Anyone who expects a nice, quiet run-up to the 2012 election, with lots of civility, good manners and prim refinement can forget about it. President Obama thinks nobody is really mad about what he’s done, they just want a little soothing syrup on it. He promises better speeches to describe the same old soggy dish the dogs won’t touch.
This is the “no change” and “more of the same” the Democrats on the left — just about the only Democrats remaining — heartily embrace. Daily Kos, the blog that affects to speak for the George Soros wingnuts on the left, echoes the president’s sentiments, and concludes that it was the Grand Old Party that the wave of Nov. 2 left in ruins and rubble. Talk about a man with imagination.
“Democrats didn’t lose because Republicans are suddenly popular, or people embrace their agenda,” he says. “Democrats lost because people are angry and desperate and flailing and had to punish someone for the nation’s economic woes. There’s little there for the GOP to build on.” Mr. Kos, whose mother knows him as Markos Moulitsas Zuniga, celebrates the ethnic cleansing that all but banished white Southerners and Blue Dogs from the party. “It’s hard to argue that the Dems should move [to the] right … we can focus on the important thing, and that’s beating back [John] Boehner … and the crazed teabaggers that have taken over the GOP.”
His first order of business would be to bring back Howard Dean, not necessarily kicking but surely screaming, to run the Democratic National Committee and plot comeback strategy for 2012. Harry Reid would continue as Mr. Obama’s go-fer and Nancy Pelosi would be the gift that keeps on giving.
The party that for more than a century relied on the yellow dogs — white Southerners who would vote for a yellow dog before casting a vote for a Republican — has thrown nearly all of them on the street. Of 105 seats in a wide arc stretching from the Potomac to Texas, only 16 white Democrats will be seated in the new House of Representatives in January. Such faithful Democrats as Gene Taylor of Mississippi (10 terms), John M. Spratt J. of South Carolina (14 terms), and Rick Boucher of Virginia (14 terms) were washed into the sea of voter forgetfulness. This continues the party’s decline of fortunes, which began nearly a half-century ago. Not so long ago, the Solid South, solid from the Potomac to the Gulf and on to the Rio Grande, was the enabler of Democratic Election Day dreams. The voters in these states made FDR and the New Deal possible. The Republican surge was felt everywhere, but never more acutely than in the races for state legislatures. Without the glitz and glamour of winners of races for the U.S. House, the U.S. Senate and the governorships, these are winners who will work closest to their neighbors, the voters.
Republicans took 18 state House and Senate chambers away from Democrats. In all, Republicans gained a net of 680 seats in state legislatures, getting control of House and Senate chambers in states from New England to Montana. “The Republicans really swamped the Democrats,” says an analyst for the bipartisan National Conference of State Legislatures. “That puts the Republicans in the best position to control redistricting since modern [methods of] remapping began in the 1970s.”
Ed Gillespie, chairman of the Republican State Leadership Committee, reckons this advantage might enable his party to take an additional 15 to 25 seats from the Democrats two years hence. In most states, the congressional districts are drawn under the supervision of the governor, but not all. California, where Governor Moonbeam terminates the Terminator’s administration, a new citizens panel, established by a referendum on Nov. 2, will draw the new districts. Even in California, lately among the most reliable of the blue states, voters don’t trust politicians any more than they must.
Since nothing is permanent except death, the permanent demise of the Democrats is something only party hacks on the other side waste time wishing for. But the lesson of Nov. 2 is that there can’t be a resurrection until Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi are dispatched to luxury suites at the Harold Stassen Memorial Home for the Undead. Democratic members who fell on their swords on Nov. 2 will be angry for a long time about how Mzz Pelosi forced them to vote for the cockeyed legislation of a government run amok. It’s a cultural thing. The Democrats on the left just don’t get it.
• Wesley Pruden is editor emeritus of The Washington Times.