legislation obviously has no effect on California’s jobs. And even if it did, the L.A.Times reported Sunday that California is borrowing $40 million a day to pay unemployment (which is one-third of what Meg Whitman spent on her entire campaign). Borrowing, I assume, from the federal government, who is printing the money out of thin air and borrowing the rest from Beijing. So we’re fine, right? California Uber Alles.
3. The Tea Party didn’t win as big as you’d think. In fact, the Tea Party’s biggest victory in this election was how they successfully framed the debate around their issues of interest.
They could claim key victories in the winning candidacies of Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, and Mike Lee. Overall, however, the most identifiably Tea Party-ish of all the Tea Party candidates – Christine O’Donnell, Carl Paladino, Sharron Angle, and Joe Miller – all lost.
As a small-government libertarian terrified of government intervention, no prospect sounds sweeter than a divided government bogged down in gridlock until 2012. Mark Twain once joked that no one’s life, liberty, or property was secure while the legislature was in session, and this has got to be the next best thing.
Don’t expect much to change. America’s budget is $3.8 trillion. The deficit, or the gap between what we spend and what we take in, is over $1.3 trillion. In order to close that hole, we’d need to find about $1.3 trillion somewhere on our balance sheet, either through spending cuts or increased taxes.
And the solutions the House Republicans have offered are essentially limited to slashing a whopping $100 billion from the budget, without touching defense spending or entitlements. Well, whoopee.
In order to achieve any of this, the House Republican majority is going to have to get these spending cuts through the Democratic Senate and past Obama’s veto pen. Good luck with all that.
Even if they can manage to work with Democrats long enough to balance the federal budget in two years (yeah, right), the Tea Party will have to figure out a way to begin paying down our $13 trillion debt – which has more than doubled in the two years Obama has been president. Thanks a lot, Barry.
Congratulations, and good luck to all the dirt bags that will be lying and stealing from us for the next two years. You’re going to need it.