It’s easy to let yourself go in despair and start thinking things like “We are well-and-truly f***ed” or “This is the worst of all possible outcomes”. But it isn’t true.I think this election is going to be a “coming of age” moment for a lot of people. They say, “Be careful what you wish for” and a lot of people got their wish yesterday.
And now they’re bound to be disappointed. Not even Jesus could satisfy all the expectations of Obama’s most vocal supporters, or fulfill all the promises Obama has made.
I think Obama is going to turn out to be the worst president since Carter, and for the same reason: good intentions do not guarantee good results. Idealists often stub their toes on the wayward rocks of reality, and fall on their faces. And the world doesn’t respond to benign behavior benignly.
But there’s another reason why: Obama has been hiding his light under a basket. A lot of people bought a pig in a poke today, and now they’re going to find out what they bought. Obama isn’t what most of them think he is. The intoxication of the cult will wear off, leaving a monumental hangover.
And four years from now they’ll be older and much wiser.
A lot of bad things are going to happen during this term. But I don’t think that this is an irreversible catastrophe for the union. I’ve lived long enough to absorb this basic truth: the US is too large and too strong to destroy in just 4 years. Or even in 8. We survived 6 years of Nixon. We survived 4 years of Carter. We even survived 8 years of Clinton, God alone knows how.
The President of the United States is the most powerful political figure in the world, but as national executives go his powers are actually quite restricted. Obama will become President, but he won’t be dictator or king, let alone deity. He still has to work with the House and the Senate, and he still has to live within Constitutional restrictions, and with a judiciary that he mostly didn’t appoint.
The main reason this will be a “coming of age” moment is that now Obama and the Democrats have to put up or shut up. Obama got elected by making himself a blank slate, with vapid promises about “hope” and “change” — but now he actually has to do something. Now he has to reveal his true agenda. And with the Democrats also having a majority in both chambers of Congress, now the Democrats really have to lead. And they’re not going to do a very good job of it. It’s going to be amusing to watch.
And the people who fell for the demagoguery will learn an invaluable lesson.
Speaking of demagogues, rather than admit to her role in her party’s shellacking, Nancy Pelosi does her own impersonation of Obama’s infamous “You’ve got me” moment and tells her supporters she had nothing — nothing! — to do with the midterms:
Nancy Pelosi attempted to set the record straight in an NPR interview today about the reason her House caucus will be at least 60 members fewer in January. It’s not her fault, Pelosi insists. She’s just a victim of the economic environment that, er, her caucus spent nine months ignoring on their march to pass a bill that the majority of Americans didn’t want in the first place:
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says she has the “overwhelming support” of fellow Democrats in her bid to become minority leader in the next Congress, and says she’s not to blame for the Democrats’ mid-term debacle.
“We didn’t lose the election because of me,” Ms. Pelosi told National Public Radio in an interview that aired Friday morning. “Our members do not accept that.”
Instead, the California Democrat attributes the loss of at least 60 seats to high unemployment and “$100 million of outside, unidentified funding.”
“Any party that cannot turn (9.5% unemployment) into political gains should hang up the gloves,” she said.
Why won’t she step down and let fresh blood into Democratic leadership? Because, that would mean that Republicans had won, or something:
We don’t let the Republicans choose our leaders and again, our members understand, they made me a target because I’m effective, politically and policy-wise.
Yes … and it worked, too, which is why the GOP would have demanded that Pelosi stay in position to let them do it again in 2012 if they had for a moment thought that Democrats would be foolish enough to seriously consider it. If Republicans could choose the leaders for the House Democrats, they would not only have nominated Pelosi for Minority Leader but might have passed an exception to the rule and put Alan Grayson in as Minority Whip as well.
It’s pretty tough to spin this entirely on the economy, when the Democrats had been planning their New, New, New Deal agenda even before the economy went south in the fall of 2008, as outgoing Pennsylvania congressman and would-be gunslinger Paul Kanjorski admitted in May of 2008, when unemployment was at 5.5 percent, numbers that last month would have been music to the ears of Obama and Pelosi. And Obama was talking health care “reform” during much of his early days on the stump in 2007.
But then, as Amity Shlaes wrote in the Forgotten Man, the New Deal wasn’t drafted anew in response to the Depression; much of it was a laundry list of items that self-styled “progressives” had been dreaming of years before. Because then as now, you never want to let a crisis go to waste.