There’s been a lot of talk about the impending Democratic domination of Congress.
Personally, I think this is going to be something of a “short, sharp shock.” and for the following reasons:
– I don’t know that the Democrats will get to 60 in the Senate, but even if they landed a few votes on either side of the mark (say, at 57 on the low end or 61 on the high end), I don’t know how much difference that will make.
Obama will very likely have at least 52% of the vote (best vote share for a Democrat since LBJ), just under 3/5 of the Senate, and very likely about 3/5 of the House.
Any numbers within a decent margin of this are semantics, and I would be shocked if most Republicans did not believe as much.
– With a margin this large, the Democrats will probably get most of their agenda through. Failure to do so will result in an ‘ineffective’ label getting slapped on them (bad), and anything that goes wrong now falls to them under, as Colin Powell once called it, the Pottery Barn principle: They break it (or fail to fix it), and it’s theirs.
– As a result of this, for better or worse, it will be the Democrats’ turn to alienate people.
Governing coalitions do this invariably; FDR did this starting with the court packing mess, LBJ with Vietnam, Bush Sr. with the flip on “no new taxes”, Clinton with Jocelyn Elders, and Bush Jr. with … well, a bit more than I think anyone thought he would.
Republicans’ best bet, at this point, is to keep doing what they’re doing: Raising concerns about an unchecked Presidency/unchecked Democratic control.
While most Democrats are furious, most of the independents who Bush alienated during the ’03-’06 (let alone any soft Republicans Obama might be hoping to stick onto his coalition) probably aren’t keen on the idea of handing over all the keys to the Democrats, especially in a landslide fashion. There’s a lot of dust in the air about what the Democrats will do with such unchecked control, after all, and the suggestions (universal health care, etc.) are probably enough to make said soft voters a bit worried.
As much as Republicans may have enjoyed unified government (after all, let’s not forget that it was the Democrats who were crowing the risks of said unity only 4-6 years ago), the problems of unity (particularly questionable accountability at times) are clear…and so, regrettably, is bipartisan hypocrisy on this point.