The rise of the Tea Party generated high Republican turnout in the US Midterm elections [Gallo/Getty]
Two years ago, a post-Bush Republican Party that couldn't find itself on Google Maps was thoroughly thrashed for the second time in as many elections. The GOP had lost over 50 House seats over two election cycles, scores of state legislative chambers, governorships, US Senate seats, and the presidency to a guy named Barack Hussein Obama.
The latter, something most observers thought wouldn't happen in the United States until some time between the next arrival of Haley's Comet and when Kevin Costner evolves into a fish-humanoid hybrid to live on an Earth covered by H20.
It's amazing what can happen, however, when you have a Democratic president who doesn't live up to many of his core progressive promises, who blames his base for asking him to, and whose communications people, to quote Democratic National Committeeman and CNN Contributor Robert Zimmerman, "... couldn't sell cocaine to Charlie Sheen."
The results were on display this past Tuesday, when an American public tired of being unemployed, scared about their future, and looking for some kind of leadership, handed over the US House -- in stunning fashion -- to a coterie of cranks who have to put corks on the end of their forks not to jab their own eyes while eating. Think Steve Martin's Ruprecht from Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, and you get the basic picture of some of the Tea Party proxies we elected to Congress last week.
Perhaps my sentiments regarding the newest US House members were best put into words by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. While in China this past week, he had this to say about who we're sending to Washington to represent us, "If you look at the US, you look at who we're electing to Congress, to the Senate -- they can't read ... I'll bet you a bunch of these people don't have passports ... nobody knows where China is. Nobody knows what China is."
Yet, even if this makes it frightening to be an American right now, it sure is going to be fun to be a columnist over the next two years. What better material can one find than our elected representatives advocating for everything from banning fluorinated water to government funding for the National Rifle Association to train domesticated animals to protect themselves. It's like the golden age of the Know Nothing Party is happening 160 years after it disappeared. What history lover can't get into that?
Speaking of those who know nothing, the battle is raging over what went wrong for the Democrats right now, i.e., how did these nincompoops win control of the House? The short version: It was either liberals, for moving the party all-the-way left to the centre-right. Or it was the Blue Dog Democrats, who lost half their corporatised caucus last Tuesday, as voters who had been casting their ballots for a Republican with a D next to their name in previous years came to the bizarre conclusion that they might as well just go full-on R. Given these choices, I think I'll go with Option B.
It seems fairly obvious -- at least to me -- that when economists like Paul Krugman and Joseph Stiglitz (you know, Nobel Prize winners) say we need a huge stimulus, the President joins the oh-so fiscally concerned Blue Dogs in pushing a much smaller one (while turning over a third of it into near-useless tax cuts), and jobs do not materialise for an American public strangely obsessed with possessing a source of income, well, some people might be a bit pissed off at those in power. In fact, this is an easy conclusion to come to anywhere outside of Democratic chop shops like the group Third Way, who need multivariate analysis and venn diagrams to discover that, indeed, the nose is on the front of the face.
All that's left now is the swearing in of our new class, which should come in January, assuming there's not a Walker, Texas Ranger marathon on TBS. And who knows what trouble and hijinks these new Congress People have in store for us after that!
So it goes.