I love election night. I don’t necessarily love the results, mind you, but there’s always something about seeing the will of the people expressed that I find exciting. The Bush v. Gore battle of two years ago may have been powerfully depressing in some respects (like Bush stealing the election), but the political junkie in me also found it captivating. Some people slow down to look at car wrecks; I watch election coverage.
So I’ve been staring at tonight’s returns with that same air of expectation and excitement. Nationally, it’s looking like a disaster for the Democrats who apparently couldn’t campaign their way out of a paper bag. Hint: You can’t pass Bush’s tax cut, stand behind him for a war against Iraq, and then tell everybody he’s doing a lousy job. He is doing a lousy job, but you’re supposed to at least put up token resistance, otherwise the Democratic core may decideâ€”as they’ve done tonightâ€”that it doesn’t matter who gets elected. Honestly, this party needs Bill Clinton to run the DNC. He may be a snake in the grass, but he’s also the best Democratic politician in the last 30 years.
On a national level it looks like we’ll be faced with a Republican-controlled White House, Senate, House, andâ€”dare I say it?â€”Supreme Court. There is no way in which this is good for the country. I don’t care if it’s Republicans, Democrats, or Neo-Nazis, nobody should control all branches of government. This is a bad thing.
Sadly, Oregon’s political landscape is shaping up much the same. It looks like Republican Kevin Mannix will win the governorship (though it’s pretty tight at the moment), and the Republicans will maintain control of the House and Senate. Not a good thing for Oregon either, and that’s an understatement, since the Oregon Republican Party as presently constituted is only slightly to the right of Mussolini. Truth be told, though, the Mannix ran a much more effective and energized campaign than Democrat Ted Kulongoski and from a campaigning perspective deserved to win.
The good news for me was the state ballot measures were everything that needed to lose lost, and everything that had to win won. Most of the major national issues seemed to break that same way, so at least that’s a bright spot. I’m looking forward to seeing Florida’s reelected Jeb Bush implement the smaller classroom sizes mandated by voters, especially since he disparaged the initiative earlier. (BTW, there is almost no greater positive educational impact than smaller class sizes.)
It was a near disaster at the local level where both the police emergency services bond and the parks bonds failed. This qualifies as very bad news, but I’m not sure what’s to be done about it. Both measures would have raised taxes considerably, and in this economic climate that’s just not going to fly.