Post Election News Diet

<p>Yesterday was rough.  I am not usually an electoral optimist — well maybe I actually am, having worked for many underdogs I held out hope even after returns started to come in showing by candidate slipping behind — but in the last few weeks I really could not believe that the Republican party energized by Koch brothers funded Tea Party activists and candidates like some crazed frat boys hopped up on Redbull and Vodka would stand so victorious on election day.  I was certain that they would crash and burn across the board.  It does look like the worst candidates were defeated, but that is small consolation. </p>
<p>It is not that I am sad to see so many centrist "Blue Dog" Democrats loose seats that they won on Obama's coat tails just two years ago.  As I read one Democratic Party official in a battle ground state said, I'd rather have real republicans to organize against that fake Democrats.  What upsets me is the shift in the narrative, the loss of whatever scraps of momentum progressive legislation may have had, and the complete and utter failure of the Obama administration and campaign apparatus to convince the American public of its accomplishments.</p>
<p>I hope to never hear the car and ditch analogy ever again. It didn't work. I can understand the temptation to really simplify things for an American electorate that can barely remember last month, let alone last year or back to the last administration, but I'm sure there were folks scratching their head trying to make the connection suggested by the analogy.  The president and the Democrats did not get a car out of a ditch.  They — perhaps inelegantly — averted complete and utter economic catastrophe. Not just in the United States (though we hardly seem united) but in the world really. </p>
<p>Let's take the health care accomplishment off the table (since it will be whittled away by Right Wing idiologs over the next two years) and just focus on banking and the auto industry. The banks have paid back the TARP! Sure they are paying themselves huge bonuses, and not lending out money to small businesses, but they paid the government back, overwhelmingly.  And if we wanted more from them (which we did) it was the Republicans that stood int he way of more impactful financial reform.  And how are things in the auto industry?  General Motors is on the verge of an IPO and the government will make its money back. Millions of Americans have JOBS because of the action our government took to avert a collapse in the auto industry AND the banking industry.</p>
<p>But alas, all water under the bridge I guess.  The election is over. The results are on their way to being certified.  The Democrats lost the house, and we lost some good senators, well at least one good senator — Russ Feingold, I'm sure we've not seen the last of him, but I hope he doesn't primary Obama in 2012. Perhaps he could tag in for Biden? One can dream.  Now the Republicans will have to figure out how to herd an angry litter of ferocious kittens hopped up on tea (even if it is likely to be white tea).  Freshmen legislators, some without any experience legislating. John Boehner will have his hands full, that's for sure. It will be interesting to see if he can maintain his tan.</p>
<p>Last night, before going to bed, I read an <a href="">Op-Ed from Evan Bayh in the New York Times</a>. Earlier in the day I heard a clip from Rachel Maddow who went off on Bayh for retiring and sitting on his campaign war chest rather than helping any Democrats. There is a guy who sounds like he is angling for a run at something higher.  But it is Democrats like Bayh, DINOs (Democrats in Name Only) that lead their party to Tuesday's slaughter. Rather than lining up behind a unified agenda, and acting with discipline to a) move that agenda forward and b) explain its benefits to the public and c) articulate and defend the accomplishments of their party and our president, they often acted in their electoral self interest, or forced the watering down of bills before they were even voted on.</p>
<p>Last thing before I get to the original point of my post which I have not even touched on: Harry Reid.  I think it is time for a new majority leader, perhaps Chuck Schumer. At every turn when Reid could have forced the Republicans to actually stand on the floor reading the phone book, he negotiated, or just backed down. A threat of a filibuster is just that, a threat. In the next session of congress, the filibuster threat/bluff should be called. Make people stand on the record obstructing legislation.</p>
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<p>Ok. So here it is. I am going on a news diet.  The media is out of control.  Watching normally composed tied anchors like Brian Williams or Jim Leher trip over their words as they tried to call the election like a sporting game I was embarrassed for all of them.  I'm glad I did not have access to the cable news networks. I am sure the frenzy was even worse over there.  I think our country would be far better off if we didn't cover elections and especially election day as if it were football game. I am so disappointed with myself that I spent 4 hours or more watching and reading election coverage last night. I am no better off for it.  Just angrier.</p>
<p>So that's it news, I am cutting down on you.  I can't say that I am going to eliminate you completely from my day, maybe 20 minutes to watch the nightly news, and some time on Sunday to read the week in review. But I certainly don't need to check in multiple times a day to see what the latest it.  And I am pretty sure I won't spend another election night like last night's.</p>