The false meaning of the 2010 elections is being spoon-fed to us as cogent analysis by the media - even the supposed left friendly MSNBC - as a groundswell of conservative Tea Party extremism. But the real lesson of the 2010 elections is the dissatisfaction of the Democratic left, the abandonment of the Democratic Party by the Progressive/Liberal coalition that elected Barack Obama in 2008. The massive gains in the House by the Republican Party were not at the expense of liberal Democratic members. Aside from Alan Grayson in Florida who are the other liberal Democrats who lost their reelection bids? Did Dennis Kucinich get beaten? How about Barney Frank? Is Anthony Weiner looking for a new job? What about all the others - where are they? So, which Democrats were shown the door, tossed onto the dustbin of Congressmen past? The answer is the blue dogs, the least liberal, least loyal, least Democratic of Democratic Party members. It was Ike Skelton and others like him. Good riddance to them all. We'll see what the Republicans do with the House, especially a House sprinkled with cantankerous Tea Partiers, people possibly more interested in principle than patronage.
In the Senate, twelve Democrats were up for reelection. Only two of them lost. Nine were winners - Boxer, Inouye, Mikulski, Reid, Schumer, Gillibrand, Wyden, Bennet and Leahy - and Patty Murray is leading in her race in Washington. Where was the conservative, Tea Party groundswell? It was lost by the fanatics and crazies like Christine O'Donnell, Sharron Angle and Joe Miller - losers all. The only Democrats who lost were Russ Feingold and Blanche Lincoln. Both of them fell because liberal Democrats in Wisconsin and Arkansas failed to turn out in the numbers they had previously. Neither was a victim of a conservative uprising.
In Wisconsin, Feingold received 1,018,914 votes this time. In 2004 when he won he got 1,632,562 votes. What happened to those 613,648 Democrats who voted for Feingold six years ago? Its not like that they became conservative and voted Republican this time out. The losing Republican in 2004, Tim Michaels, got 1,301,305 votes in defeat. This time, in victory, the GOP's Ron Johnson couldn't match Michaels' tally. He actually lost 177,290 votes. Johnson beat Feingold this year with only 1,124,015 Republican votes. Russ Feingold was shown the door by his own liberal base, Democratic Party regulars unhappy with the performance of the Democratic Party in the US Senate and with Russ Feingold's failure to stand for liberal principles. Who, in their right mind, would have predicted that the GOP could get 177,290 fewer votes this year - and kick Russ Feingold out of the Senate?
The same thing happened to the only other Democrat in the Senate who lost a bid for reelection. Blanche Lincoln won her Arkansas contest in 2004 with 580,973 Democratic votes. This year she managed a pathetic total of 279,281. Lincoln actually lost more votes than she received - a net loss of 301,692. These were Democrats who voted for her before but refused to come out and return Blanche Lincoln to the US Senate. Did her GOP opponent roll to victory with a huge increase in Republican votes? Did Arkansas conservatives rally and grow their numbers? Not hardly. In 2004, in defeat, the Republican Jim Holt got 458,036 votes. This time out, in victory, John Boozman could wrangle only 432,322 Republican votes. Blanche Lincoln - like her soon-to-be former colleague Russ Feingold - was turned away by dissatisfied Democrats who did not suddenly become more conservative and vote Republican. They just wouldn't vote for her again.
If there is any long-term future for the Democratic Party it is to return to their roots established under FDR, nourished in the nimble hands of LBJ and Hubert H. Humphrey and sadly last seen when Georgia's Jimmy Carter made the Presidency an office honest and truthful Americans could take pride in. The Clinton/now/Obama brand of Democrat - little more than a Republican-In-Waiting - only serves to raise hopes of progressives and liberals during election campaigns and then dash all hope on the rocks of political capitulation.
We have, when all is said and done, only one real political party in the United States - the Corporate Party. When Democrats are in power, they surrender quickly and willingly while Republicans who sense even a sniff of power wield it with an eager heavy hand, laden with deadly weapons, in pursuit of the interests of their corporate keepers.
President Obama will now no doubt fold his flimsy tent, before the ink dries on this year's final election results, and indulge the new Republican House majority in whatever it demands. Democrats in the Senate will not even think to use the procedural obstructions the Republicans employed with such great success for the last two years. Although the GOP controls only one house of Congress, it dominantly rules the American government.
As it took the most unlikely Richard Nixon to open the way to China, perhaps the only hope remaining for the salvation of representative government in Washington - which is to say the obstructionism of the One Party agenda - lies in the hands of a questionably unstable new Senator from Kentucky. It's just possible that only Rand Paul, despite his many egregious faults, stands guard as lone sentinel over our democracy. Like David, with only a slingshot against Goliath, Rand Paul has nothing at his command save the ancient yet powerful Rules of the Senate. Could the solitary Senator Paul, like Jimmy Stewart's Mr. Smith, call a corrupt system to account?