Monday, November 01, 2010


I won't be surprised if the election turns into a rout of the Dems, possibly worse than predicted by Gallup, with even the Senate flipping Republican. We had whipsaw elections throughout the late 19th Century, so there is precedent. If the Dems lose the House but manage to hold onto the Senate, President Obama may end up with the best possible result for his re-election. The GOP has no new ideas, so he'll be seen as the defender of Social Security, Medicare, the Department of Education, sanity and, best of all, our hard-won rights under healthcare reform.

For the Tea Partiers who have provided the GOP with a fig leaf of populism, I think Frank Rich has it right:
Trent Lott, the former Senate leader and current top-dog lobbyist, gave away the game in July. “We don’t need a lot of Jim DeMint disciples,” he said, referring to the South Carolina senator who is the Tea Party’s Capitol Hill patron saint. “As soon as they get here, we need to co-opt them.” It’s the players who wrote the checks for the G.O.P. surge, not those earnest folk in tri-corner hats, who plan to run the table in the next corporate takeover of Washington. Though Tom DeLay may now be on trial for corruption in Texas, the spirit of his K Street lives on in a Lott client list that includes Northrop Grumman and Goldman Sachs.


For sure, the Republican elites found the Tea Party invaluable on the way to this Election Day. And not merely, as Huckabee has it, because they wanted its foot soldiers. What made the Tea Party most useful was that its loud populist message gave the G.O.P. just the cover it needed both to camouflage its corporate patrons and to rebrand itself as a party miraculously antithetical to the despised G.O.P. that gave us George W. Bush and record deficits only yesterday.


But those Americans, like all the others on the short end of the 2008 crash, have reason to be mad as hell. And their numbers will surely grow once the Republican establishment’s panacea of tax cuts proves as ineffectual at creating jobs, saving homes and cutting deficits as the half-measures of the Obama White House and the Democratic Congress. The tempest, however, will not be contained within the tiny Tea Party but will instead overrun the Republican Party itself, where Palin, with Murdoch and Beck at her back, waits in the wings to “take back America” not just from Obama but from the G.O.P. country club elites now mocking her. By then — after another two years of political gridlock and economic sclerosis — the equally disillusioned right and left may have a showdown that makes this election year look as benign as Woodstock.

Hopefully the Dems will have replaced Chairman Tim Kaine with someone more in the Howard Dean mode, who actually knows how to strategize, fight and think on his feet, and who isn't afraid to run on his record. Skip the usual post-election circular firing squad -- that's all you need to know on how the Dems will have botched this one.

And re-elect the one sane, smart man standing astride this berserkoid nation of ours.

No comments: