The popular definition of insanity is to keep repeating the same action over and over again expecting a different result. Tuesday's mid-term elections proved it once again. America, we're nuts.
It was billed as a political sea change and a referendum on the sitting government's policies. Just like 2008 except this time all the bridesmaid's dresses were red instead of blue. But that's not to say election night didn't provide its own brand of entertainment.
Sharron Angle nearly beat Harry Reid in Nevada by never, never saying what she stood for. Ever. Not even in her concession speech. She always claimed that we'd find out when she was elected to the Senate. Shucks.
Voters in California failed to legalize marijuana, but instead elected Jerry Brown as Governor. They're going to need to smoke a joint just to understand what the hell he's saying. Did you hear that victory speech? It topped only by the 'deer in the headlights' look on Meg Whitman's face when she realilzed she'd spent $144 million of her own money and lost. She's calling her Ebay seller and asking for a refund.
Russ Feingold was defeated by a flood of out of state money and unlimited PAC funds. He of course was the other half of the McCain-Feingold Campaign Finance Law that limited campaign spending. An act gutted by the Supreme Court, which of course doesn't have to run for anything, unless you're Clarence Thomas' wife.
And there was the television coverage. The winners beyond question are the graphics producers at every network. Some of the niftiest 3 dimensional graphics in the history of TV were on display. Most confusing and unnecessary, but cool to look at none the less. A real Vanna White night.
And Steve Jobs was a big winner. How many IPads did you see and how many times did Katie Couric alone make reference to one of her reporter's '...trusty IPad...'? But did anybody watch? What became painfully obvious, if you had an IPad on your lap, was just how out of touch and behind television has become. Results were popping up all over the internet long before they hit TV. You just don't need to watch TV on election night anymore. And the local television coverage. Yikes.
And how sad was it to see Rick Santelli of quasi-rant fame and pit reporter for CNBC rolled out as the 'Father of the Tea Party'? Santelli, who ducked a chance to claim that title when he backed out of a Jon Stewart appearance early on, had the look of a man who didn't quite know what to say or where to go. The 'movement' has traveled away from him at light speed and has been usurped by the very folks he was waving a cautionary finger at. There was one constant however, Santelli was very sure of what he's against and not clear at all about what he's for or how to get there. Just like his political progeny.
It all brought to mind a conversation I had recently with the woman who runs the cemetery that contains our family plot. We have some choice locations on top of the hill and I asked her if she had anymore up there.
'Oh no,' she said. 'We don't like to dig up there. It looks real pretty,but when you start poking around you never know what you're going to find.' Just like American politics and election night.
The framers of the U.S. Constituion were bright guys. They wrote a document that worked pretty well for a country that had fewer people in it at the time than attend the Michigan-Ohio State football game in Ann Arbor. And they put mechanisms in place that allowed for its expansion, like sky boxes. But as smart as they were there is no way they could have envisioned the United States as it is now. The size, the complexity, the diversity of a country that on election night is still counting ballots by hand in some places and letting a woman who admitted to dabbling in witchcraft run for office without first dunking her in the river to see if she floats.
Washington, Jefferson, Franklin and the others constructed a governing plan that gave the people a voice, but put the power some place else--with them. The bulletin for the Rand Pauls of this election, who proclaimed last night that he's on his way to '.....take Washington D.C. back....', is no you're not.
That's not in the plan, that's not the way it works. Ask Barak Obama. 'Yes We Can' turned into 'No We Can 't'. So something has to change. Either we have to figure out a better way to do this or we have to change the plan. After all, as smart as the Founding Fathers were, Ben Franklin still wanted the turkey to be the national bird. Then again.........
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