Some satisfaction, a lot of schadenfreude, and a side of doom... The 2014 elections are in the can, and I have very mixed feelings about the results.
I get some satisfaction from the fact that the few candidates I actually liked won their elections. Most especially, Mia Love won the election for Representative in the race for Utah's District 4, narrowly beating the Democratic candidate (Owens). She lost by just a few hundred votes in 2012 against a Blue Dog Democrat (Matheson) who didn't run this year. Why do I like her? Mainly because – unlike the vast majority of candidates from any party – she shows evidence of possessing a brain, of competence, and of ideology (things she actually believes in). While I have many points of agreement with her, I also have some disagreements – but she comes across as refreshingly normal, pragmatic, and yet still holding core beliefs that aren't going to change because they don't poll well. I want more politicians like that! For different reasons, I'm happy to see that Scott Walker won his gubernatorial election in Wisconsin. Walker exudes competence as a government executive, and, like Mia Love, has core beliefs that are unwavering. He doesn't have Love's charisma, but his pleasant, Midwest-nice demeanor is at least inoffensive. There are a few other candidates pretty high on my list of “likes” who won as well. Satisfying.
The schadenfreude, on the other hand, runs strong in this election. Oh, the pain that Obama and Reid must have felt in the past few weeks as the polls revealed the looming Democratic disaster! How delicious and enjoyable to contemplate! I will wallow in schadenfreude for weeks!
But there's a side of doom emerging from this, too. That feeling comes from the near-certainty that the victorious Republicans will squander the opportunity just handed to them by the electorate that was so pissed-off at the Democrats. The Republicans now have significant leverage: they control the federal government's purse, they control the confirmation of all future Obama appointments (including the Attorney-General and any Supreme Court vacancies that arise), and they control the legislative reconciliation process. They have no excuse for failing to significantly change ObamaCare (repeal would certainly be vetoed by Obama; change can be forced by controlling the funding). They also have no excuse for failing to force the executive branch to come clean on the IRS scandal, the Benghazi scandal, or the Fast & Furious scandal – to mention just a few. So where's the doom in all that? The doom lies in the probability that the Republicans will do none of these things. Oh, how I would love to be wrong about this! But I'd bet money on my being right...