District of Corruption

Diminished Expectations for White America


These past few weeks, my in-box has been deluged with Republican propaganda of various sorts; all of it reiterating the message that “the American people” are rising up and poised to “take back their country” from the entrenched “ruling class.” I also received quite a few emails from individuals -- country club Republicans and Red State yahoos alike -- who echoed the same line.

Judging by last night’s results, I apparently have my country back.

Not too long from now, rhetoric will be shredded by reality.

  • Obamacare will not be repealed. (No major entitlement has been repealed for decades, and House Republicans couldn’t get rid of Obamacare even if they weren’t lying cowards.)
  • The House Republicans will likely halt any “cap-and-trade” legislation. That’s a good thing. But it’s hard to rely on them for much else. The word “stimulus” has had the micky taken out of it, but there’s no telling what kind of Keynesian nonsense they would support if the Dow Jones dropped a couple thousand points. Let’s not forget that in 2008, the Republicans brought us “stimulus” checks in the spring and bailouts in the fall.

[To lighten the mood, here’s a amusing joke I heard at last night’s big Republican shindig at the Leadership Institute:Some people are claiming that Obama is a Keynesian. But it’s been proven that he was born in Hawaii!  Hardyharhar…]

  • I get the sense that many might spin tonight’s Republican victory as a loss for the Tea Party: when Tea Partiers stepped out on a limb to endorse one of their own -- for example, Joe Miller (Alaska), Christine O’Donnell (Delaware), and Sharron Angle (Nevada) -- he lost badly. (Rand Paul won a resounding victory in Kentucky, however) The “Tea Party candidates” who did win (Marco Rubio et al.) have careers that aren’t defined by grassroots protest and can exist independently of it.

And there’s a much bigger inconvenient reality for all those who emailed me about “taking back the country” -- the ability of the Great White Middle to reorganize Washington has been greatly diminished.

The 1994 midterm was strikingly similar to the one we just experienced: the president was generally loathed and distrusted by Middle Americans; he had recently tried to push through a new healthcare plan, was viewed as anti-military, and had a left-wing maniac for a wife.

In ’94, White America changed both chambers of Congress.  (The “revolution,” of course, eventuated in increased budgets for departments the revolutionaries promised to abolish and wonkish legislation like “welfare reform.” But what’s new?)

In 2010, White America could only manage the House.

After 2012, the prospect of “taking back our country” through the democratic process will have become a quaint dream.