Now that the elections are behind us and the Democrats have scored a resounding tactical victory by retaking the Congressional majority, there are a few important issues that need to be pointed out:
First, I’m not going to congratulate anyone, nor am I going to sit here like the President and the incoming Democrat Congressional leadership and talk about how I plan on trying to work with the Democrats. Anyone that believes Bush and presumptive House Speaker Nancy Pelosi are going to find common bipartisan ground is indeed spending too much time being.well, stoned. What may have seemed bitter partisan rivalry in Congress to this point will be remembered as a quaint period of gentle pleasantry compared to what’s coming.
Second, you’re not going to see a lot of whining on our part. Two years ago, the level of bellyaching and crying, not to mention the lack of an ability to take responsibility for their own loss, made Democrats and liberals on our campus look like the big bunch of oversensitive babies they almost always reveal themselves to be. One only had to look at all the claims about moving out of the country as well as the ranting that the electorate was just stupid to see this. When you ask a Republican or a Conservative why we lost our majority, we don’t claim that it was divisive issues, or faulty voting machines, or any other outside influence; we place the blame squarely on ourselves. Find me a Democrat or a liberal who ever blamed themselves for their own electoral misfortune, and I’ll show you someone who is about to switch parties.
Third, and of course most importantly, the election was a complete and total repudiation of liberalism. In spite of the fact that the most liberal members of the House and Senate Democrat conferences will ascend to the top of the new Congressional majorities in January, they owe their positions not to a triumph of liberal ideas, but to a triumph of conservatism.
As I’ve mentioned before, liberal ideas are not popular regardless of what you may have heard here in the diametric of reality. Those Democrat candidates that stunned the political world by helping to bring about a Democrat majority in the House and Senate – candidates like Joe Sestak in Pennsylvania, James Webb in Vriginia, and Heath Shuler in North Carolina – did so not by campaigning on typical liberal values, but on issues such as national defense, fiscal conservatism, gun ownership rights, and traditional family values. Democrats fled en masse from issues such as entitlement spending, universal health care, and cuts in defense spending that liberals have championed for years.
Governing is an entirely different matter than opposing. Republicans found that out the hard way. Although many of you are celebrating Tuesday’s victory-as well you should-you’re also celebrating people who are against most of the values you hold dear. When all is said and done, you may be the victims of your own success. And success always seems to be something Democrats fall on by accident.
Scott Wacholtz is a graduate student concentrating in Middle Eastern history. He may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.