The turtle cometh

The election last night wasn’t as bad as it could have been — the teabaggers who’d received much ridicule, Angle and O’Donnell and probably Miller, were defeated (there’s a lesson there, I think) — but sanity did not win out, and the Republicans have taken over the US House, and here in Minnesota, they’ve taken control of both the state house and senate — Democrats have probably won the governorship, but it’s so close that there’s going to be a recount. These next few years are going to be extraordinarily painful. Personally, I’m going to take a hit: the Republicans will do their best to gut education in this state, and while I’ve already taken a pay cut this year, I expect I’ll be seeing more cuts in the future.

It’s not surprising that Democrats lost ground. The economy sucks, which means many people are flailing about for change, and we have to admit it: the Democrats are uninspiring, boring, and unfocused. They can’t deliver a strong message that makes a case for why we should continue to vote for them, and I know in my case that when I went into the election booth, I was simply making an anti-Rethuglican vote; with the exception of a few local candidates, I was not excited about any of the Democrats here.

What really makes me despair, though, is that I can guess exactly how the Democrats will respond to this drubbing. Instead of refocusing on the liberal and progressive values that ought to be their main message, they’re going to turtle up. They do it every time. Instead of trying to distinguish themselves from the loonies on the right, they’ll all move closer to what they’ll call “moderate”, but is actually more of a conservative right-wing position. And the next election will be even worse.

Unless somebody on our side wakes up and realizes that they’re in a fight, and that conciliatory measures are not called for. I’m looking at you, Obama. But somehow, I don’t think he’s the right man for the job.