Please raise your hands. How many people thought Saxby Chambliss would win the runoff election?
[crickets chirp noisily]
That's what I thought. It was almost a miracle that Jim Martin even had a shot at the Georgia seat.
And before the election, everyone was saying Democrats would be lucky to win seven Senate seats. I did a quick Google search and came up with this. The right wing Human Events wrote this in June:
Dean told a Monitor breakfast on Wednesday, June 11, that he expected “we’ll pick up from 5-to-7 seats” in the Senate. At a Monitor lunch the next day, Nevada Sen. Ensign told reporters that for his party to lose no more than three seats this fall “would be a terrific night for us. I don’t want to slip below the four-seat loss.”
Political analysts widely predict major gains for the Democrats in the Senate and House of Representatives today.
But few think the Democrats will win the nine extra Senate positions they need to have a filibuster-proof "supermajority" in that branch of Congress.
I would have loved to get to the magic number of 60, but if Franken prevails that will give the the Democratic Party 59.
In election forecast model developed by a political scientist 99 days before the 2008 elections and before the recent Wall Street crisis predicts significant Democratic gains in the 2008 congressional elections--including 11 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives and 3 seats in the U.S. Senate...read on
On AC360 earlier David Gergen declared:
I think this actually puts a lot more pressure on Barack Obama to govern much more from the center and not from the left. He is going to need Republicans now, he is going to need a bipartisan approach...
Right! A 41-vote Senate minority should by all means have Barack Obama shaking in his boots. I wonder if Gergen said something similar about Republicans on Nov. 4th, perhaps something like...
I think the fact that Barack Obama won 53% of the vote tonight and that Democrats will have won at least 7 more seats in the Senate and 20 more seats in the House puts a lot more pressure on Republicans to govern much more from the center and not from the right.
Oh, he didn't? Ya don't say...
Gergen's refusal to put the burden on the Republicans to be cooperative and "centrist" rather than the Democrats is really a symptom of the persistent Beltway "center-right nation" conventional wisdom, which always puts the burden on Democrats to be the centrist ones since the Republican Party, so goes the logic, is where the people already are. Was there any greater evidence that the Democratic Party is where the people are than the results on November 4th?
You can never trust the Beltway weenies. Sure, they can come with some good stuff occasionally and add some honest analysis, but when push comes to shove they will almost always side with Conservatives. It's up to all of us to correct the record, even if Obama persists with his bipartisan narrative.
This is why people like me are chafing at all the bipartisan chatter, which does nothing to change that perception. Indeed, it feeds into it.
And until that default rightist mentality is changed, nothing changes over the long term. Sure, the country will hire Democrats to come in and clean up conservative messes from time to time, but they won't ever realize that the party that is identified as the center-left is actually the majority unless someone claims it. The result will be that when the smoke has cleared the country will reflexively want to go back to "normal" by electing Republicans, the true representatives of our naturally center-right country.