“The election of President Barack Obama is about something far bigger than four or even eight years in the White House. Since 2004, Americans have been witnessing and participating in the emergence of a Democratic majority that will last not four but forty years.” – James Carville (Democratic strategist)
Don’t blink James – 40 years goes faster than you think.
There are no permanent majorities in a two party system. The party out of power will continue to refashion itself into something more electable. It always happens. The only real way to maintain permanence is to suspend democracy. Something that is certainly not out of the norm of human experience, but hasn’t happened in this country yet. (I doubt that’s what Carville had in mind.)
The new Republican majority in Congress will not be permanent either. Will it go away in 2012? I doubt it, but you never know. Two years is a long time in this business.
With John Boehner headed for Speaker of the House, Eric Cantor is in line to become majority leader. I know squat about Eric Cantor other than that he’s a Republican from Virginia. However, in an article I caught at lunch today, Eric Cantor and Jim DeMint (Republican senator from South Carolina) expressed their intention to end all earmarks. Beautiful. I can get behind that game plan. It’s a far cry from the 2000 vintage Republicans who just tried to earmark their way to incumbent victories.
As with Carville in 2008, people will predictably misinterpret the election results. In 2008 the true meaning (in my estimation) of the election was missed. I feel that Bush’s non-conservatism, coupled with the horrid candidacy of John McCain left most on the right and in the middle dissatisfied with Republicans – thus needing to “throw the bums out.” That, coupled with extraordinarily high turnout amongst African Americans propelled Obama to an easy victory. Folks forget though that McCain was up comfortably in the polls until he joined a Democrat led Wall Street bailout. (Note to self – never try to win an election on the strength of a policy opposed by 70% of the electorate.)
On that note, consider the health care reform and ruin act, also known as “Obamacare.” Wildly unpopular with Americans, it fueled anger at the party in power and no doubt contributed to the downfall.
One wonders if it is zealous over-confidence or an unwillingness to admit the truth in public. Politicians have an unflinching ability to read every election result as favorable to them. If they lose, well it was because of a bad economy or a bad war – Americans aren’t really upset with us. If they win, it clearly means that America has seen the light and fundamentally now agrees with every aspect of their agenda.
The truth is utterly reversed from this. When we throw you out, it’s because we don’t like you – both politically and personally. When we sweep you to power, it is not because we’ve seen the light. WE KNOW WHAT WE WANT – and have for quite some time. We’re just waiting around for you to see the light. One wonders how long we’ll need to wait.
As for Cantor, a history lesson is in order. George H. W. Bush made about one campaign promise in 1988 – “read my lips, no new taxes.” A promise which he broke, and ultimately got the boot. Mr. Cantor, you are on record as calling for an end to all earmarks. You are on record, as probable majority leader with a massive majority – as closing out the era of earmarking. Back down now, and you stand very little chance in 2012. BUT, if you follow through and eliminate all earmarks, your political future is indeed bright.