So where are we now? Well, the Republicans have a lot of promises to deliver on. But blowing big opportunities is unfortunately not foreign to their past experiences (nor is it for the Democrats). Some academics have suggested that government as now constituted just cannot function in this modern word of the Internet and 24 hour cable news. They may have a point, but having some knowledge of how politics works, as a one time speechwriter for a U.S. Senator, and a broadcast journalist, and once even being approached to run for office by some powers-that-be, I am not optimistic that enough current politicians on either side of the political spectrum will ever forgo personal ambition for the good of the country. Time and again, I have seen idealistic candidates become disillusioned once elected and finding out how things work in the real world of governance.
As a nation, I don't think we can be proud of the recent campaigns. On either side. More uncivil, bigoted, and abusive behavior was present than ever occurred leading up to the famous 1804 duel between Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton. Racism reared its ugly head on more than one occasion, aimed at both black and Latino candidates. But I think some of the most egregious example of how low we've sunk in our political discourse is the demonization of such women candidates as Christine O'Donnell and Nancy Pelosi. Whatever their respective political positions, both women are intelligent and sincere in their beliefs. Unlike some of the hypocracy present among so many candidates, they spoke out with passion and never-wavering authenticity.
In terms of Christine O'Donnell, whom I definitely disagree with on most issues, I think she is a charming media figure and absolutely a better sport than most men would be if they were subjected to the treatment she received at the hands of Karl Rove and late night comedians. You may say that Karl Rove shouldn't be grouped with Jay Leno, Jimmy Kimmel, and David Letterman--but I think that's exactly where he belongs. Her post-election appearance on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno was a study in graciousness and honesty. I have much more respect for her than I do for the majority of pundits on Fox, she is refreshingly human and she might have made an interesting U.S. Senator. But she has the last laugh, as probably the person who has gained the most in this last election--an opportunity to capitalize on worldwide fame. I imagine she is fielding a lot more varied and interesting offers right now than almost any other candidate, winner or loser.
So it's all over, though for me I still have to take my friend Gregg to dinner as a result of the Democrats losing the House. Most pundits on both sides are predicting two years of gridlock, with little or nothing getting done in Washington. Maybe that's a good thing. I don't know, quite honestly, whether we are better or worse off for now having a split government. There are good arguments for both sides of that debate. But I do know that I will continue to be fascinated, frustrated, and amused by politics in general and certain candidates in particular. Maybe that's the American Way.