For anyone who's been reading this blog, it's no secret which party I'm supporting.
Several of the pundits have been saying that this Republican surge will actually redound to President Obama's credit in 2012. It'll keep his policies moderate (goes the wisdom), and it will force the Republicans to act sensibly.
While I'm resigned to this Republican wave happening, it will not do the country any good. I believe it will do quite a bit of damage. This is for numerous reasons (most of which will be obvious) but here are the most important ones:
1) The Republicans who are being sent to Congress this election cycle are not reasonable people.
Sharron Angle (whom I suspect will be the next senator from Nevada) is a true nut. She wants to privatize social security (just think of what that would have meant during the Lehman Brothers collapse!). She opposes a woman's right to choose, even in cases of rape and incest. She wants to dismantle the department of education. She wants to withdraw the United States from the UN...
This is a dangerous, completely unserious person. (She makes George W. Bush like like a freakin' intellectual, for chrissake!) How the hell is the inclusion of this lunatic going to moderate the GOP?
The answer is: It won't.
2) The Republicans are learning all the wrong lessons.
The Republicans helped wreck the country -- and two years later (because of a media blitz, a particularly loud and mobilized group of teabaggers and because of a slower economic recovery than had been hoped) they're poised to get back at least one house of congress. They got this because they weren't reasonable. Instead of working with the President, instead of compromising and governing, they threw up road blocks. They did everything possible to make sure that President Obama failed. They acted like whatever they did wouldn't matter.
And they're being rewarded for it.
Excuse me for thinking that this will be interpreted as a sign that they should keep doing the same thing. (You're already seeing signs of this. Mike Pence said that there would be no compromise with the administration and already said he wanted to rollback healthcare.)
3) There is still so much more work to do -- and the GOP refuses to do it.
The second Obama stimulus will never happen now. Likewise, cap and trade is dead and buried. There are big, serious problems that the GOP has no interest in tackling, and they likely will go unsolved now.
None of this is to say that Obama's political future is thereby in jeopardy. I think he remains the likely favorite to win reelection in 2012. And, frankly, I think the GOP is simply so dangerous that (if I may borrow a sentiment from Mitch McConnell) I'll consider keeping them out of the White House to be achievement enough. But President Obama's administration will not be able to produce nearly the kinds of legislative triumphs they've achieved in its first two years.
My suspicion is that after tomorrow, the Obama administration will pivot to a foreign policy based presidency. (Which is fine -- there is a tremendous amount of unfinished work waiting for them.) But this is not going to be good for anybody.
Nevertheless, whoever you're supporting, please go out and vote!
Now, if you'll excuse me, my polling station is waiting.