I doubt I can add much to the commentary about the quite satisfying results of yesterday's voting, but I've been harping about the election for so long, as so many of us have, that I can't be expected to leave the day behind without at least offering my own post-election thoughts.
The ever-shrinking part of me that clings to optimism (currently occupying the space between tip of left big toe and first toe-knuckle) wants to think Republican leaders will learn the right lesson from yesterday's drubbing: that the country as a whole has little tolerance for. . .well, for intolerance. Certainly GOP dead-enders will claim Romney lost because of insufficient conservativism, but, while Mittens was undoubtedly a flawed candidate, no lack of ideological purity caused his downfall. Does anyone truly believe ultraconservatives DIDN'T vote for Mitt in large numbers? If the argument is that an uninspiring candidate depressed conservative turnout, then that means a substantial number of Tea-Party true-believers felt more comfortable with the a second Obama term than with an imperfect but at least SOMEWHAT more ideologically copacetic Romney administration. I don't buy it. I personally suspect Tea Partiers turned out in droves for the chance to turn out Obama. I suspect, indeed, that this is the ONLY reason Romney racked up about 50% of the popular vote.
Republicans keep trying to convince themselves and us that there is this tremendous demand on the part of the majority of Americans for some return to mythical conservative values when the facts--the observable if much maligned material of the reality-based community--are so clearly opposite. Are Republicans blind to the fact that, in five of the last six presidential elections, a majority of voters expressed a preference for the other guy? Or they could just look at yesterday's Senate results! If there is such overwhelming preference for red-blooded conservatives, why did Todd "Legitimate Rape" Akin in Republican-leaning Missouri and Richard "Rape Babies Are Just God's Way of Making Lemonade Out of Lemons" Mourdock in reliable Red State Indiana, both lose? Why was Allen "Obama's a Communist" West tossed out in Florida? Among a certain Republican subset, Romney may conjure the image of a Rebublican-in-name-only, but no one could accuse Akin, Mourdock, and West of holding anything but the purest of conservative credentials. As Edward G. Robinson might snarl, "Where's yer groundswell, now, eh?"
Part of me hopes the GOP doesn't wake up. Let the party devour itself in internecine bickering until it goes the way of Whigs and Tories and Bull Mooses and other extinct political fauna. At the same time, I worry that, if the Republicans DON'T come to their senses, and something bizarre were to happen, we could end up with a President Ryan--a thought that should appeal to no one. Maybe Boehner and company will face reality and we can get something like civility out of our elected leaders--to say nothing of governance. I won't hold my breath.
In the meantime, we can all breathe a little easier today and, perhaps, for the next four years. And by 2016, maybe Elizaabeth Warren will be ready to take a shot at the office. A boy can dream, no?