It was a countdown to turn on the TV on Tuesday.
I knew that this midterm election was going to be a disaster for Democrats. That this so called “wave” of Republican victories may give conservatives control of both House and Senate. This wasn’t something I wanted to see yet I couldn’t wait to begin watching election returns.
Perhaps I had some hope that the pre-election polls were wrong. That the Republicans weren’t going to get the support that had been forecast. I hoped to see a rejection of the backwards politics of Rand Paul, Sarah Palin and Colorado’s own local conservative loser, Tom Tancredo, who was running for governor of Colorado on the Constitution Party ticket.
I went into Tuesday hoping that voters who supported Barack Obama just two years ago could stand strong against the Republican push to keep the country moving in a positive direction.
As it turns out, I shouldn’t have turned on the TV.
My gloomy evening of election coverage started with a disturbing victory speech by tea party candidate Rand Paul, who had just won the Kentucky Senate race over Democrat Jack Conway.
“I have a message,” Paul screamed into the microphone. “We’ve come to take our government back.” His robot supporters held up signs and cheered. Political canned laughter. “There’s a tea party title wave and we are sending a message.”
Kentucky was one of the first tea party victories to be called in what would be come a long night.
It was at that point, I asked my wife if we should just go see the new Jackass 3D movie instead of watching depressing election results. Hell, at least the Jackass 3D movie would be somewhat educational in comparison to what I was watching at the time.
It was an unnerving night in Portland, needless to say. The Republican wave had taken control of the House and was very close to taking the Senate.
Even though I have been living in Portland for nearly three months, my focus on the evening had been Colorado. Could the incumbent Senator, who was appointed to his seat, win an election in such a volatile time in U.S. politics as a Democrat against the tea party-supported Ken Buck, who shamelessly compared homosexuality to alcoholism on national television prior to the election. In crazy times like these, even a candidate like Buck has a chance at victory. Completely nerve-racking.
Bennet had started the night off in the lead by about five to six percentage points. Throughout the night, that gap narrowed until Buck took the lead by three percentage points. I looked mindlessly into my computer screen waiting for a result in that race and finally at 1:30 a.m. decided I would try to get some sleep. I laid my head on the pillow expecting to wake up to another Rand Paul-esq victory speech, this time by Ken Buck. It was a reality I really didn’t want to face.
My mind raced as I tried to force myself to sleep. Has it only been two years since President Obama won the popular vote of the people with so much hope and progressive ideals? Can anyone remember the time? It was just two years ago. People were in favor of health care reform. For change. Even though the poor economic conditions were handed to him, he still takes the blame. There was so much anger against the GOP just two years ago. Where did that anger go? I liked that anger. I am still angry at the GOP. The Democrats along with the party of “no” weren’t able to do everything they set out to do but they did do a hell of a lot considering the circumstances.
Yes, the recession still has a stranglehold on the American people. The unemployment rate is still high at just below 10 percent. But does anyone with any real sense of reality believe that all of those economic problems are going to be solved overnight? Or in two years for that matter? Are the policies of one politician are going to fix those problems immediately? A slumping economy is an out of control beast. No one person has the correct answer on how to fix it.
I guess the problem with Americans is that we expect instantaneous results. We love the fact that we can click a button and rent a movie on our computer instantly. We love instant credit! Instant gratification of a McDonald’s Big Mac at a drive through window. Instant love texts on our phones. Brett Favre likes it. Like Veruca Salt, we want it now! We demand it now!
So I guess after two years, half a presidency, the Democrats need to be thrown out of office. “Take out the trash on Nov. 2” as some of you said. Obama didn’t fix the economy instantly.
So instead of being reasonable about a timeframe for an economy to recover, the voters have spoken and voted for tea partiers. I sure hope that those tea partiers who did win on Tuesday will hold true to their words.
The tea party’s battle cry is “small government, tax cuts, and cut spending” yet they never seem to answer the question of what programs they plan on cutting. (Really what they man is tax cuts for the rich.) Specifically, what programs do they plan to cut? If anyone can get a direct, specific answer out of a tea partier, let me know.
So really, for those conservatives who won on Tuesday that are looking to cut the size of government back, to cut spending, the joke is on them. There is a group of interested voters associated with any and all programs right now. Believe me, the tea partiers are going to have trouble cutting programs like they said they would when they were running for office. Now that they will be in office, lets see how effective they really are.
Already, Rand has said he wants to set up a tea party caucus. As a left-leaning progressive thinker, I say go for it Rand. Go for it. I can’t wait to watch the squabbling between tea partiers and Republicans on how extremely right they want to be.
Perhaps there will be a silver lining in all of this for the Democrats who lost on Tuesday. The 2012 race for the White House started on Wednesday. Sarah Palin is foaming at the mouth already. Sweet. You betcha I want Palin in the race again.
For now, I think we can all sit back and watch the ineffectiveness of the tea party/conservative movement. (For God sakes, if they are going to be a real political movement, create a regulated nomination process like all real political parties do!)
And if you voted for them, I hope you hold them accountable to what they said. I, for one, don’t believe they have the ability to do whatever it is they have promised.
Oh, yeah. The news for Coloradoans wasn’t all bad on Wednesday morning. It was a pleasant surprise to find out that Michael Bennet had finally beat out buck in one of the nation’s tightest races. Bennet, I believe, will be good for all of Colorado because he is willing to compromise and reason. Reason is what our government needs right now. Not extreme thinking.