Kool Aid is the official beverage of the GOP. They've been drinking too much of it if they think that taking the House of Representatives is a mandate instead of the raised middle finger of the American body politic.
"I think that it's a mandate for Washington to reduce the size of government and continue our fight for smaller, less costly and more accountable government," the presumptuous Speaker of the House, John Boehner, told the AP on Wednesday.
Think again, Mr. Boehner.
According to the United States Election Project, which keeps tally of the total number of voters, the voting age population of the United States is 235,809,266.
When you add in 4,972,217 eligible from overseas such as military personnel and Americans working abroad, and remove non-citizens with green cards, prisoners, parolees, the actual eligible voter total is 218,054,301.
40.3% to date, which includes some ongoing hand-counted races, of the eligible voters
or roughly 87,875,883 Americans, voted in the 2010 mid-term elections. So six in ten Americans didn't voice an opinion. That's up, way up from 2008's mid-term.
Blogger Edmund Zimmerman, who crunched numbers from several sources including the USEP and the Federal Election Commission for his blog, reports:
"[T]he only movement in the electorate between 2008 and 2010 has been away from the polls. There was no movement at all toward Republican candidates or ideals and absolutely no mandate against Obama's policies. Almost 40 million Americans who participated in the 2008 election did not vote in 2010. (The United States Elections Project estimates that 38% of eligible voters turned out in 2010, while 63% turned out in 2008.) The vast majority of stay-at-homes were Obama supporters in the last election, but the reduction in votes cast for Republican candidates was also staggering. Other than the extremist Tea Party voters, who follow Glenn Beck and his bizarre reiteration of the teachings of discredited right wing Mormon theorist Willard Skousen (Everyone from Woodrow Wilson to Dwight Eisenhower were Communist spies...), there was no groundswell of potential voters decrying public intervention in our health plans---50 million of us don't even have one. People on Main Street are not clamoring to protect Wall Street billionaires from government regulation. Most people don't see the money that's funding highway and bridge and public safety projects to renovate our badly decaying infrastructure as money wasted.
In fact, the only tidal wave that hit in the 2010 mid-terms was the one that swamped DINO (Democrats in Name Only) or "Blue Dog" Democrats. Amanda Terkel here at HuffPo writes:
According to an analysis by The Huffington Post, 22 of the 46 Blue Dogs up for re-election went down on Tuesday.
In fact, Democrats who were more liberal coasted to easy victories, from Barney Frank to Alcee Hastings on the East Coast. Even embattled New York congressman Charlie Rangel managed to pull off a win.
With few exceptions, Republican "victories" were in states that lean heavily red where discouraged voters, who had turned out for Obama in record numbers, stayed home. Blue Dogs were politicians without a country because liberals turned on them for not pushing Health Care far enough, while Tea Baggers crucified them for not holding to their extreme social and/or fiscal agenda.
Yet, if you listened to the Twinkie talk show hosts of Fox News or Right-wing radio, you would swear that the Second Coming of Ronald Reagan was imminent.
Boehner's House is going to be a fractious fracas of the disparate and desperate voices, from the media queens like Michelle Bachmann to the ever-unusual Alan West and his rabid attack dog, Joyce "If ballots don't work, bullets will" Kaufman.
It has only been a few days, and already the knives are coming out on Republican Love Boat. A Tea Party-led charge to ban earmarks, the Holy Grail of Pork for the Baggers, is being supported by Boehner, but opposed by Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell, one of the biggest consumers of the other political white meat.
Tea bagger Rand Paul, McConnell's junior senator from Kentucky, has been both for and against earmarks, as Keith Olbermann caught and the National Review wondered: "Is Rand Paul Already Selling Out?"
The Tea Party has started to draw up its latest enemies list, vowing that they will unseat any Republican that does not vote in lockstep with them.
We are witnessing a world brought to you courtesy of Fox News and Right Wing radio zealots like Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck. This election was an echo-back of the Kool Aid that they've been feeding conservative voters. It stampeded quite a few liberals to the polls, but the loud drumbeat, along with the weak economy, caused many voters to give up.
Even a Barack Obama cannot defeat the might GOP media machine. Special interests will manipulate and stampede enough of scared White America, and turn off enough of minority America, that the Koch brothers and Murdochs of the world can keep near anarchy ongoing in government and leave themselves largely free to plunder the pockets of the public at-will.
MSNBC, because it won't stoop to the level of outright fund raising for the Democrats on their programming, is, as John Stewart pointed out to Fox's Chris Wallace last week on The Daily Show, an influence ant hill.
Liberal talk radio failed because extreme liberals are as few and far between as extreme conservatives, but the Liberals, by and large, are a more well educated and fractious audience that is much, much harder to bring into lock-step.
By contrast, the seeds of the Republican Sith leader, Lee Attwater, and his minion, Karl Rove, have been sown over a legion of highly dogmatic, religiously inculcated people who have moved their misunderstandings of the Bible to the U.S. Constitution.
The GOP has no mandate, which they know. They see the same numbers. A recent Rasmussen poll found that 59% of voters expect to be disappointed with Republicans of the upcoming session of Congress before 2012.
So why do they keep beating the drum and posturing?
If a tree falls in the woods, and Fox News didn't cover it, did it really happen? Or, more to the point, if Fox's puppet master, Roger Ailes, wants you to believe that a tree fell in the woods, even if his news crews were dispatched to the Sahara desert at the time, he can find some stock footage and send the Fox team into action. By the end of the day, you'll believe that there was a tree, and that Barack Obama and his gang of illegals chopped it down.
There is no mandate for GOP rule, but as long as they keep repeating it long enough, there are millions of Americans who are going to regurgitate that "factoid" by the water cooler, in bowling allies, on golf courses, and in the super market, giving it the weight of truth.
This nation is ruled through its media outlets. As long as Fox can keep saturating the airwaves with Republican propaganda, the Democrats ability to govern, or get their message out in a meaningful way, is highly unlikely.
My shiny two.