Take a deep breath. Despite the breathless election media coverage and a gloating prediction by U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe, Democrats still retain control of the presidency and the Senate.
What this means is more partisan gridlock in Washington, but it doesn’t mean Republicans, who gained control of the House, will be able to advance much of their agenda, especially the extreme ideas of the Tea Party-inspired elected candidates. President Barack Obama will use his veto power if he has to and not much will move through the Senate because of obstructionism. The GOP doesn’t have enough votes to repeal the recent health care legislation.
Republicans don’t have the clear mandate the corporate media reminded us about hour-by-hour on election night with unrealistic analysis and cartoonish gravitas. Here are the facts: The country is divided. The economy is bad right now. Midterm elections normally tilt to the party who doesn’t hold the presidency. The previous three sentences in this paragraph don’t make for good television, but then the truth often doesn’t make for a good sound bite.
Meanwhile, it’s not much for Oklahoma Democrats, who were politically slaughtered Tuesday in statewide elections, but Inhofe was proven wrong once again. He had predicted before the election that the GOP would sweep the Senate and that he would regain the leadership of the Committee on Environment and Public Works.
In an interview with The New York Times, Inhofe said he was going to stop “wasting time” on global warming hearings when he got back his leadership position.
In another side note to the election, Sharron Angle, the extremist Tea Party candidate who ran against U.S. Sen. Harry Reid, was soundly defeated. U.S. Tom Coburn, if you remember, was one of those people Angle said was “right there” for her. Again, it’s not much for Oklahoma Democrats, but it’s always good news when a Coburn-backed candidate goes down in defeat.
Meanwhile, in what Andrew Leonard calls “perverse, twisted irony,” some good economic news was released a day after the election. Leonard writes:
… But it would be funny, in a soul-destroying, joy-crushing kind of way, if the U.S. economy finally started to get off the sickbed just when voters ruthlessly punished Democrats for failing to revive the patient.
The economic recovery will take more time, but Democrats could be positioned well for the 2012 elections. Sure, we’re going to have to listen to Republicans gloat and falsely claim they have a huge mandate to fight “big government,” but, on the national level, the next two years are going to be safe for Democrats as they recalculate.