Better people than me are analyzing what happened last night, and I won’t try to compete with them, but I do have a few thoughts. My biggest regret is that Nancy Pelosi, who has been 100 times better at being speaker of the House than Harry Reid has been at being majority leader, will lose her position and Reid will keep his. I thought Reid’s opponent, Sharron Angle, was a nutcase, but he really didn’t deserve to retain his seat. The House passed bills left and right that the Senate never took up because of filibuster rules. I was shocked when I found out the exact number: Senate sitting on 420 bills passed by House. Pelosi is a great role model for girls and women interested in politics, and I will be sad to see her step down.
The New York Times has a great editorial that reads in part:
Mr. Obama, and his party, have to do a far better job of explaining their vision and their policies. Mr. Obama needs to break his habits of neglecting his base voters and of sitting on the sidelines and allowing others to shape the debate. He needs to do a much better job of stiffening the spines of his own party’s leaders.
He has made it far too easy for his opponents to spin and distort what Americans should see as genuine progress in very tough times: a historic health care reform, a stimulus that headed off an even deeper recession, financial reform to avoid another meltdown.
I’m not sure I’d go so far as to say the Democrats deserved to lose, but they are perennially terrible at communicating their message and how their policies benefit their constituents.
My last thought is more of a challenge. If you are represented by a Republican who ran a campaign on reducing the deficit and reining in spending, HOLD HIM/HER ACCOUNTABLE. Demand a proposal presented in writing, and if your representative doesn’t follow through, voice your displeasure. Don’t let them get away with claims that Republicans are so much better for the economy, and then let them sit on their hands for the next two years. While they were campaigning, not a single one of them could articulate what exactly they would cut from the budget. That won’t wash now that they’re in office. In the words of the late, great Molly Ivins, “Raise hell.”