Yesterday, Democrats picked up 28 seats in the House (double what they needed to take control) and 6 seats in the Senate (exactly what they needed to take control). This is momentous because:
- The Dems have not had control of both houses since 1994
- This is the first time since 1948 that the Democrats didn't lose a single House seat
- President Bush has never governed with anything except the full, unwavering support of both chambers of Congress
However, this isn't what you might call a historic election.
- In 1994, Republicans took control of the house by gaining 54 seats. They took control of the Senate by gaining 8 seats.
- In 1948, Democrats retook the House by gaining 75 seats! They retook the Senate by gaining 9 seats.
- Democrat control is slight - 1 vote in the Senate and 14 in the House. This is a far cry from 1964, when the Dems had a 155-seat majority!
At the beginning of my post, I said that I could breathe for the first time in 6 years. Actually, 2000 is just when it got really bad. For my entire adult life, Republicanism has been on the rise in America. This is the first time it feels like somebody isn't waiting to jump down my throat. When Bill Clinton became President in 1992, right-wing talk radio smothered the airwaves with the 2-minutes hate. 2 minutes became 2 years, then 14 years, while the shrill cries of victimization continued to rain down on us. Today, those voices are silent. Well, if not silent, less noisy. They've taken to cannibalizing their own, something they watched Democrats do for years with great relish.
But what's really exciting about these results is that the highly corrupt and ineffectual Republican majority is no more. For 6 years, they have been no better than a rubber stamp for Bush's inane ideas. Look, everyone knows Bush is an idiot. It wasn't his idea to run for President. He doesn't even do most of the Presidenting work. It's hard to blame him for that. He is what he is. It's not hard to blame Republican Congressmen for jumping to do his every crazy bidding. They've been guilty of dereliction of their duty. Their jobs are to serve their constituents. Instead, they serve the Party. That won't happen anymore.
I'm really not hoping for the days of 60%+ Democrat majorities in Congress. I don't think that kind of power is good for anyone. Democrats have a long history of abuse of power in the 40 straight years of controlling the House. But Republicans seem to be worse. In 12 years, they have redefined abuse of power, from redistricting between censuses to allowing the President to defy the Constitution. Not to mention the excess of bribery, sexual abuse, and general corruption.
We've got a long way to go to fix this country. But it starts today.