THE BLOG
11/05/2014 05:01 pm ET Updated Jan 05, 2015

Sour Grapes Never Tasted So Sweet: Why Losing the Senate Last Night Was a Good Thing For Democrats

Having Control of the Senate Doesn't Mean Much

So what that Democratic committee chairs can't set the agenda for bills that won't pass anyway. Very few bills are going to pass a filibuster, and fewer still will go unvetoed. As USA Today points out, this will be "Gridlock 2.0." The crazy bills that do get passed around are going to make great 2016 fodder.

Increases the Chance Hillary Will Run

You could envision the Clintons possibly taking a pass if they believed the Dems would win anyway, but risking an all Republican D.C.? When the Bat-Signal lights up the sky, the Dynamic Duo won't wait it out in Westchester.

Yes, Dems, Hillary Can Lose

A lot of Democrats -- myself included -- figured Hillary was a near stone cold lock for president. Hell, she's the only politician whose numbers would probably go up if she was involved in an extramarital affair. But last night's loss will remind everyone that losing is very possible. Hillary is actually the last person who should need a wake-up call, given that last time around her chief strategist didn't know California awarded primary votes proportionally, not winner-take-all.

Stakes of Losing in 2016 Would be Catastrophic

Not only did last night's loss let everyone know that a 2016 presidential loss is possible; it greatly raises the stakes for a loss. Caesar knew his troops would fight harder when they understood that defeat at Pharsalus would mean death; now the Dems know it as well.

Democrats Must Win Rather than Avoid Debates

While I've got the military metaphors out, might as well call last night what it was: "Cut & Run." While Obama's dithering -- not firing Tom Frieden at CDC comes to mind -- was the first break in the line, having a Democratic Senatorial candidate refuse to admit she even voted for him reinforces the perennial Republican metamessage that Democrats are weak. If your candidates won't back your agenda or your president, why should an undecided voter?

Makes Republicans Think They're Well-Liked

Republicans have some of their own problems, chiefly among them that they start believing their primary-winning bullshit. Worse, they think that a majority believes it too. The same people that pine for the days when interracial marriage was illegal and aspirin was the go-to morning-after pill are going to interpret this as the "all-clear" siren. The cooler and more cynical heads are going to try to keep them quiet -- without actually rebuking them -- but generally this is going to be the political equivalent of a Detroit Tigers post-World Series win, with the dancing in the streets morphing into a drunken riot and inevitable hangover.

Republicans haven't had a real agenda since Reagan, and have few red herrings left since the culture war started to turn against them. Talk about pining for days past, remember when flag burning was an imminent threat to the Republic and gay-baiting was both fun and profitable? At some point in the next two years people are going to realize doctors still treat them, ISIS won't overrun Oklahoma, and the economy has been and could be a lot worse than it is right now. When they can't run against Obama, what will Republicans run for and with? I'm sure Karl & Co. are working on this right now, but last night is only going to make their job harder, not easier. If you think I'm "Whistling Dixie", you're right, but for the wrong reason.