Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Strikes and Gutters, Ups and Downs

with 6 comments

Sometimes you eat the bear, and sometimes, well, he eats you. It was obviously a tough night for Democrats but on some level it was always going to be—with unemployment at 9.6% and millions of people underwater on their mortgages the Democrats were doomed to lose and lose big. On this the stimulus really was the original sin—if it had been bigger and better-targeted the economic situation could have been better, but it wasn’t and here we are. Unlike 2000 and 2004 I think this election stings, but it doesn’t hurt; a big loss like this has been baked in the cake for a while.

Remember that as the pundits play bad political commentary bingo all month.

As I mentioned last night, overs beat the unders, which means my more optimistic predictions were 2/3 wrong: Republicans overshot the House predictions and Sestak and Giannoulias both lost their close races in PA and IL. But I was right that young people can’t be trusted to vote even when marijuana legalization is on the ballot. Cynicism wins again! I’ll remember that for next time.

I was on Twitter for most of the night last night and most of my observations about last night have already been made there. A few highlights from the night:

* Who could have predicted: Democrats are already playing down the notion that they’ll get much done in a lame duck session. They’d rather punt to January particularly the big issues, like tax cuts. Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell? Don’t even bother. On taxes, the outline of a compromise is there, having been floated by Vice President Biden: the rates might stay in place for a larger number of wealthier Americans. The Estate Tax, which jumps up to 55% in January, will probably be restored at a lower rate. Capital gains taxes will also be higher, but not as high as they’re slated to be. Supporters of the START treaty are very worried. Gee, maybe Obama shouldn’t have appealed DADT after all.

* Last night’s big Dem winner: implausibly, Harry Reid. Second place (of a sort): Howard Dean, whose entire happy legacy as DNC chair was wiped out in one fell swoop last night—and then some. Fire Kaine, bring Dean back.

* Last night’s big Republican losers: the Tea Party, and Sarah Palin specifically. The crazies cost them the Senate.

* An upside: most of the losses last night were from bad Democrats, especially the Blue Dog caucus, which was nearly decimated. The progressive caucus only lost three seats and now constitutes 40% of the Democratic House caucus.

* Most of the progressive online left is saddest to see Feingold lose, I think.

* Personally happiest to see Tancredo lose in Colorado. That guy’s completely nuts.

* At least losing the House means we don’t have to deal with individual Senate egomaniacs anymore.

* Weird proposition watch: Denver votes down UFO commission. Missouri prevents a feared pupocalypse. Oklahoma bans Sharia law, thereby saving freedom forever.

* The most important proposition, and the most important victory for the left, was probably California’s Proposition 23 on climate change, which went down. Quoting the HuffPo article: “California is the world’s 12th largest emitter of greenhouse gases, and its global warming law, passed in 2006, mandates the largest legislated reductions in greenhouse gases in the world.” This was a big win.

* Sad statistic of the night: “Meg Whitman’s personal spending on her campaign: $163 mil. Natl Endowment for the Arts 2010 budget: $161.4 mil.”

* And Republican gains are bad news for higher education. This is probably especially true for state universities in North Carolina, where Republicans now control the state legislature for the first time in a century.

Anything I missed?

6 Responses

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  1. […] I mentioned in the strikes and gutters post I tend to think that most of these didn’t “cost” Democrats dearly in the […]

  2. In California, things went pretty well; a democratic governor plus some of the ballot initiatives will do a lot of good. The passage of prop 25 — majority rule instead of 2/3 supermajority for passing budgets — will take power away from a handful of obstructionist republicans on budget matters and give it to the permanent democrat majority. We’re still hamstrung by requiring a 2/3 majority for tax increases — that inititaive failed — so the major underlying fiscal problem california faces remains in effect. But at least the people trying to bail out the sinking ship are relatively progressive politicians like Brown and the Caldems; couldn’t be a more different cast of characters that the Governator and a handful of Orange county bastards.


    November 3, 2010 at 12:56 pm

    • Yup. Proposition 26 sucks (and of course prop 19 would have been nice), but both were only smaller parts of much longer campaigns, since California really needs majority rule on *all* taxes and drug legalization has to have federal support for it to amount to anything. Also, Jerry Brown is not quite as progressive as people would like to think he is; he had something to do with knocking down the ballot initiative that would have gotten rid of the supermajority requirement for new taxes 7 months ago. But still. He’s not Arnold.


      November 3, 2010 at 1:38 pm

  3. With all the effusive praise and radiant glow he gave off on CNN, I’m pretty sure Bill Bennett wants to blow Paul Ryan.


    November 3, 2010 at 1:42 pm

  4. Also re: California, Prop 20 passed and 27 failed. That gives CA a nonpartisan commission for redistricting what will probably be some 60 House seats. Also it looks like Kamala Harris has come from behind to defeat drug warrior Steve Cooley for state attorney general.


    November 3, 2010 at 2:38 pm

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