Reframing the midterm elections

Steve Nordin

The midterm election is marked by overwhelming backlash against an unpopular Democratic president. The economy is in one of the worst recessions in recent memory. Unemployment is in the double digits. Republicans ride the wave of popular anger and decisively win.
Sound familiar? It was the midterm election of 1894. The Republicans overwhelmingly retook the House of Representatives and several seats in the Senate in the greatest electoral upset of American history.
Did 1894 mark the death of the Democratic Party? No. Did this election reverse growing federal power? No. Did Congress instantly solve the Panic of 1893? No.
Based on the rhetoric surrounding the Nov. 2 election, one would believe that Congress has changed quite a bit over the last 116 years.
On Election Night 2010, Speaker of the House-elect John Boehner promised “a new way forward in Washington.” Rand Paul, Senator-elect from Kentucky announced, “We [The Entirety of the American People plus Rand Paul] have come to take our government back.”
Take it back they did, driving the Democrats from the House and leaving the sniveling curs to tremble in the White House and the Senate, which they still hold.
As a sophomore, I have a keen grasp on all political phenomena and possess the necessary qualifications to pontificate on this election. I got my sixth grade diploma at Our Lady of Peace Intermediate School and can talk loudly for extended periods of time, possessing terrific lung capacity from rowing. I can also dress myself.
To Democrats, I will say this: Stop whining – you are still in power. You control the Senate and the presidency. The “American People,” who consist entirely of independents, Catholics and old folk, didn’t like what was going on when you were in office. Tough luck. On the bright side, since the Republicans are steering the Ship of State, you can have the keys to the Barge of Filibustering. Go to town.
For once, your party may have better discipline than the Republicans. Remember back to the health care debate? The Midwestern and Southern “blue dog Democrats” who caused so many problems have been purged by the Republican victory. What remains are the members of the party’s coastal liberal core, who have a greater ideological consensus.
To Republicans, my message is: Curb your enthusiasm. This isn’t the start of a second American Revolution. You haven’t taken “your” government back. You can’t have the neo-libertarian dream right now. What you do have is an unclear mandate from an angry electorate that will come after you in 2012 if there is no improvement in their day-to-day lives.
The Democrats can pull the same parliamentary tricks you all did a few years ago. If you complain about it, you will lose my vote. “That was then, this is now” is the same grade of intellectual mush as was the pre-election “mistakes were made” proffered by Democrats a few weeks ago.
To “The American People”:
Things aren’t going to change quickly. We are not going to become a Banana Republic or a Jeffersonian utopia. Government will be slow, not entirely effective, and your representatives will not give you everything you want 100 percent of the time.
Our Constitution was designed to make government slow. Rapid alterations in policy from the extremes of the ideological spectrum don’t usually last. The system will only react quickly when the voters permanently change their opinions.
Focus on your own actions, how you conduct yourself, how you can make a difference. If you don’t participate in the process, i.e. voting, I am hereby using my authority as a contributing writer to a college newspaper to revoke your political kvetching privileges.
Thomas Reed, Speaker of the House in 1894, stated, “One of the greatest delusions in the world is the hope that the evils in this world are to be cured by legislation.”
In short, calm down.