First of all, I don't see this as a mandate, I see this as an absolute repudiation of the child-like behavior of this Congress. Pelosi & Co. didn't have to represent a really good hand to take this electoral pot, they just had to beat the awful hand the Republicans were bluffing on. I mean, Georgia beats Florida every once in a while, its doing it two times in a row that seems to be the kicker. But enough analogies, I see these elections as a distinct victory in the War Against Ass Clownery, but the Democrats are going to have to prove in big ways that they aren't the same neandertals they just unseated.
I think they will, considering I thought this was one of the worst Congresses. Ever. They left a pretty low bar to jump over to gain control.
Thing is, I don't think America will be satisfied, in two years, of just being better than the other guy. Maybe they will, two years is a long time electorally speaking.
What I found more interesting was this news. It may be buried in all the huffing and puffing going on the airwaves today (you talk show callers stay classy in defeat, y'hear?), but South Dakota rejecting the Roe v Wade challenge law, Missouri's Stem Cell research referendum, and traditionally libertarian/conservative Arizona's defeat of a gay-marriage ban are some of the most important referendum level voting guages I've seen in a while.
That for me was the heart stopper. You don't get more Middle America than Missouri, and though the margin was tiny, that demonstrates how even conservative, family based, middle class Americans are willing to support medical science in the face of a blistering culture war battle. Arizona's result should have been expected from the 'outta my wallet and my bedroom' West. Thanks, Wildcats, for remaining ideologically consistent yet again. But wholesome, dyed in the wool Republican, wind swept American prairie South Dakota rejecting - in direct democracy fashion - the ban on reproductive choice?
I almost fell out of my chair.
I think the winds of change that affected these referenda, and played into the national debate, is the most important aspect, politically speaking, of yesterday's election. First and foremost, the culture war backlash may be beginning, as voters grow weary of being told they are under constant assault. Think about it, one of the mainstays and most effective tools of the Republican Party Machine over the last 20 years has been the "values under attack" frame that they hit constantly and reliably, reaching crescendo in 2004. But you can only cry wolf so many times, and end up doing nothing about it, and expect the gambit to be effective. I also think that there is a growing part of the middle class that will begin to tire of feeling under cultural assault all the time - the assault as described by Republicans and talk show shills and their most ardent and obnoxious base supporters - before the broken record starts to be overplayed.
They may also be losing their fire because they're running into real liberals (like me) at work and play and while watching Georgia games at the bar, and we're eating red beans and rice as a side to our medium rare steak, drinking Abita or Sweetwater while watching the game on TV, and we're volunteering to work for Catholic School fundraisers. They see these things, and then they hear from the talking head in a shrill voice, with a psychotic lilt, that godless liberals (like me?) will encourage terrorist takeover, pre-natal genocide, and bring a gay dance hall to their town. I think folks are hearing that nonsense more and more these days, and I think folks are calling "bulls**t."
They'd rather hang with us and discuss Sean Payton's probable elevation to Coach of the Year, than keep listening to 'how under attack' they are all the time. Because football is fun, being under attack all the time sucks.
But anyway, that's what I got out of it. Maybe I'm reading waay to much into it, though.