Election 2010

It could have been worse: Harry Reid won, the Democrats retained control of the Senate, Christine O’Donnell lost, Barbara Boxer won.  The rest is too sad to recount, especially in my own state.

I’ve weathered these storms before, when Nixon crushed McGovern in 1972, and when Reagan and W. won twice.  The morons come and go, but at least there’s still a Democrat at the top.

We can look forward to two years of stalemate as the party of “no” keeps anything from happening. It’s going to be a grim period.

Lubrication may help:


  1. GM
    Posted November 3, 2010 at 5:42 am | Permalink

    I never understood why is it that very intelligent people all over the US think of the democrats as the good guys.

    The reality is that there are the bad guys (the democrats) and the really bad guys (the republicans), but in general there is very little to distinguish them in their ideology, and even less in what they do when in office. Both parties are entirely for rampant free market capitalism (with even that being second in their list of priorities, the first always being to get in office by any means possible) and none really stands for science and reason.

    The worst is that the distance between the two parties is magnitudes of order smaller than the distance between each of them and what actually has to be done…

    • Posted November 3, 2010 at 5:49 am | Permalink

      That’s the conventional wisdom; but even though our liberals would be conservatives elsewhere there are still marked differences between the Dems and the Repubs. There’s this whole “destroy governemnt” thing that the Republicans claim that they want to do.

    • Posted November 3, 2010 at 6:42 am | Permalink

      To quote Heinlein (in one of his few actually accurate adages): The difference between bad and worse is a lot more important than the difference between good and better.

      Republicans want to actively destroy most progressive programs. Democrats are mostly too spineless to promote anything good if they have to take any risks, but they aren’t actively trying to gut Social Security, Medicare or health care.

      See the difference? Evil vs spineless. I held my nose and voted for the spineless wonders myself.

      • GM
        Posted November 3, 2010 at 6:47 am | Permalink

        I see absolutely no material difference. BAU continues, no matter who is in office. A lot of the deregulation that lead to the financial crisis happened in the last years of Clinton. And the Kyoto protocol should have been signed at the same time too.

        I don’t disagree with the basic point that it does matter whether the situation is merely or bad or absolutely disastrous.

        But you have to understand my point which is that people have to understand that no meaningful change can happen within the framework of the current socio-political system, because the socio-political system itself is the problem and all the talk about elections and who will be in office and who will not be only distracts us from the real issues we’re facing

        • whyevolutionistrue
          Posted November 3, 2010 at 6:51 am | Permalink

          Sorry, but you’re full of it. “No meaningful change can happen within the framework of the current socio-political system?” That’s just cant, unless, of course, you define “meaningful change” as “that change that can’t happen within the current socio-polotical system.”


          • GM
            Posted November 3, 2010 at 6:58 am | Permalink

            OK, so how exactly is the current socio-political system going to take care of global warming for example?

            It seems to me like the system is working as it’s supposed to. People, true to their human nature, are worried about their jobs and short-term well-being, the long-term future of humanity is an afterthought. So of course, no politician is ever going to openly admit to threatening those jobs (that’s why all the talk about “green jobs” accompanying even the already inadequate measure proposed). And nothing gets done.

            The system works as it is supposed to, the problem is that the system isn’t designed to deal with the kind of problem we have to deal with today. It is incapable of even recognizing them…

            • D'oh!
              Posted November 3, 2010 at 8:24 am | Permalink

              Just want to point out that here in California, voters pretty resoundingly defeated an effort to repeal our Global Warming law, even though the proponents of the repeal were strongly pushing the notion that the law would cost plenty of jobs in a state hard-hit by unemployment…

            • GM
              Posted November 3, 2010 at 11:56 am | Permalink

              And I just want to point out that the law that they wanted to repeal was completely inadequate to do the job.

              Unless someone mentions growth as the root problem of all sustainability crises, and seriously proposes that we stop and reverse it, then you know he is BS-ing you.

        • Posted November 3, 2010 at 7:18 am | Permalink

          You have a point. We are effectively a two-party system despite the occasional in-roads made by non-Dems/non-Republicans. But ever since the whole Gore/Bush/Nader thing, I sense that most progressive democrats would rather have their vote count, than not (i.e., vote for a candidate that actually has a chance at winning rather than symbolically cast it at a 3rd party candidate). And that, of course, is the problem…no change can come from playing it safe (and not everyone agrees that Nader cost Gore the victory).

          But I really don’t believe in the whole “dems and republicans are the same” If you go to votesmart.org and randomly compare the voting record of any democrat versus any republican–on average, they are often very different. Similarities emerge when either party candidate is up for re-election and then they tend to cast votes to preserve their political future rather than their ideals.

          • GM
            Posted November 3, 2010 at 7:19 am | Permalink

            Of course, there are difference, the question is whether there are difference on issues that matters. The answer is no, those aren’t even discussed most of the time

            • Posted November 3, 2010 at 9:06 am | Permalink

              I guess women’s rights rights, gay rights and minority rights don’t matter, to you. I guess the fact that one side voted for healthcare reform and the other did everything they could to stop it doesn’t make them any different… to you. Once you’ve narrowed your focus to what has been accomplished recently under a single issue of your choosing, then yeah, I can see how you have a hard time distinguishing the two parties.

            • GM
              Posted November 3, 2010 at 9:33 am | Permalink

              Of course, the survival of civilization pales in comparison to the importance of gay issues. And, of course, the culture shift needed for taking care of it will by no means also result in the disappearance of the problem with gay rights…

            • r
              Posted November 3, 2010 at 10:40 am | Permalink

              right. im sure a democrat would have filled the supreme court with scalia, rhenquist, roberts, and that other douchebag that im not going to waste time trying to remember.

              stem cells, also too.

            • Posted November 3, 2010 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

              Hey, you’re the one saying the ONLY important issue is whether or not the current administration fixes the climate change problem. I’m just saying that most of us are capable of caring about more than one issue at at time.

            • GM
              Posted November 3, 2010 at 1:11 pm | Permalink

              I think I used the words “for example” when I talked about climate change. Climate change isn’t even the most pressing sustainability crisis we have to solve, I just used it as an example as it is most likely that people have heard of it.

          • Posted November 3, 2010 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

            You are effectively a two-party system because you don’t have proportional representation. Here in New Zealand we have had much more representative government (more women, more Maori, more Pacific Islanders, more {openly} gay, more {openly} lesbian, one transgender) since we switched. What are your chances of electoral reform?

      • What a maroon
        Posted November 3, 2010 at 6:51 am | Permalink

        When the Democrats were in power over the past 80 years, they passed Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and now health care reform. Yes, they can be spineless in defending their record, and I wish they had done something about energy policy/global warming, but those are real accomplishments that the Republicans haven’t been able to touch (I’m projecting with health care, but despite the rhetoric the goppers won’t overturn it anytime soon, and I suspect that ten years from now it’ll be untouchable).

    • JohnJay
      Posted November 3, 2010 at 7:44 am | Permalink

      There is a BIG difference between Repubs and Dems if you are gay. The last time Repubs felt frisky under W., there was serious talk of a U.S. Constitutional amendment pushing for limiting marriage to be ONLY between one man and one women. That would have invalidated the few states here where same-sex marriage is legal. Plus state-level repubs catering to religious groups push for similar state level amendments.
      NOM (national organization for marriage) sent out gloating tweets last night of how their efforts in NH have now produced a veto-proof Repub majority that will repeal marriage equality there.

      In several states (TX and Montana)… the Repub platforms actually call for re-criminalizing homosexual acts.

      More generally, Repubs tend to be the ones who see nothing wrong in teaching BOTH evolution and devine design in public schools… etc, etc.

      • Microraptor
        Posted November 3, 2010 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

        Actually, they do often see that there’s something wrong with teaching BOTH evolution and creationism- they can’t stand evolution.

  2. Dominic
    Posted November 3, 2010 at 5:45 am | Permalink

    Sympathies from the other side of the Atlantic. Don’t be too abusive to your poor liver though. On the plus side, you obviously have good taste – & a malt I have not seen in the shops here. I have to take a trip here so I can drink a toast to American Liberalism!

  3. Juha Savolainen
    Posted November 3, 2010 at 6:00 am | Permalink

    OK, I know that it may be a bit pompous to quote my own FB comment, but as US elections are important also for Europeans, here it is:

    “Corporate America, winner by default…Welcome to the Tea Party, Sarah Palin will provide the entertainment! Koch brothers will charge you later for the fun, make sure that you have your Social Security and Medicare ready – no mortgages are accepted!”

    Just my two euros…

    • GM
      Posted November 3, 2010 at 6:02 am | Permalink

      What I said above applies, to a lesser, but not much lesser, extent to Europe too

      • Juha Savolainen
        Posted November 3, 2010 at 6:52 am | Permalink

        Sure, but it will be worse now: it can almost always be even worse – only total annihilation is the non plus ultra…

        I also want to quote here Simon Johnson (the former chief economist of the World Bank) who wrote with Peter Boone “The new feudal overlords of Europe will be the bankers of the ECB”, back in May, for the impeccably conservative “The Telegraph”:

        “According to the economist
        Friedrich von Hayek, the development of welfare socialism after the Second World War undermined freedom and would lead Western democracies inexorably to some form of state-run serfdom.
        Hayek had the sign and the destination right, but was wrong about the mechanism. Unregulated finance, the ideology of unfettered free markets, and state capture by corporate interests are what ended up undermining democracy both in North America and in Europe…

        Hayek’s predicted demise of western society as he knew it will prove correct, but welfare socialism will prove the victim, erased by a political and financial elite gone awry.”

        The funny thing nowadays is that people like Johnson, Martin Wolf (the main editor of FT), Paul Volcker (the former Chair of Fed) et al. tend to be more daring and consistent in their critiques of financial & corporate capitalism than the politicians who are supposed to defend the interests of the common people…

        As for the Tea Parties, Part 1 and Part 2, well, both were inspired by self-interest.
        Money talks and moves the world. But ideologically, the difference is Tom Paine’s “Common Sense” vs. Sarah Palin’s Nonsense…

        • Juha Savolainen
          Posted November 3, 2010 at 7:04 am | Permalink

          Sorry, tired brains make ugly tricks…Of course, Johnson is the former chief economist of the IMF…

  4. Posted November 3, 2010 at 6:04 am | Permalink

    I’m just relieved that now we can get people working again by the tried and proven method of cutting taxes for rich people.

    What do you mean it doesn’t work?!!!!

    Don’t drink too much — we need a few people who can still think in the US, even if only to record its gradual descent into Somalia-likeness.

  5. Posted November 3, 2010 at 6:14 am | Permalink

    Even though I’ve been on the wagon for 8 years, I’ll sleep a little easier knowing that a defeated Sharron Angle will shuffle off into a malefactor’s cave somewhere.

  6. Insightful Ape
    Posted November 3, 2010 at 6:36 am | Permalink

    It is bad news for the planet though. Plankton continues to die off, sea levels continue to rise, and coral reefs get dissolved in increasingly acidic occeans.
    In a hundred years human life will be very different from today (for starters, no more sea food). It is cold comfort for me that by that time I’ll be long gone.

    • GM
      Posted November 3, 2010 at 6:39 am | Permalink

      Correct, it’s bad news. However, the democrats had two years of almost full control of the government, they could have passed a at least somewhat serious climate bill in the first days after Obama entered office, and what did they do about those issues?

      • Pete Moulton
        Posted November 3, 2010 at 7:07 am | Permalink

        You may have forgotten the fact that the GOPers filibustered virtually every important bill in the last two years. They have no policy, but they sure can obstruct.

        • CDubya
          Posted November 3, 2010 at 8:15 am | Permalink

          I suspect that if the Senate Democrats had made the Republicans actually go through the filibuster process instead of simply threatening to filibuster the D’s could have done more a lot more for progressives. But that would have cut into their beauty rest, fundraising, and vacation time. Let’s not pretend they were powerless to get things done. I voted D while wishing I had a better option.

    • Dominic
      Posted November 3, 2010 at 7:31 am | Permalink

      An interesting article on the BBC website last week on echinoderms & ocean acidification –
      The removal of humans from the equation may well give another great boost (like mass extinctions in the past) to evolution, as the generalists & survivors spread to fill the void.

      There is a Eropean Projects on Ocean Acidification web log here for those interested –

    • MadScientist
      Posted November 3, 2010 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

      Unfortunately many legislators believe that global warming is not a human problem because their god will step in and work miracles to save us all. Those who don’t believe that believe that destroying the earth is a biblical prophecy which we should be delighted may happen within our own lifetime. Jesus comes again after 2000 years!

  7. jay
    Posted November 3, 2010 at 6:51 am | Permalink

    This seems to be of the assumption, painfully wrong, that Dems=’good guys’

    Personally I don’t want to see either major party unopposed.

  8. sherkat
    Posted November 3, 2010 at 6:59 am | Permalink

    If Obama hadn’t let Rahm and Blago pick his placeholder, he could have picked Sheila Simon and she would have been in the Senate for life.

  9. Sven DiMilo
    Posted November 3, 2010 at 8:15 am | Permalink

    The more things change, the more they
    Stay the same.
    he more things stay the same
    The more I go insane.

    • Sven DiMilo
      Posted November 3, 2010 at 8:16 am | Permalink

      + T

    • Posted November 3, 2010 at 4:16 pm | Permalink

      Last summer I was bored and without internets so I wrote a fictitious and silly origin myth around this very idea.
      Here is the link

      In case I messed up the html tags:

  10. Mirik
    Posted November 3, 2010 at 9:08 am | Permalink

    I feel for you all, kind US skeptics.

    My personal wish is for all of rational and sane humanity to congregate in Europe and make it such a powerhouse of intellectual, social and environmental superiority that the moron-nations of the world can’t but accept the obvious truths of the system.

  11. Posted November 3, 2010 at 11:04 am | Permalink

    Well, there is a chance that we might keep the Republicans from stealing the governor’s race.

    And our local state House candidate won 62-38; I worked that campaign on election day. 🙂

  12. Kevin
    Posted November 3, 2010 at 11:23 am | Permalink

    So, I’m rather sanguine about the whole thing.

    The one sure thing that won’t happen is any kind of overturning of the health care legislation. Not with a Dem Senate and Obama in the White House.

    Other than that, the Republicans now have to actually try to “do” something other than obstruct everything.

    No, we won’t see any progress on things like climate change. DADT had darn well better get repealed in the lame duck session, or it’ll have to be handled by the courts. And there will be precisely and exactly zero incentive to look more deeply at our military-industrial complex with an eye towards where we might want to reduce our involvement (hint: it ain’t just Iraq and Afghanistan).

    But there will be no major backwards steps taken, either.

    Yesterday, the “change” voters won…two years ago, a different set of “change” voters won. Seems like every election cycle, someone mad enough at the current system to demand “change” wins.

    And, on the bright side, we can look forward to 6 years of Rand Paul becoming a laughingstock. I predict he will earn the sobriquet of “Least Effective Senator in US History.”

    • Posted November 3, 2010 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

      The main thing the Republicans will do is to pass bill after bill cutting taxes for rich people — er, I mean for “job creation” — bully the Senate into passing them lest they fillibuster other stuff or call them boogerheads, and then blame the uppity colored guy for vetoing their “job creation” legistation. But of course Obama will sign some of slightly watered down version of it to “reach across the divide”.

      Plus, they will impeach Obama for lying about his secret Muslimness or, heck, just for being uppity.

      • Kevin
        Posted November 3, 2010 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

        Time will tell, but I predict otherwise.

  13. MadScientist
    Posted November 3, 2010 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

    It looks like god was winning the most seats. Now that the Democrats have lost the majority in the house of representatives, I guess it will be business as usual with the Democrats failing to push any of those laws which they couldn’t pass when they did have a majority in the Senate as well as the House. Of course it’s always bad news that there are even more people who believe in a theocracy in both chambers of congress.

  14. oldfuzz
    Posted November 3, 2010 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

    The hope (there’s always hope) is that the new Senators from Colorado, Washington and Alaska (may be the old one, but with a new charter?) will remember that half or more (Alaska) voted for someone else.

    We get to do it every two years. This was my twenty sixth and while I have been disappointed more than pleased, I’ve been able to live the life I choose.

  15. Michieux
    Posted November 3, 2010 at 7:47 pm | Permalink

    I’m an Australian and well left of center, whatever that means. But “the party of’no’?” Haven’t the Dems played the same fatuous games when in that position?

    I’m currently backing the Greens Party hereabouts; they’re young and fresh, and seemingly untainted, led by an openly gay man who seems to be one of the few principle politicians extant.

    Yet I’m under no illusions should this party ever become mainstream. I expect they’ll be every bit as “pragmatic” as anyone else who’s ever reached those shallow heights.

    Color me blighted.

  16. Michieux
    Posted November 3, 2010 at 7:50 pm | Permalink

    I’m an Australian and well left of center, whatever that means. But “the party of ‘no’?” Haven’t the Dems played the same fatuous games when in that position?

    I’m currently backing the Greens Party hereabouts; they’re young and fresh, and seemingly untainted, led by an openly gay man who seems to be one of the few principled politicians extant.

    Yet I’m under no illusions should this party ever become mainstream. I expect they’ll be every bit as “pragmatic” as anyone else who’s ever reached those shallow heights.

    Color me blighted.

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