Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Elections are not victories, but opportunities

In order to put last night's elections in perspective, let's look at some history.
In 1946 large Republican majorities were sent to both houses of Congress in the off-year elections, ending the long-time Democratic dominance.
In 1948 the Democrats won a 93-seat majority in the House and a 12-seat edge in the Senate.
Against all the predictions, Harry Truman, who had assumed the reigns of the presidency when FDR died, was elected over Thomas Dewey of New York.  That is when the Chicago Tribune came out with its most embarassing headline ever.
In 1952, with the election of Republican Dwight D. Eisenhower, the Republicans again took over both houses of Congress, though by closer margins.
In 1954, topsy-turvy again. The Democrats picked up 19 seats in the House and Sam Rayburn took over as speaker. In the Senate they gained just 2 seats, but enough to give them a majority. Lyndon B. Johnson became Majority Leader.
In 1960, the Democrats still were still in both houses. John F. Kennedy was elected President and Lyndon B. Johnson Vice-President.
By 1964, President Kennedy had been assassinated and LBJ was President. The Democrats still retained both houses of congress.
In 1968 Richard Nixon was elected, but the Democrats still controlled congress.
In 1974 Gerald Ford assumed the presidency on the resignation of Richard Nixon.
In 1976 Jimmy Carter defeated Ford.
In 1980 Ronald Reagan was elected President, and the Republicans gained control of the Senate, while the Democrats retained control of the House.
In 1986, during Reagan’s 2nd term, the Democrats once again gained control of the Senate and retained their control of the House.
In 1988 George H. W. Bush was elected to the presidency, but the Democrats still held control of congress.
In 1992 the Democrats once again won the White House, and once again held both houses of Congress.
In 1994, campaigning on Newt Gingrich’s Contract for America, the Republicans gained 54 seats and took over the House of Representatives for the first time in 40 years. They also re-took the Senate.
In 2000 George W. Bush was elected and the Republicans held on to both houses of congress.
Bush was re-elected in 2004 and retained and again the Republicans held on to both houses.
In 2006 the House went Democratic and Nancy Pelosi became Speaker. The Senate was technically a tie, but Bernie Sanders and Joe Liebermann decided to caucus with the Democrats, giving Democrats a majority.
In 2008 Barack Obama was elected President and the Democrats gained seats in both houses of congress to give them a solid majority.
And now, it’s 2010. The Republicans have taken back the House of Representatives, and the Democrats retained the Senate.
A Democrat is still president.
It is a victory of sorts, but not the major ‘revolution’ that is being touted by some.
It is an opportunity. True victory does not come from the election, but from what is done in the years after the election.
Both parties now have a 2 year window in which to show their stuff and to convince the people that they are the ones to vote for in 2012.


  1. Well, the "revolutionary" part is probably due to the very lofty rhetoric from the '08 elections, Obama's campaign, and the turn-out. Based on that, you'd think the D's would have retained power for quite some time.

    From that context, a fairly abrupt about-face in 2 years is something to be marveled.

    You are right though - historical perspective always helps. :)

  2. Maybe I'm just too cynical. I don't have faith in either the D's or the R's. The record of both is pretty lousy.

  3. ------------
    I don't have faith in either the INCUMBENT D's or the INCUMBENT R's.

    There - fixed that for ya. :)

  4. No wonder you're a good IT guy!

  5. You. Are. Awesome. Jim

    Well said. =)

  6. Thank you Mr. A. Wilson, as always.

  7. Reagan's situation was a little different in that he had the bowl weevils on his side, and he was pushing a popular agenda (tax cuts).

    I don't look for anything at all to happen the next two years. Outside of extending the tax cuts, and trying to repeal parts of Obamacare, the House Republicans won't be able to do much.

    The Senate might filibuster some bad judges, but that's about it.

    I do trust some incumbents. They're not all rotten...but it seems that most of them get that way eventually.

  8. "I don't look for anything at all to happen the next two years"

    That's a good thing.

  9. A VERY good thing, indeed.

  10. The stock market loves gridlock. I love gridlock. When there's gridlock, it's like having Congress in recess.
    Gridlock is something that means steadiness and certainty.

  11. The Blue AnonymousNovember 4, 2010 at 7:44 PM


  12. O yeah, we don't have any problems that need to be worked out. With everything going so well for the past 10 years, gridlock is what we need to keep the goodtimes rolling.

  13. Anon @ 11:29,

    Let's keept the good times rolling? Where inhell have you been for the past four years, especially during the past two?
    Granted TARP was started under G.W. Bush, but Obama and the libs picked up the ball and not only run deep into the endzone with it, they ran completely out of the stadium.
    I suppose you are enjoying the fact that the Democrats had loaded up the bus with every off-the-wall social liberal agenda (including Obamacare which is certain to destroy the budgets of every state), the take over of banks (including who does or doesn't get college student loans), the take over of the auto industry and regulate others out of business, and in Obama's own word to bankrupt the coal industry and basically other energy indusrties, push the accelerator and drive the whole damned thing over the bus.
    It still may happen, but with gridlock it won't be as fast. Yes I like gridlock. It forces those idiots in government to think before acting.


  14. I meant to say drive the bus over the cliff. Dang I hate typing on a black berry.

  15. I agree G.R. - gridlock is our best friend.


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