There's nothing all that surprising about last night. Second-term presidents almost always lose ground in off-year elections. The polls have been saying for months that something like this was possible. We worked our asses off to make sure things weren't even worse than they were, and for that we should be proud. And yeah, there's lots of data to dig into and lessons to be learned over the coming weeks and months.
But here's the big takeaway for me:
The next two years are a critical time for progressives, because of how blue the map will be in 2016.
Election 2016 is going to be viewed as a rejection of something and an embrace of something else.
The GOP will take care of the "rejection" part – with gridlock, useless repeals, shutdowns, Benghazi, primaries, and impeachment, we know they will – but it's up to us to spend the next two years making sure that the "embrace" part is clear and unambiguous.
Because the public's perception of those results will then be absorbed into the American mainstream, and reckoned with as a new President moves into his/her first term. Like it or not, most Americans are low-information voters. Almost no one is aware of the things everyone reading this blog is aware – how favorable the 2016 map is, how close to 270 the Democratic candidate starts off with in 2016, how gerrymandering affects the House, etc.
All they know is headlines.
And we know what the headlines on November 2, 2016 are going to be.
And because we know that, we can now begin to control why they are what they are.
Republicans who want to show their pride can say it loud with a T-shirt inspired by New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez, who was a Democrat until 1995. For a $29 donation, the Republican National Committee is offering T-shirts that say, “I’ll be damned. I’m a Republican!”
Millennials (those born roughly since 1980 or so, depending on your definition) are the most progressive generation since FDR.
That's the headline from this fascinating infographic from Pew, which examines the voting preferences of various generational cohorts over the last two decades. We've heard this before of course. Pew grouped voters into categories not based solely on birth year, but also on the year in which a voter turned 18 -- noting under what President this occurred (fascinating concept). They then looked across the last 10 elections to see where deviations from the national average occurred.
1) The obvious lede -- every election Millennials have voted in, they've skewed Democratic. Almost as important? Ditto for young Gen Xers (who turned 18 under Clinton) -- in every election except 2004 (when they skewed GOP) and 2000 (when they tracked with national averages), they skew Democratic as well.
2) Millennials and young Gen Xers deviated from the norm in 11 of 12 opportunities. This wasn't the case for all cohorts, many of whom often followed (or more likely, made up) the overall national average. Not these kids. They've happily departed, election after election. They're not falling in line with the average.
3) Fascinating difference between Gen Xers who came of age under Reagan/Bush vs. those who came of age under Clinton. The former group (today age 38-49) skewed Republican in 7 of 10 elections, and Democratic in only one (their earliest election in 1994). But the Clinton group (today age 30-37) skewed Democratic in 5 of 7 elections and skewed Republican in only one. Powerful argument that this is the fault line: voters age 37 and younger, vs. those 38 and older. Not Gen X vs. Millennial. Everyone born after Star Wars came out is basically a Democrat.
4) The idea that young, idealistic, naive voters tend to side with progressives until they age into mature, worldly realists and start voting for conservatives seems to be (at least partially) debunked by this chart. Only the Reagan/Bush Gen Xers exhibit anything like this behavior. Other groups were either a) more consistent over time, or b) inconsistent but in unpredictable ways, not just "older = more conservative."
Some limitations of note:
1) The chart looks only at "likely voters in pre-election polls," not actual returns.
2) The actual size of each voting bloc is unclear, nor is the precise degree to which it deviated from an election's average. We do know, of course, that the Millennial generation is huge compared with Gen X, so its tastes and preferences are magnified.
3) There is obvious ambiguity involved. How much deviation was enough to earn a colored box is not clearly spelled out. Expressing each election as a binary "departed/matched the national average" is a useful (if imperfect) way to chart it, however.
4) The chart doesn't go back early enough to compare voting behavior over long voting lives for multiple groups.
In short, this chart seems to confirm much of what we've been talking about for years -- Millennials seem to consistently prefer progressive ideals, and predictably vote for Democratic candidates that (theoretically) espouse those ideals. This is not changing, and it's a bit of an historical aberration.
If you were a Republican strategist, this is just more heartburn. It's yet another reminder that our voters are going to be around a lot longer than their voters, and mobilizing them to get to the polls is 90% of the battle every election going forward. They already believe what we believe, and they've voted the way we've voted. The trend shows no sign of slowing, and history provides no reason to think that it will reverse itself anytime soon.
* * * * * * * * * * * *
Closing thought: The bottom of the chart seems to beg for an additional row -- for whatever generation will follow Millennials ("Generation Z" or the "Homeland Generation" or "Gen Next" or whatever pithy label ultimately sticks). Some folks have the oldest members of this generation around age 16 now; others think they're under 10. Either way, in the next 2-3 elections -- soon -- we're going to be talking about them. What will their preferences be? Are they rebelling against the views of the generation that preceded them (as personified by a parent, older sibling, etc.) or adopting and evolving similar beliefs? And what can we be doing today to ensure that they continue and amplify the trend of rallying behind progressive thinking and voting?
Rec list? Hey thanks team. I'm a sucker for a slick infographic. You too? Then please enjoy the following from PBS' Sid the Science kid. And you're welcome.
UPDATE: Thanks to the help of several commenters, it seems clear this is a hoax. There's no school by this name in this place. Of course, that won't stop it from going viral and for the heroic forces of goodness from waving it around as one more reason the government is turning everyone into gay commie freedom-hating welfare abortion-havers, so be on the lookout.
Forgive me, I realize Daily Kos is not Snopes. But maybe someone can help me figure this out.
A story is splashing across my social media pages this morning from multiple sources. The gist of the story is that middle school students in Maryland were "forced" to cross-dress as part of some sort of misguided LGBTQ awareness unit, and anyone choosing not to participate would "fail."
Parents in the town of St. Leonard, MD were aghast after learning what the staff at Heritage Middle School required children to do for a passing grade. The outrage stems from an event held this past Monday, a day which the school had dubbed “LGBTQ Appreciation Day” instructing children to experience the homosexual lifestyle for a single school day or receive a failing grade.
Students were assigned the different roles throughout LGBTQ culture. Boys were given the task of being masculine homosexuals, feminine homosexuals, cross dressers and a wide variety of other gay archetypes. The young ladies were selected to be lip stick lesbians, or butch lesbians.
No, this is not from The Onion although it sure seems like it should be. Unless -- this actually occurred? (And maybe there's a perfectly good explanation for how this could somehow be ok?? Although I sure can't think of one.)
Based on the sketchy sources and the lack of any mainstream verification -- and the bizarre nature of the report ("butch lesbians?" oh come on), I'm inclined to think this is pure fabrication. But before I rant away at my gullible friends, I thought I'd share it here and see who knew what. Anyone who can help me debunk it would be much appreciated.
What to do if you're a card-carrying tea party member today, in the aftermath of NJ and VA. Question your morals? Admit your views are fringe and candidates espousing them are unelectable in general elections?
“This race came down to the wire because of Obamacare,” Cuccinelli said in an emotional concession speech, telling supporters that despite his loss, “you sent a message to the president of the United States . . . that Obamacare is a failure. . . . We were lied to by our own government in its effort to restrict our liberty.”
The GOP will take the lesson from Virginia that if they aren’t suddenly socially liberal they’re going to lose nationwide. Instead, they should pay attention to how quickly the polling gap closed once Cuccinelli turned the race into a referendum on Obamacare. And they should also note that being pro-life in Virginia was not what did in Ken Cuccinelli. McAuliffe tried to mobilize his whole base with a “war on women” strategy and nearly lost once Cuccinelli attacked Obamacare head on.
“If we had had five more days, or 5 million more dollars, we would have won,” said Michael McKenna, a Republican strategist in Virginia, who also said Tuesday’s results will be studied by candidates heading into the next two federal elections. “Obamacare is toxic. Democratic senators up in either 2014 or 2016 are probably terrified at what happened in Virginia.”
Where's the hard evidence that opinions of Obamacare drove the results? Oh, there isn't any. The website fiasco began on October 1, the shutdown ended on October 16th, and after brief polling surges McAuliffe lead averages returned to 4-8 points, where they had been all fall. And where they sat on Election eve. This represents a failure of polling, not an indictment of Obamacare.
But ladies and Gentlemen of Kosland, I heartily endorse this GOP strategy. Because I think that will backfire dramatically as 2014 unfolds. And by then it will be too late.
I understand the temptation, mind you. Healthcare.gov rolled out to a ton of problems. But here's the thing -- those problems are temporary. They'll be fixed. That the election happened to take place within the short window when the problems were the focus of so much attention? Well that's just horribly awful luck -- for Republicans.
Because picture this: the website is fixed up at the end of November. A sober announcement is made: come sign up. A glitch or two will persist but it will work. Thus it will fade from the news. Instead of reports of errors there will be stories of success. And then we'll be into the holidays, December will blink by, and before you know it it'll be January. And -- look here! Previously uncovered people will actually have coverage! Little kids going to the doctor or dentist. Tearful stories of years of uncertainty now over -- we are so grateful. Human faces -- happy human faces, under the solid protection of government-regulated, fair, affordable health care -- will begin to be shown.
Still the GOP will have to run on what they said they'd run on: "Obamacare is destroying the country."
As the March 1 deadline approaches, a huge uptick in sign-ups. A few paying the penalty -- more money into the ACA's coffers. More success stories. Millions now enrolled. The numbers keep going up and up.
Still the GOP will have to run on what they said they'd run on: "Obamacare is destroying the country."
April comes -- on Tax Day, and no one is hauled off to jail for not having health insurance. The public tires of the happy stories. Everyone still gets their tax refunds -- and some get new subsidies. Some are quite large. This is great news. The world has not stopped turning.
Still the GOP will have to run on what they said they'd run on: "Obamacare is destroying the country."
Summer. Election news heating up. Lots of close races. People who had to change coverage against their will have long forgotten whatever it was they were so upset about last fall. New issues will have come up that the country wants to talk about.
Still, like a broken record, the GOP will have to run on what they said they'd run on: "Obamacare is destroying the country."
And finally into the fall. Democrats can offer meaningful suggestions for how to actually improve the ACA, should they control Congress. They can trot out family after family, in their districts, helped by one ACA provision after another.
Still, the GOP will have to run on what they said they'd run on: "Obamacare is destroying the country." They will have a few angry businesspeople. And some misleading study, or hysterical person. But their moment will be over. Obamacare will not have destroyed the country. And everyone screaming for the last 12 months that it would will be laughed at and lose votes at the ballot box. All across the country.
Republicans are managing to overplay an extremely weak hand and, in so doing, learning entirely the wrong lessons from yesterday's elections. And they're learning them so quickly and so thoroughly that their base won't let them pivot away from them in 2014 once it becomes clear theyno longer give them any electoral traction.
Comparing the cost of healthcare.gov to spotify or linkedin, or comparing the user experience to Amazon, is completely irrelevant. The only relevant question to ask is this:
Is this better or worse than the way shopping for insurance online used to be?
Now you, like me, may have thought that when Obamacare went live with new rules and regs, simultaneously all the private sites operating on the old rules somehow went dark, rendering direct comparison impossible. Not so! We don't have to try to remember the bad old days and then try to compare -- we can do it side-by-side because those sites are still around!
(But rather than do it yourself, let the incomparable and hilarious John Green of Crash Course do it for you -- this is well worth your time.)
For those who can't view videos, here's my summation:
FIRST: John spends a frustrating 49 minutes trying to create a profile on healthcare.gov, getting kicked out multiple times, before finally making his way in (video shot and posted on October 8). He adds info about his wife and kids, confirms his email and driver's license, and is then ready to compare plans.
THEN: John spends a much more frustrating 2 hours and 16 minutes trying to get to a similar point with a private insurer. He is asked about his medical history. He is asked what doctors he and his family see. He is asked about traffic violations. He is asked if he's had surgery or has "discussed" surgery ("what, like mentioned it in conversation?"). He is asked how much he drinks alcohol. He is asked to provide written details on all these responses and advised that failing to do so completely will jeopardize his future coverage. The application is at least 25 pages long, a huge headache and super intrusive.
Healthcare.gov, flawed as it may be, still seems like a massive improvement over the old system. Yet no media is doing this comparison. Maybe that's why, despite the difficulties, the site keeps getting traffic and people are fighting the delays to get through. These people -- the ones actually signing up -- know what it used to be like.
That's a message we need to be repeating. And this video is awesome and deserves to go viral. It's been out over a week and has been viewed 625,000 times on YouTube. Let's make that 6 million views.
Disclaimers: I have never shopped for individual insurance myself nor have I tried to create a healthcare.gov profile. I am not saying Obamacare the law is perfect (it's not) nor that the healthcare.gov website is perfect (it's not). I am not a computer programmer. I am in no way affiliated with John Green or his stuff. But it is awesome, and here's a little more about him:
John Green is one half of the VlogBrothers, who do occasional video blogs and various topics in this style, as well as the growing educational series Crash Course, which is sort of like a high-intensity humorous-yet-educational Cliff's Notes video channel on a ton of different topics. There are 150+ videos available in topics like biology, history, literature and chemistry.
The duo has recently launched Subabble, a crowdfunded venture where they hope to be more sustainable in making future videos.
Good. We should all be grateful for Democrats who held the line in the face of mounting pressure -- from the President right on down to the various Senators and Representatives from red districts. Call your guy or gal and say thanks. The messaging worked. The public (by-and-large) understood who was most to blame, and bludgeoned them at the polls. This mattered.
This is a big strategic victory. We should celebrate. We should be pleased.
But two things.
First, let's not miss this fantastic opportunity to communicate an important message related to the shutdown, which happens to highlight a major difference between progressives and the extreme right wingers today -- maybe the major message:
#1: Government has an important role to play in all of our lives.
In chats with friends and Facebook posts and letters to the editor over the coming days and weeks, let's make damn sure that point is not overlooked. In fact, let's lead with that point.
Rather than dancing in the endzone and rubbing Ted Cruz's nose in this defeat, let's really make it hurt by doing more than attacking his moronic strategy. Let's talk about the critical role that government plays in protecting and empowering the citizens enjoy of this country. Let's talk about all the things we've witnessed over the past few weeks -- the cancer patients and inaccessible national treasures and WIC kids and on and on and on -- you know the list -- that only happen because of government. Let's talk about how public safety, environmental protection, healthcare, finances, etc. were all affected negatively when the government's ability to function was threatened.
Let's state it loudly and clearly: government is imperfect but important. Government plays a positive role in each of our lives. And the government deserves to be run by responsible and intelligent people who believe in its importance.
Second, let's not high five so much that we forget what this all meant:
#2: There were no winners in this Republican debacle.
Let's be happy we won. But now that it's over, let's behave like this is the outcome we expected all along (bonus: it is). Let the independents watching see us as satisfied... but not childish. Let's repeat the themes that serve the party and the nation going forward: it is right that we keep Obamacare intact. It is right that we not delay or defund a law intended to help so many. It is right that we maintain our credit rating and pay our bills, and future brinksmanship should not be tolerated as a device to force otherwise palatable legislation by a cabal of officials.
Every time we identify ourselves as "winners" we own the results of the status quo -- which is, after all, about all we protected here. We haven't gained any new progressive legislation. We haven't outlawed assault weapons or legalized gay marriage or ended oil subsidies or anything else even vaguely visible -- all we've "won" is a reprieve from awful backwards policies the other wide wanted. We can't expect the apolitical public to care much for this "victory" of ours and we risk overplaying our hand if we parade ourselves around too much glowing and taunting the other side about it.
But above all -- let's talk about the people who are really affected, the ones for whom NONE OF THIS WAS A WIN FOR ANYONE, and how they must now recover from Republicans' stupidity and nihilism. Let's talk about how pointless the entire exercise was, and how, while some furloughed workers will get backpay and some programs will have coffers refilled, others were affected in ways that aren't so easily made whole.
Let's talk about the little kids who get to go back to Head Start, some for the first time since October 1.
Let's talk about the kids and pregnant moms who depend on WIC funding. Let's apologize to them for letting them down.
Again -- you know the list. Let's keep the focus there a little while longer, while the public is paying attention. Let's make sure we learn the lesson of this shutdown well -- that lives are impacted, that it's not just beltway politicking but real effects out in the heartland -- that we might not allow ourselves to go down this road again lightly.
This whole thing was a mess. We'll run ads and blame the GOP and laugh at Ted Cruz and his Tortilla Coast losers later. Plenty of time for all of that.
The opportunity before us right now is to talk about what this was really all about: how government helps people when it's done right, and how people are hurt when it's not.
"The RedState contact email is now getting one anti-GOP email for every one anti-Democrat email. That has never happened before."
Erick Erickson's latest Redstate missive makes his feelings on the emerging Senate deal pretty clear. It's called REJECT THIS. (You can click the link but it's nothing you couldn't write yourself -- Ted Cruz is the only conservative with balls, McConnell is a spineless K Street fuckwad, etc.)
But note the above line. This is how it begins, right? This is how the splintering is forced out into the open -- and Erickson is positively gleeful about it! Karl Rove is being openly attacked for spending money to protect McConnell from Matt Bevin. Republicans are evenly split in their opinions of their leaders, approving by 49-47%.
What if, instead of the usual "a pox on both their houses!" bullshit being applied to both parties, it is now applied to the "two houses" of the Republican party? And what if this no-win feeling -- amongst whites, conservatives, traditional Republicans -- suppresses voter turnout just as it traditionally does among the electorate as a whole? How can you message to independents when you have no message? How can you turn out exurban whites and Sam's Club conservatives when your party is in public disarray?
Congressional Republicans got 60 percent of the white vote in the 2010 election, compared to just 37 percent for the Democrats. What if, as we move into 2014, the war among white people breaks out in earnest, with the Tea Party on one side, business and establishment Republicans on the other and white working class voters already suspicious about the party’s Paul Ryan-inspired drive to cut Medicare and Social Security watching from the sidelines? All this would make it prohibitively hard for the party to replicate its 60 percent showing among white voters in 2014. Say white support subsides to, say, 55 percent, with Democrats edging up to 42 percent. Assuming that the minority share of voters rises by a couple of points relative to 2010 and support for Democrats clocks in close to 80 percent, we are then in take-back-House territory, a popular vote margin of 6 points or so.
This is a key point. Polls show generic ballots having moved 21 points towards Democrats. Kos is right to point out that when our base shows up to vote in large numbers, we always win.
But of course this corollary is also true:
When their base fails to show up to vote in large numbers, they always lose.
Barack Obama won't be on the ballot in 2014. The acute anger of the shutdown will have faded. Individual races will matter -- speech presence, retail politics. But if the Republican house is divided against itself and troubled conservatives are left with a "pox on both Republicans houses" taste in their mouths, they won't show up to vote. If you're hearing one thing from Rush, but another from Fox, what to think? Karl Rove and RedState disagree? Who to believe? And all the while you keep hearing stories about Obamacare's rollout, people covered and receiving care? What's a frustrated teabagger to do?
History says: stay home.
An animated, enthusiastic, fired up progressive base is always the best way to win. But a demoralized, confused, infighting conservative base will get the job done. And it looks like that's what we'll have.
UPDATE: Top of the rec list? Thanks team. The Twitter machine tells me that the House is still running around in circles, confused and hung over after last night's Booze Cruz, but hope springs eternal that we'll find a way out of this. It'd be nice if we didn't have to deny basic governmental services to millions and careen towards a cliff of worldwide economic collapse in order to expose the far right wing as the nihilists they are, but you go to war against the moronic opposition party you have, not the moronic opposition party you may wish to have, you know?
Ezra Klein published a revealing interview with Tom Coburn (R-crazytown). The whole thing is worth a read.
But get this:
EK: The Democrats’ view is that it’s fine to start thinking about debt and deficits but that’s it’s illegitimate to use default as the threat to force a deal. They say they’ll negotiate, but the structure of that negotiation can’t be “do what we want or the economy gets it.” Do you think they’re wrong?
This strikes me as a skillful way of framing the question tactically. Klein is getting away from the substantive issues (how good/bad is Obamacare, who is more passionate, etc.) and trying to solve for methodology -- is it appropriate, basically EVER, for a party to use the threat of catastrophic default as a way to do something.
Before you read Coborn's response, pause and consider how this question should be answered by an honorable elected official in a well-functioning democracy. Ahhh. Ok, now please proceed:
TC: Because nobody is negotiating at the table, and everyone is negotiating in the press. Jack Lew is saying all these things that can’t be done which isn’t necessarily true. The president doesn’t have the confidence of Congress that he’ll do what he says. The idea that you’ll raise the debt limit, and he’ll sit down and talk doesn’t pass the smell test. It’s just partisan attack after partisan attack.
Sure, the GOP could remove the threat of national ruin, or global economic collapse -- but then what motivation would the President have to do their bidding?
Or put another way:
If we're actually negotiating between two rational political positions -- things the President wants that we do not, and things we want that the President does not -- then it follows that we might have to accept some things not to our liking in reaching a deal!
But, if all we do is threaten to hold our breath until the country turns blue or the President relents, we give in nothing!
So it's not that the GOP wants so desperately to negotiate. They want capitulation.
Ezra runs with the prior sentence -- about Congress just not goshdarn knowing if the President will do what he says (ahemBULLSHIT) -- as the interview's lede, but I think my bolding is the bigger admission. I realize the list of places where high-ranking Republicans have all but admitted the hostage-taking was wrong, was their idea, was unprecedented, etc., is getting pretty long, but this one seems like a big one.
Tom Coburn is on the record saying that it just doesn't make sense to him why a President would want to work on solving our nation's structural problems unless the threat of catastrophe was being used to force him to the table.
Everyone understands what a dick move it is for someone to fuck with something they don't understand (even after being told not to by someone who does understand it) -- and then blame the responsible party when things go horribly wrong.
That's the current situation today -- both in miniature as it concerns the government shutdown, and, potentially, writ large as we speed towards a possible cataclysmic default.
In both situations, the Tea Party fringe leading the charge demonstrates at every turn that it has: 1) extremely poor understanding of the facts in play, yet 2) tremendous motivation to fuck with things anyway, mostly because of a borderline pathological derangement related to Obamacare and anything championed by Democrats in general, up to and including the very concept of government itself.
I can think of no better analogy to the current situation than the following:
And yes, they're dickless.
And my contemporary re-write of the scene would go like this:
Nancy Pelosi: Senator! Senator! I tried to stop him. He says they won control of the House using gerrymandering!
Senator Reid: Excuse me, this is the United States Congress. Not the playground. Or an Ayn Rand book club meeting.
Tea Party: Shut this government down. And take us over the debt limt.
Reid: I'm warning you. Playing with the full faith and credit of the United States would be extremely hazardous.
Tea Party: I'll tell you what's hazardous -- Obamacare is killing jobs and free phones are exploding our national debt and also Benghazi. Now either you shut this government down and let the debt limit expire or we'll do it for you.
Reid: Try to understand: if the U.S. defaults on it's obligations the value of Treasury bonds and the dollar would nosedive. Stock markets around the world would plunge.
Not raising the debt limit isn't something we should even be talking about. Simply defaulting on purpose would be like dropping a bomb on the world economy.
Tea Party: Don't tread on us! We're not grotesquely stupid -- like Rachel Madcow and her communist MSNBC buddies!
Obama: At ease, my fellow Americans. I'm President Obama and I'm always the adult in the room. I think there's just been a slight misunderstanding and I want to cooperate in any way that I can.
Tea Party: Forget it, Obama. You had your chance to repeal your signature achievement in exchange for nothing, but you thought it would be more fun to give 30 million people healthcare. Well now it's our turn, wiseass.
Reid: They want to shut down the government, Mr. President. And default on the debt limit.
Obama: You shut that thing down, and Democrats are not gonna be held responsible for whatever happens. Let me be clear: we won't be.
Tea Party: Shut it down!
Obama: Don't shut it down. I'm warning you.
John Boehner: I-I really don't know much about this stuff, and I know I don't really speak for any particular constituency here, but it's just that I don't --
Tea Party: We're not interested in your opinion, loser. Just shut it down.
Obama: My friend, don't be a jerk.
Voters: WTF you guys! We don't really understand this and Chuck Todd won't explain it to us but something is seriously fucked up!
Tea Party: Good point! If you don't like the President, we can always impeach him.
Voters: Ok whoa. Just shutup and fix this mess, morons.
Obama: Thank you.
Tea Party: Shut it down!
Ted Cruz: [sniffing the wall, confused]
[government shutdown begins, agencies operating on skeleton crews, workers furloughed, safety net programs on-hold, parks closed, veterans benefits delayed]
Reid: Look out!
[default approaches, Wall Street panics, world economy collapses, dogs and cats living together, mass hysteria]
Tea Party: Hold it! We want these Democrats kicked out of office! My fellow Americans, these elected Democrats enacted Obamacare, shut down the government and allowed the nation to default on its obligations by refusing to negotiate with us, and this economic disaster is a direct result of it!
Reid: Your mother!
[pushing and shoving while world burns.... and.... scene]
As an aside: in "casting" the scene and trying to decide what GOP lawmaker should represent Walter Peck the antagonist, it occurred to me just how headless this movement really is. You could pick any range of Tea Party types who have spoken out in total ignorance on the subject in recent weeks, but it's impossible to identify a leader. That as much as anything crystallizes the challenge President Obama faces -- there's no actual person he could negotiate with, even if he wanted to (and thank God he's sticking to his guns and doesn't).
In 2012 there were three things you wanted to win: 1) the White House, 2) the Senate, and 3) the House. And hey, you won one of them! One out of three ain't bad!
This does not mean that one third of your policy ideas are automatically going to be enacted.
That's just not how it works. Shitty, I know. But true.
Winning enough (gerrymandered) House districts to control the chamber is never going to mean we enact the laws that chamber passes.
Your control of one house of Congress is never going to show up in the history books in the form of tea party-inspired legislation shaping the future course of the nation.
Your policy priorities? They're not going to be followed.
Do you understand?
Put aside whether your ideas are actually good or bad. Put aside the discussion of tactics. Let others debate whether your nihilistic approach hurts the country, or just your party [although SPOILER ALERT: both!]. Put aside the substance. Ignore for the moment whether Obamacare will actually help anyone, or what would be better, or the entire concept of the debt limit or the CR process or any of the rest of it.
And just realize:
Controlling one house of Congress is not going to get your ideas onto the books.
We don't owe you anything. The President doesn't owe you anything. Running the country in divided government doesn't mean you sit in a circle and President Obama suggests gun control and then Harry Reid suggests immigration reform and then John Boehner suggests mandatory vaginal ultrasounds for everyone and then everyone shakes hands and smiles and we enact all of it because Fairness.
Repeal the ACA as many times as you like. You're owed precisely nothing.
I think it's important that you have this epiphany sooner rather than later.
While Boehner squawks about a House mandate for his proven-to-be-devastating policies, the people, in contrast, speaking thru the elections, provided a mandate for Obama and his vision for America. ...
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