I'm not stunned by the results of the US midterm elections. They were all too predictable. Voters were wildly indignant about nearly everything, so they retaliated by sending the people who caused most of the trouble in the first place back into power in the House of Representatives and nearly in the Senate as well.
Now me, I'm socially progressive (human rights are good), a believer in fiscal responsibility (pay your bills), and ultimately pragmatic (do what works). I'm not sure if there is anyone in Congress (or Parliament for that matter) who thinks the way I do, or rather who puts such principles into practice. But we take what we can get.
I'm going to look for the silver lining:
In Massachusetts, my state of last residence, Deval Patrick was reelected governor. And my congressperson was never in any danger of losing the seat. Massachusetts voters returns all 10 Democratic congresspeople to the House.
The Democrats retained control of the Senate, barely. At this time, three Senate races have yet to be settled. One of those is in the neighbouring state of Washington, where Patty Murray (D) has a tiny lead over Dino Rossi (R).
In California, Barbara Boxer retained her Senate seat, defeating former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, who I imagine outspent Boxer by a wide margin. In Nevada, Harry Reid defeated Tea Party candidate Sharron Angle, while in Delaware Chris Coons defeated another infamous Tea Partier, Christine O'Donnell.
Also in California, Jerry Brown defeated another huge spender, Meg Whitman, in one of only two gains by the Democrats in gubernatorial races (the other is Hawaii). Even though I'm no big fan of Jerry Brown, it's nice to see that you can't actually buy an election. And in Rhode Island, an independent was elected governor. I don't know if that's good or bad. I don't think Lincoln Chafee is a former professional wrestler like Jesse Ventura was, so I imagine he won't be nearly as entertaining.
Nancy Pelosi retained her House seat in California's Eighth District, but of course she will no longer be Speaker of the House. The result in the House is too depressing for a post looking for silver linings. I see none there.
I'm not usually a doomsayer. Sometimes results that look great turn out disappointing in practice (I think we've seen that already). Sometimes results that look horrifyingly bad turn out not to be as terrible as feared. But I can't imagine this Congress will be any champion of human rights. I can't imagine progressive legislation coming out of there. And despite the whining from Tea Partiers and other about spending, the next Congress is likely to leave the Bush tax cuts in place. Even Harry Reid said so. Way to be fiscally responsible, folks!
No pill for this morning after. If the regressives have their way, probably not for the other either.