Aftermath: GOP on double secret probation

posted at 9:30 am on November 3, 2010 by Ed Morrissey

What do we call an election that surpasses 1994 and falls short of 1894 for Republicans?  Probation.  John Boehner struck the right chord in his victory speech last night in acknowledging that the GOP shouldn’t celebrate because of the bleak environment, but also because the GOP hasn’t yet earned trust after its spending and government-expanding binge from 2001-6.  Voters recognized an unvarnished truth in the midterm elections last night, which is that while Republicans did a poor job in that period, Democrats turned out to be much, much worse.

HOUSE: The Republican wave in the House turned out to be potent indeed, but not as potent as some of the final polling indicated [see update].  Republicans gained at least 60 seats last night in a rout, with 13 seats still left to be decided and at least a couple more pickups on hand.  We’ll get the final tally by late today, but the Democratic losses are plain to see.  Gone are such longterm stalwarts as Ike Skelton in Missouri, the powerful chair of the Armed Services Committee, Jim Oberstar, as well as a raft of Blue Dogs like Walt Minnick, Gene Taylor, and others.  Dan Boren won in Oklahoma mainly because he voted Republican on all the major issues in Congress last year.  Democrats lost the center of the country last night, with enclaves in the Upper Midwest and the Four Corners.  The Rust Belt turned deep red.  Geographically, the Democratic caucus has become a coastal phenomenon.

That doesn’t presage a movement towards compromise.  The Republicans who got elected will justifiably feel they have a mandate for fiscal restraint and smaller-government policies.   They will, however, face a more unified Democratic caucus that just lost almost all of its moderate wing.  In fact, having survived the Teanami, those remaining will probably feel even more secure in their position and less likely to compromise.  Expect grand battles of policy in the next House, with Republicans having the votes to make their mandate stick.

SENATE: Here the situation is murkier.  As of this morning, the GOP has picked up six seats, a good result in any year, but perhaps a little underwhelming given the size of the wave in the House.  They could get two more in Washington and Colorado, where they currently trail by just a handful of votes.  Their successes came entirely in the middle of the country with the exception of Pennsylvania, where Pat Toomey barely won an open seat from Joe Sestak.  Republicans failed to score victories over two of their biggest targets, Harry Reid and Barbara Boxer, the former of which appeared ripe for defeat.

In the next session of Congress, this Senate will not produce much that doesn’t carry significant bipartisan support.   Republicans can now easily block legislation like cap-and-trade and Card Check, and those items won’t even make a serious appearance on the agenda as a result.  Republicans have one significant edge in the next two years, which is the 2012 election and the large number of Democrats who have to defend their seats.  A number of them won seats on platforms of fiscal responsibility, and they have the next two years to build some bona fides on those issues before running into a buzzsaw like last night’s wave if they fail.  The GOP won’t officially control the agenda, but with Democrats like Jon Tester, Ben Nelson, Kent Conrad, and Mark Pryor looking over their shoulders, they may have more strength on fiscal restraint and smaller government than one might think.

Update: Some people believe I’m a little too dour on the House results, and they have a point; I didn’t really underscore enough what an enormous victory this was for Republicans.   It’s the biggest one-cycle swing in the House for decades — and given the protection given incumbents these days through gerrymandering, I’m not sure that the GOP could have won more in one election anyway.  More on that later.


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Morrissey: “Geographically, the Democratic caucus has become a coastal phenomenon.”

(and, in full context)“Democrats lost the center of the country last night, with enclaves in the Upper Midwest and the Four Corners. The Rust Belt turned deep red. Geographically, the Democratic caucus has become a coastal phenomenon.”

Really? How about “Republicans regained the center of the country”? Is it possible that Obama’s 2008 campaign was “the phenomenon”? I would submit that while the rest of the nation decided to “loan” the Republicans the chance to put fiscal sanity back into the process, (that Obama and Pelosi have ignored), the term “coastal phenomenon” might be a bit overstated. My point is that in fact, both the east coast and the west coast hardly changed—the liberal and powerful public employees unions still control the electoral system, and apparently the purse strings that drive the debate. It is also a fact that both coast have had a strangle-hold on districting policies, ie gerrymandered states like New York and California. That’s about to change in California with the passage of Prop 20.

Putting Ed’s complete statement in context, yes the Dem caucus has been reduced to where both the east and west coast are the remaining bastions of liberalism, but…….in retrospect, did we really expect to see the status quo change in these regions? If you look at the map of California, last night the state went solid red for both Whitman and Fiorina except for the Bay Area and LA, (the massive majority of the state’s population), sadly where liberalism is alive and well. For now.

Rovin on November 3, 2010 at 10:57 AM

What last night tells me is that we are becoming a very divided country population wise. Americans are picking sides that we will not retreat from. We are either conservative or liberal and soon there will be no middle. It’s going to get bitter and ugly as each side becomes more determined. I see us fracturing in the next decade as each faction just can’t support the other.

CCRWM on November 3, 2010 at 11:12 AM

I am surprised the Republicans did as well as they did last night given they don’t really have a plan other than, “we’re not Obama”. This is how the Dems won on 2006 and you see how that has worked out for them 4 years later.

The Republican leadership need to develop a detailed plan (like Contract with America) that is easy for Americans to understand and outlines what they will do and why they are doing it and then deliver on that plan. They need to sell the voters on the conservative philosophy. I’m not sure if Boehner is the guy to do that.

ramrants on November 3, 2010 at 11:21 AM

All spending starts in the House.

Obama cannot veto what does not get to his desk.

The 2008 budget was too big and if Obama doesn’t like that, then cut it, pass that and ask him if he would like to sign that.

Wash, rinse, repeat.

Starve the beast.

Perhaps ‘forget’ to fund the EPA and see what happens when it can’t operate and has to lay everyone off. Then the Dept. of Agriculture. Education. Energy. If Obama really doesn’t like an austerity budget then, hey! He is the guy with the VETO PEN, right? If he really doesn’t want to fund something at austerity levels, then don’t fund it AT ALL.

KISS – Keep It Simple Stupid.

ajacksonian on November 3, 2010 at 11:42 AM

There is NOTHING positive I can come up with about what Californians did. What I don’t get is how they voted for redistricting yet not marijuana? Maybe the gangs don’t want to have their stash suffer under Democrat price controls? But they just vote for suicide prices in energy along with allow a Democrat controlled state house to make whatever budget they want. They have no idea what they’ve done or they wouldn’t have done it. 10.5% ON THE BOOKS unemployment is gonna seem like a good number when they’re done over here.

Even with the positives, I’m kinda depressed today.

Sultry Beauty on November 3, 2010 at 11:44 AM

Rovin on November 3, 2010 at 10:57 AM

When the fiscally responsible states start screaming that they aren’t going to pay for the reckless spending states(CA, MI, NY, CT, WA, MD, DE), then and only then will the people understand that the feel-good legislators have screwed them in order to enrich themselves. I sincerely hope California goes pitifully and fully bankrupt next year.

belad on November 3, 2010 at 11:44 AM

I am surprised the Republicans did as well as they did last night given they don’t really have a plan other than, “we’re not Obama”.

ramrants on November 3, 2010 at 11:21 AM

*roll eyes*

Midas on November 3, 2010 at 11:47 AM

If you look at the map of California, last night the state went solid red for both Whitman and Fiorina except for the Bay Area and LA, (the massive majority of the state’s population), sadly where liberalism is alive and well. For now.

Rovin on November 3, 2010 at 10:57 AM

This was my point last night on my FB final status update before I went to bed. Basically L.A. County decided the entire race for us. SF/Oakland area counties go the same way BUT their population totals aren’t that big, honestly. L.A. should NOT be deciding everything.

Sultry Beauty on November 3, 2010 at 11:49 AM

There is NOTHING positive I can come up with about what Californians did. What I don’t get is how they voted for redistricting yet not marijuana? Maybe the gangs don’t want to have their stash suffer under Democrat price controls? But they just vote for suicide prices in energy along with allow a Democrat controlled state house to make whatever budget they want. They have no idea what they’ve done or they wouldn’t have done it. 10.5% ON THE BOOKS unemployment is gonna seem like a good number when they’re done over here.

Even with the positives, I’m kinda depressed today.

Sultry Beauty on November 3, 2010 at 11:44 AM

Yep, me too.

Reid? Boxer? Brown? And likely Murkowskeeveybeeyotch?

*shakes head in abject despair at the unmitigated stupidity of the people that voted for these politicians*

Midas on November 3, 2010 at 11:49 AM

belad on November 3, 2010 at 11:44 AM

I have been unemployed for a year and a half and live in California. Please don’t make such a pronouncement. I can’t afford for that to happen before things change.

Sultry Beauty on November 3, 2010 at 11:50 AM

It’s a great victory for conservatives last night, however they cannot rest. The republicans that won had better act like conservatives and make responsible decisions. They cannot give the democrats any ammunition for the 2012 races! We already know that the liberals can get away with a lot but the conservatives will always be held to a much higher standard.

Please please balance the budgets, reduce the size of governments, make decisions that will give the people more freedom.

CityFish on November 3, 2010 at 11:53 AM

Midas on November 3, 2010 at 11:49 AM

It is simply unbelievable to me, Midas. I don’t know what they’re smoking but, after Prop 19 failed last night, at LEAST I know it’s not marijuana.

*scratches head* How do you vote that legislatures cannot raise fees & taxes but then hand them over a simply majority? How do you vote for global warming energy cost increases of 60% but not to add $18 to VLF to improve parks? How do you vote for Boxer and Brown and not vote to smoke a doobie? Californians are schizophrenic. This election proves it.

When the California goes bankrupt you may want to buy stock in pharmaceutical companies. These folks are gonna need their meds!

Sultry Beauty on November 3, 2010 at 11:55 AM

CCRWM on November 3, 2010 at 11:12 AM

Respectfully, I see a tide of change, or in last night’s cycle, a re-affirmation that this nation is still center-right. The battle over ideologies between the left and the right is was won big-time by conservatives last night. With the exception of both Cal and NY, (who are ironically in the biggest holes financially than the rest of the nation combined), that continues to embrace the entitlement minded welfare state, sending both into unsustainable debt. Operating under the premise that it’s the government’s responsibility to provide for the welfare of the individual not only stifles the growth of free and private enterprise, it enslaves the masses who become totally dependent on their government. This liberal socialist mentality took a big step backwards last night. And for the good of the nation as a whole, this was a good thing.

Rovin on November 3, 2010 at 11:58 AM

Yeah, like its gonna be fun when you Californians come to the GOP House of Reps with your hand out, begging for a few scraps.

“But Mr. Boehner, we’re just too big to fail . . . please please please . . .”.

California is like a Meth addict in Rehab.

Tough love a comin’, baybeeeee.

BigAlSouth on November 3, 2010 at 11:59 AM

“Starve the beast”—ajacksonian on November 3, 2010 at 11:42 AM

Amen to that AJ!

Rovin on November 3, 2010 at 12:02 PM

BigAlSouth on November 3, 2010 at 11:59 AM

I’m TOTALLY for that! Californians have to be held responsible for the government they elect and the laws they pass. They need to be accountable for the costs of it ALL on their own. If Californians think they should be charging those prices then they need to step up and PAY THOSE PRICES!!

Sultry Beauty on November 3, 2010 at 12:04 PM

I am surprised the Republicans did as well as they did last night given they don’t really have a plan other than, “we’re not Obama”.

ramrants on November 3, 2010 at 11:21 AM

Now they have to govern and get things done. Americans kept the Senate Democratic and House Republican for one reason – so both parties are forced to work together.

We’ll see how that goes…but they cannot be the Party of No and the Dems cannot be the Party of Yes – that’s for sure.

AprilOrit on November 3, 2010 at 12:06 PM

Simply blocking Obama’s policy is a good enough detailed plan for me.

Dead-enders like you don’t deserve the vote.

Grow Fins on November 3, 2010 at 12:07 PM

I’m just hoping that with all the Governorships we picked up that they have the balls to start slashing all the unnecessary items in their budgets like Christie has been doing for NJ. If they states that gained total republican control do this I don’t think the House will bailout these other states.

It’s up to us to make sure they do the job we elected them to do. I just hope they don’t screw it up.

Brat4life on November 3, 2010 at 12:12 PM

BigAlSouth on November 3, 2010 at 11:59 AM

As much as I understand that cutting off the federal spigot to California will decimate the state, I think the time has come to tell California to get their own affairs in order. Perhaps, if congress said, “ok, you want fed dollars, then for every billion you cut from your deficit, the fed will help” ******* “you don’t cut, you get nothing”. It’s called fiscal responsibility, and the folks still running this state don’t get it.

Rovin on November 3, 2010 at 12:13 PM

Agree with my fellow Californian, the cities are high on pixie dust or something. It is pitiful and frightening.

As a rural Californian, I feel the cities look on the rest of the state almost as slaves, as a territory to do their bidding and supply their needs, which they are free to abuse as their whims dictate.

jodetoad on November 3, 2010 at 12:14 PM

And Joe Manchin. He only has two years until another election and will have to be the most conservative member of the Senate if he doesn’t want to get beat by Capito in 2012.

forest on November 3, 2010 at 9:38 AM

Good catch!

..this guy might turn out to be one of the staunchest allies of the Republicans in the Senate because of this. I mean, aside form his ads and run-rabbit-run away from Obama, it’s hard to point to anyone who made more FNC appearances — on all of their shows — than Manchin. The guy is scared sh!tless and will probably tell Reid to jam it where the sun don’t shine at every opportunity.

The War Planner on November 3, 2010 at 12:17 PM

CCRWM on November 3, 2010 at 11:12 AM
Respectfully, I see a tide of change, or in last night’s cycle, a re-affirmation that this nation is still center-right. The battle over ideologies between the left and the right is was won big-time by conservatives last night. With the exception of both Cal and NY, (who are ironically in the

biggest holes financially than the rest of the nation combined), that continues to embrace the entitlement minded welfare state, sending both into unsustainable debt. Operating under the premise that it’s the government’s responsibility to provide for the welfare of the individual not only stifles the growth of free and private enterprise, it enslaves the masses who become totally dependent on their government. This liberal socialist mentality took a big step backwards last night. And for the good of the nation as a whole, this was a good thing.
Rovin on November 3, 2010 at 11:58 AM

I hope your right but when Los Angeles can defeat a whole state that tells you that people are becoming entrenched and it’s states with land and small populations losing to cities with bigger ones. I guess living in LA I’m upset but the bright spot is that Sarah Palin came out the big winner last night. How do I know? freaking CBS said so!

CCRWM on November 3, 2010 at 12:20 PM

..this guy might turn out to be one of the staunchest allies of the Republicans in the Senate because of this. I mean, aside form his ads and run-rabbit-run away from Obama, it’s hard to point to anyone who made more FNC appearances — on all of their shows — than Manchin. The guy is scared sh!tless and will probably tell Reid to jam it where the sun don’t shine at every opportunity.

The War Planner on November 3, 2010 at 12:17 PM

That seems to be a common position, but I see it holding on Cap and Trade only. What is his position on Card Check? Will he go against the unions in WV? What is his position on the Nightmare Act?

He’s with us on a single-issue, and it’s not because of principle, it’s because of fear. That means he can be bought out with the right incentives. He’ll vote for Cap and Trade after he tells WV voters that he has goodies from Bammie that will keep them whole, for a while anyway.

slickwillie2001 on November 3, 2010 at 12:31 PM

I am surprised the Republicans did as well as they did last night given they don’t really have a plan other than, “we’re not Obama”.
ramrants on November 3, 2010 at 11:21 AM

Can I PLEASE point out that the blogger Ramarious who runs a conservative blog at Brushfire (linked on my sig) & has a weekly column there called “Ram’sRants” has NO connection to this troll? I almost choked on my slurpie when I read that the first time.

Irritable Pundit on November 3, 2010 at 12:37 PM

Simply blocking Obama’s policy is a good enough detailed plan for me.

Dead-enders like you don’t deserve the vote.

Grow Fins on November 3, 2010 at 12:07 PM

I agree, that is not what people voted for – they want things done – solutions. We do not elect our representatives to do nothing.

AprilOrit on November 3, 2010 at 12:40 PM

ajacksonian on November 3, 2010 at 11:42 AM

I like what you are saying.

Mirimichi on November 3, 2010 at 12:46 PM

This was my point last night on my FB final status update before I went to bed. Basically L.A. County decided the entire race for us. SF/Oakland area counties go the same way BUT their population totals aren’t that big, honestly. L.A. should NOT be deciding everything.

Sultry Beauty on November 3, 2010 at 11:49 AM

I think you know that is what happens in all states where there are large metro areas. Look at WA and Seattle, MN and Mpls/St. Paul, and Co and Denver, to name just a few. I think the problem with these large metro area dwellers are that they don’t have a clue as to what is really going on in the real world. They haven’t been around anyone in agriculture, mining, logging, etc. They just drive to their local mall and everything they want or need is there. Clueless as to what it took to produce it and transport it there.

Mirimichi on November 3, 2010 at 1:13 PM

What a bunch of whiners!

Turns out the folks warning about raising expectations too high were right. A wave of the size not seen in more than half a century suddenly is disappointing?

Of those candidates who came out of the Tea Party, only Johnson in Wisconsin did well (Rubio was running already – the TP latched onto him, but he didn’t “come from” them). Angle, Buck, Maes, O’Donnell, Miller were all apparently epic failures. Try vetting the candidates better next time, mmmkay?

It’s pretty unrealistic to believe the House can undo all of what Pelosi and Obama have done. If we fail to fund whole projects, Obama will veto. If we don’t cave, he will allow the government to shut down – but not in the soft and fuzzy way it happened under Reagan and Clinton. Oh, no, under Obama “shut down” means just that. No Social Security checks mailed, no military pay (or supply shipments), no mail delivery, no nothing.

This guy doesn’t give a rat’s patootie what might be bad for the country, since he hates America anyway, you white colonial capitalist dogs, you. He only cares about winning. It’s the only way he can validate himself to the memory of his late Marxist “mentor” (wink) Frank Marshall Davis.

Better have a plan going in, because you know how the legacy media will play the shutdown. All Republicans’ fault. Poor Grandma. Poor soldiers.

Adjoran on November 3, 2010 at 2:57 PM

In the past two elections the country has said that they did not like all the liberal policies and actions the Republicans had, so they elected Democrats. And NoBama ran with the slogan of “Change” and he was elected. Boy did he deliver Change! But it was not the change the country wanted, so the people have given the Republicans another chance and it not that they are that much more popular, its that the people ‘really’ do not like liberalism.

Well, If the Republicans do not govern as Conservatives they will be voted out and I believe the Republican Party “may” die and a new party (Maybe the Tea Party) will take over. The Republican Party had better hear what the People are saying!!!

jtpcamp on November 3, 2010 at 3:41 PM

There will not be a new party. The Tea Patriots will take the initiative to nurture their power with in the Republican Party. It just will take time, the giants and big money within the party weren’t ever just going to roll over for us!

Africanus on November 3, 2010 at 6:02 PM

A Washington Examiner editorial noted that it is time for compromise with the Republicans. That is true to a point.

There must be no compromising with smaller government and smaller government spending. The compromise that may be open is “how much smaller” we make it.

{^_^}

herself on November 4, 2010 at 3:19 AM

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