Friday, November 05, 2010

Election Night Thoughts ...

Here's where my brain has landed:

There's really no point in writing much of anything about election night, a) because what's done is done, and b) because much of why what was done was done was because people either didn't know the facts about what's been accomplished in the past two years, or they didn't care.

So nothing I say is going to unring the bell. Congress is as Congress is now, for two years, anyway. If people didn't believe things on Tuesday, they're not going to believe them now.

But I'll make a few points:

1. In almost every mid-term election since early in the 20th Century, the party not in power has made gains. This year's gains were not unprecedented, though they were indeed large. But they could have been larger, given the level of unrest in the country at the moment. We can thank the Tea Party for stemming the losses. Harry Reid should have been a political goner. But the Tea Party, as I read somewhere the other day, managed to find the one candidate Harry Reid could beat. Angle was so extreme that folks who have no love for Harry Reid and wanted him out of office thought, "Well, hell, I can't vote for that woman." And Mike Castle surely would have won Joe Biden's seat in Delaware. Everyone said so, the blues and the reds. But the Tea Party made professional candidate Christine O'Donnell the Republican nominee and now Delaware can breathe a sigh of relief that Senator-elect Coons is headed to Washington.

2. Most people don't seem to know it, but taxes have gone down under Obama. So the Tea Party folks who keep screaming about their taxes? Um, guys? You're paying less. In fact, when you filed this year's tax return, you paid the least amount of taxes you've paid in decades. Yes, really. Honest. It's a verifiable fact. And exactly the kind of information you won't hear on FOX News.

3. Yes, it seemed counterintuitive to pump more money into the economy when we surely didn't seem to have more to spend, but the economy was heading for the cliff, folks. A Great Depression was imminent, thanks in large part to Wall Street. (By the way, as Republicans are yelling about repealing everything Obama and Congress have accomplished in the past two years, including Wall Street reform, the folks on Wall Street will be taking home record bonuses again this year. Think about that the next time you're not sure how you're going to pay your next bill.) In fact, we needed to pump more money into the economy, not less. The "less" got us to where we are today: sluggish recovery and a pissed-off populace. And now the Fed has announced that it's releasing $600 billion. As Robert Reich said on Twitter, that won't create recovery, that will create a bubble. Like we need another one of those.

4. The Republicans still have no incentive to work with Obama. In fact, just the opposite. If the Republicans can keep the economy in the toilet for the next two years, they think voters will easily oust Obama out of office. Mitch McConnell has said that the GOP's number-one goal is to make sure Obama is a one-term president. That's the GOP's number-one goal, not fixing the economy, not putting people back to work, not addressing climate change (many GOPers flat-out deny it's even an issue; one says it's sun spots or something; because, surely, having industrialized the planet and using more fossil fuels than ever before couldn't possibly affect anything; it's all just some crazy coincidence), or any other pressing issue. No, the GOP's stated goal is to quash Obama. And replace him with who? Sarah Palin? Because she's the front-runner right now, kids. We tried the "folksy" president for eight years with Bush. That worked out well, huh? Two wars (totaling 17 years and counting), massive job losses, record deficits. Sign me up for more of that! You betcha!

5. We just saw our fifth consecutive quarter of growth. The private sector is adding jobs. We've started down the path to healthcare reform. Spare me the "government-run healthcare!" argument. That's what many of us wanted: a public option, Medicare for all, if you will. It's hugely efficient. (Also a verifiable fact.) Instead, our government passed legislation that will hand 31 million new customers to private insurance companies. And we're being Socialist how? Obama's signed equal-pay-for-equal-work legislation, which is kind of a big deal if, you know, you're a woman who's been getting screwed for years just because you don't have a penis. And there a host of other examples of the good that's been accomplished for this country since he took office, as hard as it might be for some people to face.

Has the White House done a poor job at messaging? You bet it has. The fact that most people don't know that tax cuts were part of the stimulus bill is ridiculous. And so the fine folks at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue need to get better at talking about their accomplishments.

But we the people also need to think for ourselves. Anyone who relies on FOX News for its information is an idiot. And I'm writing that knowing that I'm insulting some of my family and friends. But please, once and for all: FOX News is an arm of the Republican party. "Fair and Balanced" is a catchy phrase, but it in no way describes FOX's coverage. Legitimate news organizations do not host candidates for de facto fundraisers. Legitimate news organizations do not make million-dollar contributions to political groups. And then keep that information from viewers. Legitimate news organizations do not allow someone as unhinged as Glenn Beck on the air to spew lies and vitriol and incite people to violence. They just don't. Period. There is no way to defend FOX News as a news organization. It is not one.

Please, get your information from a variety of sources. Think for yourself. Do not listen to Michele Bachmann ranting about Obama's trip to India costing $200 million a day. That number came from an anonymous source in an Indian newspaper. Stop to ask yourself, "How would that anonymous person know?" The White House doesn't release that information in advance of trips. So the answer is: The anonymous source made it up. So elected officials and the rest of the right-wingers are in a tizzy over a fabrication. How responsible of them to continue to cite it as a fact.

As with past political posts, I'm turning off the comments. Those who agree with me will agree with me. Those who don't, won't. I have no inclination to get into a pissing match in the comments. Have something to say? Start a blog. Hire a skywriter. Write with a stick in the dirt. Whatever. My blog. My thoughts. Thus spake Beth.

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