Did you enjoy the Davy Crockett campaign?....
Before Davy, a summary assessment:
For Republicans, a great but not monster night. They won a solid working majority in the Senate--at least 7 gain, probably 9 when Alaksa's count is finalized & after the December runoff in Louisiana; solidly raised their edge in the House to 243, a pickup of 12, and may equal their 246 total in 1946 when 3 more races are finalized; and gained 3, from 28 to 31, in gubernatorial races. Significantly, Rs held two key governorships--Rick Snyder (MI) & Scott Walker (WI)--with incumbents at risk because they had instituted painful but necessary reforms. And the GOP took the governorship of Illinois--home of the First Couple--ground zero for tax & spend governance. AND: the GOP took the governorship of Massachusetts too. AND: GOP Florida governor Rick Scott beat self-promoting opportunist Charlie Crist. AND: The GOP took blue Maryland's governorship too.
GOP awards: Big save award goes to Pat Roberts in Kansas--helped, fittingly, by Kansas icon Bob Dole. Big upset award goes to Tom Tillis over Kay Hagan in North Carolina. Big miss was Scott Brown losing in New Hampshire, to an Obama toady. Almost surprise of the night goes to Ed Gillespie in Virginia.
Big dividend: Obama will have to nominate judges who can pass GOP muster. No more ethnicity-obsessed Sonia Sotomayors; no more uber-progressive Elena Kagans for the Supremes. And no more far lefties on the federal appeals courts.
Was this a "wave" election? No, because too many races were cliffhangers. A true wave election ushers in landslide margins that carry one or more improbables into office--such as near misses Scott Brown in NH & Ed Gillespie in VA. It was, in sum, a wave result, but not a wave vote. This translates into a mandate to pull the president back towards the middle. But Rs must avoid the trap facing victorious parties, that of succumbing to the temptation to enact their dreams.
You gotta love Iowa's GOP senatorial winner Jodi Ernst, who called her path to triumph "from the biscuit line at Hardees to the United States Senate." She called America "the greatest nation in the history of mankind."
But with 24 GOP senators & only 10 Democratic senators up in 2016, Rs will need a presidential win to have a chance to keep the Senate. Without a 2016 sweep Rs cannot repeal the repealable parts of 8 years of Obama.
AEI's Rebecca Burgess gives us Davy Crockett's advice on politics, which pretty well describes politics today, nearly two centuries later:
“Attend all public meetings…and get some friends to move that you take the chair; if you fail in this attempt, make a push to be appointed secretary; the proceedings of course will be published, and your name is introduced to the public. But should you fail in both undertakings, get two or three acquaintances, over a bottle of whiskey, to pass some resolutions, no matter on what subject; publish them…it will answer the purpose of breaking the ice, which is the main point in these matters. Intrigue until you are elected an officer of the militia; this is the second step towards promotion, and can be accomplished with ease… You may not accomplish your ends with as little difficulty, but do not be discouraged—Rome wasn’t built in a day.
“If your ambition or circumstances compel you to serve your country, and earn three dollars a day, by becoming a member of the legislature, you must first publicly avow that the constitution of the state is a shackle upon free and liberal legislation; and is, therefore, of as little use in the present enlightened age, as an old almanac of the year in which the instrument was framed. There is policy in this measure, for by making the constitution a mere dead letter, your headlong proceedings will be attributed to a bold and unshackled mind; whereas, it might otherwise be thought they arose from sheer mulish ignorance. ‘The Government’ has set the example in his attack upon the constitution of the United States, and who should fear to follow where ‘the Government’ leads?
“When the day of election approaches, visit your constituents far and wide. Treat liberally, and drink freely, in order to rise in their estimation, though you fall in your own. True, you may be called a drunken dog by some of the clean shirt and silk stocking gentry, but the real rough necks will style you a jovial fellow, their votes are certain, and frequently count double. Do all you can to appear to advantage in the eyes of the women….
“Promise all that is asked,” said I, “and more if you can think of any thing. Offer to build a bridge or a church, to divide a county, create a batch of new offices, make a turnpike, or any thing they like. Promises cost nothing, therefore deny nobody who has a vote or sufficient influence to obtain one.
“Get up on all occasions, and sometimes on no occasion at all, and make long-winded speeches, though composed of nothing else than wind—talk of your devotion to your country, your modesty and disinterestedness, or on any such fanciful subject. Rail against taxes of all kinds, office-holders, and bad harvest weather; and wind up with a flourish about the heroes who fought and bled for our liberties in the times that tried men’s souls. To be sure you run the risk of being considered a bladder of wind, or an empty barrel, but never mind that, you will find enough of the same fraternity to keep you in countenance.
“If any charity be going forward, be at the top of it, provided it is to be advertised publicly; if not, it isn’t worth your while. None but a fool would place his candle under a bushel on such an occasion.
“These few directions,” said I, “if properly attended to, will do your business; and when once elected, why a fig for… the promises, the bridges, the churches, the taxes, the offices, and the subscriptions, for it is absolutely necessary to forget all these before you can be-come a thorough-going politician, and a patriot of the first water.”
SO: You don't know who Davy Crockett was? OK, the TV series was nearly 60 years ago. Most of you are excused.
Bottom Line. The GOP won a reprieve from extinction. But 2016 beckons, and Rs had better not flag or fail.
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