He pretty much sums it up. (Emphasis mine)
Let us dispense with some conventional wisdom before it petrifies. First of all, the president’s basic unpopularity was unquestionably a factor, but not anywhere near as much of a factor as was the reluctance of the Democratic party — from the president on down — to embrace the actual successes that the administration has achieved. The economy is, in fact, improving. It is the responsibility of the president and his party that we have the paradoxical polling that indicates that the elements of the Affordable Care Act are popular, while “Obamacare” is not. (Mitch McConnell told a transparent lie that Kentucky could get rid of the ACA and still keep its very popular state exchange. He didn’t suffer at all for that.) The senatorial candidates who lost were senators who ran away from the administration. Alison Lundergan Grimes wouldn’t say if she’d voted for the president. Kay Hagan endorsed the Keystone XL pipeline. Michelle Nunn practically ran as an independent. How much worse could it possibly have been for all of them had they stood by the president and his record? How much worse could it possibly have been for them had the president come to campaign for them?
Second, it was a great night for voter-suppression, which has been central to the Republican response to the fact that the president has been elected twice. Kris Kobach, the architect of the strategy, was re-elected as Secretary of State in Kansas, and Jon Husted won the same office in Ohio, over Democratic candidate Nina Turner, on an election that was a referendum on Husted’s voter-suppression tactics in that state. Thom Tillis, who piloted North Carolina’s incredibly stringent voter-suppression law through the state legislature, is going to the Senate, and Scott Walker, who oversaw the same kind of effort in Wisconsin, is going back to his day job, running the state into the ground and dodging subpoenas, until it’s time for him to run for president. It’s going to take days to sort out the overall effect of these laws on the general electorate, even if anyone cares to do so, which I’ve come to doubt, because the Supreme Court created a new normal when John Roberts gutted the Voting Rights Act and declared the day of jubilee, and the people in the country who are not those inconvenienced by these laws, and who are not those against whose franchise these laws were directly aimed, seem perfectly content with this situation.
Last, and I hate to break this to Tom Brokaw, and to Kasie Hunt, who talked about how the Republicans know they have to “govern,” but this election couldn’t have been less of a repudiation of the Tea Party. As the cable shows signed off last night, it was dawning even on the most conventional pundits that the Republicans had not elected an escadrille of Republican archangels to descend upon Capitol Hill. It was more like a murder of angry crows. Joni Ernst is not a moderate. David Perdue is not a moderate. Thom Tillis is not a moderate. Cory Gardner — who spiced up his victory by calling himself “the tip of the spear” — is not a moderate. Tom Cotton is not a moderate. And these were the people who flipped the Senate to the Republicans. In the reliably Republican states, Ben Sasse in Nebraska is not a moderate. James Lankford in Oklahoma is not a moderate. He’s a red-haired fanatic who believes that welfare causes school shootings. Several of these people — most notably, Sasse and Ernst — won Republican primaries specifically as Tea Partiers, defeating establishment candidates. The Republicans did not defeat the Tea Party. The Tea Party’s ideas animated what happened on Tuesday night. What the Republicans managed to do was to teach the Tea Party to wear shoes, mind its language, and use the proper knife while amputating the social safety net. They did nothing except send the Tea Party to finishing school.
Should I give this blog CPR and bring it back to life? My photoblog is doing well, and I’m hanging out my shingle to make some money from the black box.
But . . .
I may want to mull some things over again. And this feels like the right place to do it. Or maybe I retire this one and start completely fresh.
Those few of you still hanging on, what do you think?
Nina in my lap
Doesn’t know it’s time for work
I hate to wake her