Saturday, September 11, 2010

The 2010 Midterm Elections - What Were You Expecting?

According to the pundits and the prognosticators and the magical soothsayers, Americans are disappointed with Barack Obama's presidency and want to elect Republicans to Congress again. To which I say, go ahead. And to which I also say, to all sides: what were you expecting?

First of all, to liberals: Did you really think Republicans were going to disappear? I don't know about everybody else, but personally I did not get the sense that Obama's victory in 2008 represented any sort of substantial "shift" in American politics, or in the political preferences of John Q. American. I suspect that "swing voters" were fed up with eight years of Bush and associated the economically prosperous 1990s with Bill Clinton and, by further association, the Democratic party. I've got news for you people. The 1990s are not coming back. There is nothing Barack Obama or Sarah Palin or Glenn Beck or Meg Whitman can do to bring them back. I've heard it said that voters are in "an anti-incumbent mood." If voters won't be satisfied until the 1990s return, then I hope they enjoy being in that "anti-incumbent mood," because they're probably going to be in that anti-incumbent mood for the rest of their lives.

Also, to liberals: Did you think Obama was going to magically create a budget surplus, end every armed conflict everywhere in the world, redistribute Wall Street bonuses to orphaned children, and generally pass every single law Democrats have felt like passing for forty years?

Finally, to conservatives: Do you think that massive tax cuts, the implementation of pure laissez-faire capitalism, and the elimination of all government stimulus programs is going to improve the economy and erase the national debt? I have news for you: the national debt will exist the day you die. The national debt will exist as long as the United States of America functions as a sovereign entity. Get used to it. It is not going anywhere. Electing Republicans to Congress is not going to erase the national debt. But if it makes you feel better, you can vote for Republicans if you want to. And yet, didn't we just do that? What makes you think a 2012 government led by Republicans will be any different from the 2000-2006 government led by Republicans?

Republicans often accuse Democrats of being "pie-in-the-sky liberals," but honestly I find conservative ideals more unrealistic. They seem to expect the world to be perfect in some patently shallow sort of way. They expect a world with no debt, no waste, no welfare, no terrorist attacks, no thriving autocratic Middle East dictators - no problems at all. And anything short of such a world is a disgrace and a travesty and an insult to the Founding Fathers. I'm sorry to be the one to tell you this, but such a world will never exist. People have to let go of some superficial notion of the way the world is "supposed to be." And yet woe to the politician who fails to pretend such a world is only a couple of years away. I get the feeling that conservatives would rather live in a world where everybody's miserable but, look! The national debt has finally been eradicated!

On the whole, I must admit that Obama has lived up to my extremely low expectations. Here are some of the things Barack Obama has not done:

1) Been caught in a sleazy sex scandal
2) Started a war of choice with a Middle-Eastern country
3) Made the recession noticeably worse
4) Actively supported racism and homophobia
5) Appointed WASP-y assholes to the Supreme Court

I have no complaints.

1 comment:

Herr Zrbo said...

Speaking of politics, I hate to admit it but I'd rather keep Schwarzenegger than choose between Brown or Whitman. At least Arnold seems somewhat sane for a Republican.