It’s 1:40 am, and I have just finished election night. The Republicans have gained 60 more seats than they last had in the House of Representatives and six in the US Senate.
A new era has begun. John Boehner and Eric Cantor have gone from eccentric fringe to near monarchs over night. Obama will no doubt try and reach across the aisle (again) at 2 pm Eastern and then will be heading out of town to do some distraction-designed globe-trotting, at least for him if not for the country.
Some commentators are correct that it could have been worse — and that Dems beat expectations. Now, that is spin! The Dems keep the Senate and aren’t vulnerable to a flip in control if Senators Joe Lieberman and Ben Nelson designed to come out of the closet as the Republicans they seem to want to be.
But the Tea Party’s insurgency — while it mattered and put some Red Bull in the Republican get out the vote efforts — was limited. Angle did not beat Harry Reid. (Sending Schumer some anti-depressants!). Christine O’Donnell took her expected fall against Chris Coons in Delaware. Politico‘s Patrick Gavin asked me if she’d have a lot of TV contracts offered today — and I responded that AMC Channel has a new series called “The Walking Dead“. That might work.
Quick highlights — as I said, Harry Reid squeaked by. Senator John Kerry exclaimed last night that Politico and HuffPost were wrong on Reid. Kerry’s words:
“Politico was wrong, Huffington Post was wrong, hell, all the pundits were wrong.
Harry Reid isn’t just Dracula, he isn’t just Lazarus, he’s our leader, and our whole caucus is just thrilled that he’s unbreakable and unbeatable.”
OK. Moving on.
Jerry Brown is back in as Governor of California. His dad was Governor, his sister California State Treasurer, and of course he was Governor decades ago. The only thing that happened last night that may be good for gay rights. Boxer won. Some high profile lefties in House, including Alan Grayson and Tom Perriello lost. Dozens of blue dog Dems lost in House. Ike Skelton, the Democrats chief anti-gay military hawk, is gone. Bye bye Ike.
Former Republican turned Independent Lincoln Chafee won the Rhode island governorship. In a meeting I hosted with him, he once called Sarah Palin a “cocky whako.”
Cuban-American Marco Rubio won Florida — and many already see him as a White House contender some day. Sestak lost in Pennsylvania. The witch lady lost in Delaware.
I predicted 53 wins in the House…so was off in my analysis just a bit. In the Senate, West Virginia stays Democrat. Russ Feingold’s loss in Wisconsin is a big loss. The nation lost part of its conscience last night — and Ron Johnson, businessman or not, often sounds to me like he doesn’t understand how checks and balances in our system work.
Marijuana stays illegal.
A last note to a few friends. I watched a number of races very closely as I saw young people working their tails off to get into representative politics. I’ve never seen people work harder and scramble more than Judd Legum, Andrei Cherny, and Tommy Sowers.
Legum is the brilliant founder of Think Progress at the Center for American Progress and a former research chief for Hillary Clinton who didn’t quite make it in his quest to become a Maryland State Delegate in the 30th District. Running as a Dem in Arizona but having former Republican Congressman Jim Kolbe as his campaign chair, Andrei Cherny didn’t win his State Treasurer race. Lastly, Tommy Sowers — an Iraq War veteran and critic of the Afghanistan War who taught new media and politics at West Point and had a campaign-friendly dog travel with him throughout Missouri’s 8th District, couldn’t beat back the red tide.
Whether Republican or Democrat, there are hard-working young people working to break their way in, and most lose trying, particularly on the first round — but I salute all of them in addition to these three guys.
On a personal note, I am happy that Republican Jeff Flake won in Arizona. I chatted with Dick Armey last night about the Pacific Island-loving, hunky Congressman — and we may try another push getting him on the House Appropriations Committee. Flake is one of the sensible Members who believes that the American right to travel is a human right and that the government ought not to interfere as it has in blocking travel to Cuba.
— Steve Clemons