Is that all there is?

Peggy Lee

So the Democrats have taken both the House and Senate. Admittedly, they had a little help from the White House, which managed to turn off many voters with a litany of crimes and errors too long and obvious to mention. But what surprised me is that the Republican majority—especially in the Senate—ended not with a bang but a whimper. The GOP could have put up a fight over the results in Montana and Virginia. In fact, I expected them to, and was surprised that they didn’t. I expected dirty tricks being masterminded by Karl Rove, lawsuits, etc. Nothing. Both Burns and Allen rolled over pretty meekly.

There is always a difference between the way a thing exists in the real world and your mental model of it. In my mental model of today’s GOP, the party is ruthless and effective (among other things). I suspect that many progressives have held a roughly similar model, and the Republicans have done plenty to create it. So the quick concessions are jarring, surprising. It makes me wonder if Democrats have been scaring themselves into paralysis with tales of the big scary boogeyman when the boogeyman really isn’t that big or scary.

3 thoughts on “Is that all there is?”

  1. Something like that did occur to me—that the GOP decided to take their licks now as a form of damage control, and spend the next two years pinning every problem this country will face on the Dems in the hopes of regaining control in ’08.

    I don’t doubt they’ll be doing that, but I don’t think it’s part of any ingenious plan either.

  2. There was an interesting article in Atlantic Monthly on this very subject just before the election. It pretty much said that neither party was sure whether it wanted to be in the majority over the next couple of years because we are in a quagmire and whoever is in power is sure to be blamed. I’m sure that’s partly why the republicans didn’t kill themselves trying to reclaim the majority. The next couple of years are going to be a mess, no matter who is in charge.

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