I was going to write the best possible post-mortem on the midterms, but this guy beat me to it
Even before the results of Tuesday’s elections became clear, I was looking forward to writing something of unrivaled brilliance on what it all meant and what we could look forward to in the coming months as the political showdowns of 2016 draw near.
But I’ve suddenly discovered that I can’t come up with anything better than what Timothy Egan has written in THIS PIECE, excerpts of which include these gems:
Having worked tirelessly to make the Senate inert, Mitch McConnell now says he wants it to be relevant again. The man most likely to head the Environment and Public Works Committee, Senator James Inhofe of Oklahoma, would flunk a high school science class. He claims climate change is a huge hoax.
David Letterman had the best line of the campaign. “Take a look at this: Gas under $3 a gallon — gas under $3 a gallon! Unemployment under 6 percent — who ever thought? Stock market breaking records every day. No wonder the guy [President Obama] is so unpopular.”
Where substance was allowed on Tuesday’s ballot — minimum wage increases in four red states, gun background checks in a blue state — big majorities did what the new Congress never will.
On to 2016…
Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush are poised to complete some unfinished business. Bush would be running for the second term of his dad, the now beloved George H.W., and to make everyone forget the two terms of his brother. And Clinton would be running for a third term of her husband, the most popular president of the last 20 years and the last Democrat who knew how to win over white people in red states.
Call it monarchy in a country that got its start by throwing off a king, or a dynasty in a nation that still likes to think of itself as a model of egalitarianism. But a moderate Bush and a problem-solving Clinton are really the only choices. Everyone else is flawed in special ways.
Take Senator Rand Paul, who always manages to look like a guy who just woke up from a long nap and missed a button on his shirt. Sure, he has some of his kooky father’s baggage, the 18th-century view of 21st-century issues. But of late, Paul’s been trying a little outreach beyond the Republican base of old white Southerners. He thinks our prisons shouldn’t be stuffed with drug offenders, predominantly black. He says Republicans should not be passing laws making it harder for the poor, minorities and students to vote. And he says his party’s brand “sucks” — his word — in many, many parts of the country.
All of this will get him nowhere, and be replayed in attacks ads, when the Republican presidential primary moves to its whitest of bastions in the South.