Except for 1974 when Watergate padded the rolls of Tip O’Neill’s majority with another 48 votes, Congress never got much of my attention during my politically impressionable years.

It just was not very exciting.

Until Newt Gingrich busted through in 1994 with a 54-seat gain for the GOP, we just assumed Democrats would always control the U.S. House of Representatives.  (Democrats took over Congress after the 1948 elections, and continued in power for the next 48 years.)

Now two back-to-back mid-term elections turning the Democrats out after just 4 years may be teaching our children a new lesson.   A 30-seat shift to the Democrats in the ’06 mid-term and now the 64-seat shift back to the GOP in this year’s mid-term is proving something that was there all along.

We the people are in charge in this government.  No question about it.  Just think about all the politicians we have moving in and out of offices over the upcoming holidays.  

Feel good about it if you want.  We the people made it happen.

So, what’s the problem?  The problem is we are like the guy giving directions—“Go left; turn right; no keep going straight—” who does not know where he going.  

Lots of moving around, but are we going anywhere?

Sure, we may like taking power away from presidents by voting in a House controlled by the opposite party.  Our present for Bush was Pelosi and now we are giving Boehner to Obama.

Other than to say what goes around comes around, what does this mean exactly?  It means, I think, that the voting public is mighty confused.  Maybe that’s unfair.  Our system is like a go-cart without a steering wheel so we can only push one pedal to get left and the other one to go right.

Right now those voters in the middle–the deciders–are plunging on the right pedal, but that won’t last.

One of the old Washington hands said now there is a 5 or 6 month window when there might be some forward traction before everything tilts into the 2012 Presidential campaign.

While that window is open–however briefly—serious people will try and make sense out of all these elections.   May they do a better job than I.


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  • Linda

    This is the most calm, level-headed perspective I’ve heard about these past elections. There’s just been too much anger and name calling and not enough talk of what these officials are actually going to do for us as public servants besides line their own pockets from lobbyists.

  • From your comments, I am guessing you are a baby boomer. I am a child of the 50’s. We were in general a very docile generation. The rapid election turn around is a reflection of something I have noticed before. Your generation has never grown up. The protests of the 60’s taught them the lesson that, like toddlers, if you scream loud enough, maybe someone will give you the candy just to shut you up. Not to say that sometime, the screaming wasn’t justified, it is just that maybe the candy isn’t a good solution on the long run.

  • Jean

    The Democrats cater to the far left. The Republicans cater to the far right. In my opinion, the far left is a bunch of idiots and the far right scares me to death. Like the overwhelming majority of US citizens, I’m squarely in the middle. Where’s our party? We have no representation in government.