As Tim noted, it was a good night for Democrats, and I am not even remotely surprised (even though I did not follow the elections, I do think I have an awareness of the general pulse of the country). I have been driven to the point of near despair with the spending, the anti-science attitude, the anti-gay attitudes, and what appears to be a near complete takeover of the GOP by a hostile religious right, so I am not even remotely surprised that there are a number of people out there who feel the same way. Not to be too snide, but when only 40% of the public (and that is generous) approves of the behavior of the head of your party, crushing electoral defeats are not too difficult to predict.
As far as I can tell, it is going to be even worse in 2006 for the GOP. At Red State, Mike Krempasky writes that “When Republicans don’t give their *own* supporters a reason to vote for them (other than “the Democrats are worse!!”), how in the world can they expect to reach swing voters?,” and he has a point. The White House is already spinning that this was a ‘status quo‘ election, in that Democrats won seats already held by Democrats, and they have a point.
But what they don’t take into account is that 2006 won’t be a status quo election, and that far from just failing to provide reasons to inspire voters, this administration and this Congress have given what would normally be faithful Republican votes a NUMBER of reasons to vote against them. For me, you can start with Terri Schiavo and then just pick issues at random, and there is a good chance the Republicans have violated longstanding conservative principles or their own word. That doesn’ mean I think Democrats are, as a rule, any better, but I am sure as hell willing to give them a chance (and, more importantly, I will continue to support every libertarian on the ballot, as I have in the past).
So I don’t find these results unexpected, and I would not be surprised if whole swaths of Republican seats in the house go the way of the Dover Board of Education (speaking of the Dover Board, anyone who thinks all Republicans favor this ID/Creationist nonsense is sadly mistaken). We’ll call it natural selection, and the current Republican party, it seems, has become unfit for survival.
*** Update ***
This sums things up nicely:
I was part of that wild and crazy Class of ’94 that shook the political landscape by taking over the House after more than 50 years of unfettered Democrat control. We came to Washington full of ideals and conviction.
But sadly, what they say about absolute power is coming to reality in the 2005 GOP Washington. Republicans in just 10 years have developed the arrogance it took the Democrats 30 years to develop. – JC Watts, the Las Vegas Review Journal.