So Election 2010 is upon us. Have you made your Wish List? Well, here's mine.
Upon reading this, most of my Blue friends will think I've gone Red, and many of my Red friends will think that I'm still Blue at heart. Being that I am actually now a marbled blend of indigo and magenta, this is probably a good thing.
Everything that follows is written with the assumption that the GOP will indeed take the House of Representatives tomorrow... and I will be glad for this, and for a number of reasons -- most of which I'll get into later. For starters though: as an Ohioan, I'm glad that we'll have a Speaker Boehner, if for nothing else than it's been 57 years since an Ohioan has sat in one of the big three positions of power (President, Speaker, or Senate Majority Leader), with the last being Senate Majority Leader Robert Taft in 1953. Ohio has been too important in electoral politics for us not to have someone representin'.
Now, given that I'm confident that the GOP will take the House, it is my hope that the Democrats will maintain control of the Senate... but by only the narrowest margin possible. In other words, I hope that the GOP picks up nine seats tomorrow... no more, no less. Why? Here's a breakdown.
1. I've decided that I'm now big on divided government and on checks and balances. Sure, there have been plenty of occasions when the president is of one party and both houses of Congress are of another. However, it's a rare thing with the Houses themselves are of different parties. We had a brief stint of this after the Jeffords switch in 2001, but then 9/11 came along and drowned out whatever might have been the significance of such a Congress. Before that, you have to go back to the early-to-mid 1980's, when we had a Republican Senate and a Democratic House. Being that I was 9-13 years old at the time, I didn't really get the chance to observe those dynamics at work.
2. Even more specifically, the single rarest combination of House, Senate, and Presidency is to have a Democratic Senate, a Republican House, and a Democratic President. Such a combination hasn't occurred since WWI. Since then, every other possible combination has manifested itself and with greater frequency. Again, I'd like to be able to observe how such a rare combination would play itself out.
3. Is it possible that a Democratic Majority Leader Schumer and a Republican Speaker Boehner could forge moderate, centrist, and populist legislation? For which more than a meager 50.01% of the populace could be enthusiastically supportive? I know it might be naïve of me, but I'm willing to give that one a try.
You'll notice I write "Majority Leader Schumer". This brings us to the next item on my Wish List: Reid Vs. Angle. First, let me be clear: I think the voters of Nevada have the most painful of election options this year. Let me add: I do not like Sharron Angle, and I do not hate Harry Reid. That said, I really want new leadership for the Democrats in the Senate. As nice a guy as Harry Reid might seem to be, I can't help but think of him as the Jimmy Carter of the Senate. As it is: being that I want the Dems to maintain control of the Senate, and being that I want new leadership there, I'm left with only one option: to hope for a Sharron Angle victory tomorrow, as much as that one pains me. (Let me also add that, if Reid were to announce today that he'd like to stay in the Senate, but not as leader, I could very easily change my stance on this particular item and wish him a victory tomorrow.)
Conventional wisdom says that either Schumer or Durbin will replace Reid as the Democratic Leader in the Senate. Further evidence implies that Durbin would be Obama's choice. Given that I think the Senate Democrats will want some increased autonomy from the Executive, my own wisdom tells me that Schumer would be elected as their next Leader. I like Schumer's wit and his presence -- two things that have been lacking from Senate leadership for some time.
4. Why nine seat and not eight or ten? Because as much as I want divided government between the houses, I also want divided government within them as well. Should there be 49 Democratic Senators, 48 Republican Senators, and 3 Independent Senators, so much could be in play.
You'll notice I write "3 Independent Senators." This brings be to the next item on my list: Murkowski vs. Miller. Normally, I might not have had a dog in this fight. However, as it is, I think that the two biggest diseases in electoral politics today are (1) gerrymandering and (2) the party system itself. Wherever and whenever possible, I want to see candidates win without having the backing of the GOP or the DNC. A victory for Murkowski would be a victory for independents, moderates, and centrists everywhere. For this reason, I would have also loved to see a Crist victory in Florida, but I have given up on the possibility for that one. (Like him or not, Rubio just seems to be one of those candidates that can't be denied.) Anyhow, back to the independents... yes, I'd love to see a Murkowski-Lieberman-Sanders caucus in the Senate next year, so I'll be pulling for Lisa tomorrow.
So, in summary, I want:
1. The GOP to take the House (for checks and balances, and an Ohioan Speaker).
2. The Democrats to hold the Senate (but by only one Senator).
3. For Sharron Angle to defeat Harry Reid (for Senate Leadership reasons only).
4. For Lisa Murkowski to defeat Joe Miller (and the party system).
There you have it folks. Something to alienate and/or endear anyone and everyone! All the same, here's to a more Indigo & Magenta country come 2011.
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