Maybe Dems Do Get It
The recent Democratic victory in the mid-term elections in which they gained majorities in both the House and the Senate are certainly a lot less about giddy voter satisfaction with Democratic policy than dissatisfaction with the Bush Administration, the war in Iraq, and the widespread corruption in the Republican party that seems predictable whichever party is in power for too long. Of course, this is about as revelatory as writing that there's an ocean east of Maine.
The victory alone means almost nothing. For one thing, most of the so-called Democratic victors look a lot more like Republicans than traditional Democrats. Those Republicans displaying apocalyptic disappointment and taking comfort in their Tim LaHaye books are most likely right-wing, ultra-religious fascists. It's not like Republican's core values were suddenly jettisoned into space by America.
In several cases, Democratic victories were achieved by supporting gun rights, opposing abortion, and advocating fiscal discipline. Traditionally, these are Republican selling points. Democrats did to Republicans what good Jiu-Jitsu fighters do to their victims - they took their opponent's strength and beat them with it. In ultimate fighting, they call it "ground and pound". If an image of Howard Dean straddling a supine Karl Rove and punching him endlessly in the face serves to better convey that image, then so be it.
All this would appear to give Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid every reason to march in front of the cameras following the victory and announce to the Bush administration and America that they were going to march throngs of naked homosexuals into Congress, let them have an orgy, all while forming investigative committees to put every member of the Bush administration in jail while moving forward on impeachment proceedings against the President himself.
Instead, they did something surprising, which may indicate that they finally understand a little bit more about politics than they used to. They talked about working with the Bush administration and the Republicans. They talked about bi-partisanship. They talked about common ground. Even if it isn't true, it's still a good thing to say.
As much as Democrats may want to believe they've been given a mandate, they have not, not by a country mile (of course, this didn't stop Bush from going berserk after 2000 and 2004 with his "mandate"). The country is evenly divided between right-wing whack jobs and left-wing nut bags and in the middle are people who'd just like to have government operate efficiently and fairly. That middle is huge. By and large, that middle would like to see government stay out of the affairs of most folks when it can. That middle may support abortion rights or not, but they don't want abortion outlawed. They don't really care whether somebody owns a gun or not as long as they register the thing, know how to use it, and keep their own children from shooting themselves. They'd like the government to be responsible with money. They think education and health care are important.
Again, this is not news. What's relieving is that Democrats haven't been screaming like orgasmic pigs. Somebody has read the climate properly (and whoever that is should be running for office him or herself). Now, if they can just convince boobs like John Kerry to shut the hell up (and not run for President) and keep their party leaders toeing a centrist, realistic line, they might actually be able to capture the Presidency in 2008.
The next miracle will be if Democrats can avoid shooting themselves in the collective foot over the next two years. Since such things have practically become party policy, the odds seem long.