It was enough, electorally, for Republicans to say they were against whatever President Obama was for. Preliminary exit polls found that 32 percent of voters were registering displeasure with Obama, versus 20 percent who were expressing support.
But now comes the hard part. Because Republicans didn’t run on an agenda other than antipathy toward all things Obama, they created a policy vacuum — and it’s about to be filled by a swirl of competing, and contradictory, proposals.
Republicans find themselves with neither a consensus program nor a clear hierarchy among congressional leaders, the half-dozen aspiring presidential candidates in Congress and the various governors and former officeholders who also think they should be the party’s 2016 standard-bearer. Republicans have set themselves up for chaos, if not outright fratricide.
Congressional leaders will be pulled in opposite directions by would-be presidential contender Ted Cruz (Tex.) and his expanded band of Senate ideologues (who would like to abolish the IRS, the EPA and the Education Department, chip away at banking regulations and hold umpteen more votes on eliminating Obamacare) and by the large number of vulnerable Republicans who will be on the ballot in 2016 (and would like to see the next Congress achieve tangible progress).
Begun in 2008, and renewed again in the 2012, the GOP (and its lunatic fringe, the Tea party) have made it their sole raison d’être to stall, thwart and undo Obama’s agenda by any means necessary, always followed by their hideous crowing from the smoking ruins 1 about our dysfunctional government; a murder of politicians, indeed. The GOP did everything within its powers to sabotage the workings of government then threw hissy fits when Obama calmly insisted outrage was not enough, the GOP needed an actual agenda beyond sloppily tagging democracy with that shiny red spray paint.
Now that the GOP enjoys an advantage in both chambers of Congress (though not enough of an advantage to ram idiotic legislation through willy-nilly) look for their incessant whining to change tone: it will soon be Obama and those damned Democrats keeping the country from
nirvana heaven; the Dems and the veto will be responsible for all that ails the world. Yes, that’s risible on its face, but it’s also inevitable: 2 we can already see McConnell refusing to compromise with Senate Dems and demanding Obama come to the table and negotiate.
Where the WaPo article falls short is in its belief the GOP didn’t run on an agenda. The truth is exactly the opposite; it is painfully obvious that, just as Reconstruction was rolled back, the Republicans are determined to halt then reverse the civil rights gains of the past 50 years. And it was not something the GOP needed to express, any more than the white backlash that placed Nixon in office in both ’68 and ’72.
Last night was six years in the making; much of white America could no longer stand the stench of this country’s original sin.
Here and now, in the morning after, all we can say is it will be an explosive two years.