The House fell to the retrograde Republicans. Voters replaced Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the sophisticated liberal from San Francisco, with John Boehner, the reactionary clod from Ohio.
The Senate, already unable to amass 60 votes to defeat a filibuster, remains in Democratic hands but by a slim margin.
Next Republican target: ousting President Obama in 2012. The moderate liberalism of Obama is out, GOP extremism is in.
The nation is at its lowest ebb since the eight-year nightmare of the President G.W. Bush.
The biggest loss was Sen. Russ Feingold of Wisconsin. He had that rarest of qualities in a politician: integrity.
Feingold, an ardent independent, refused to follow his Democratic Party off the cliff. He was in the mode of that great progressive from Wisconsin, Fighting Bob LaFollette.
Feingold refused to pander to the voters, telling them what they wanted to hear rather than what they needed to hear. This violation of Washington mores cost him his seat.
A distraught friend of mine from Wisconsin, lamenting Feingold’s defeat, said: “most Americans are uneducated and reactionary.” Indeed they are. Their shallowness and stupidity is to the everlasting discredit of America.
One of the few happy notes was the re-election of Nevada’s Harry Reid, Senate majority leader. Teabagger Sharron Angle was so far-out that even backward Nevadans could not vote for her.
That’s why Bill Raggio, Mr. Republican in Nevada for four decades, endorsed Reid.
Outraged Nevada Republicans demanded his head — and got it. Raggio was forced to resign as GOP state Senate leader. His resignation reminds you of that line from “Macbeth”: “Nothing in his life became him like the leaving it.”
Reid could have been beaten by a moderate Republican. Never popular with Nevada voters. Reid barely won six years ago. Against Angle he won handily. The reason: an outpouring of Latino votes for Reid.
Usually, however, Nevada voters followed the national pattern of ignorance. On Question 1 Nevada voters defeated the sensible proposal to appoint judges instead of the nonsensical plan to elect them.
Look at what happened Tuesday in Iowa. A seven-member Iowa Supreme Court had unanimously struck down as unconstitutional a state statute defining marriage as between a man and a woman. For their wisdom three justices facing a retention vote were removed.
This was the reactionary retaliation for so-called “legislators in robes.” It’s really tyranny of the prejudiced.
The same thing happened in California in 1986 when three Supreme Court justices, including the estimable Rose Bird, were jettisoned because they voted against the death penalty on due process or philosophical grounds.
The Nevada congressional delegation lost one of its best people: Rep. Dina Titus. The voters of district three had the ill-wisdom to throw out the liberal Democrat Titus for the hackish Republican Joe Heck.
The voters of California, the most liberal state in the union alongside Massachusetts, defeated Proposition 19 that would have legalized marijuana. The supposedly enlightened Californians proved just as puritanical as the rest of the country.
The vote means the bogus drug war will go on forever.
The meaning of the GOP sweep is also clear: more attempts to turn back the clock, more attempts to repeal even the slightest liberal measures.
Speaker-to-be Boehner denounces what he calls the “monstrosity” of the Obama health care bill. He deplores what he calls “the decay of American society.”
The military’s heinous policy of don’t ask, don’t tell is unlikely to be repealed. No campaign financing reform is likely to be enacted to staunch the flow of money sapping democracy.
Congressional efforts to overturn the rebarbative Supreme Court decision in Citizens United are
That decision signified that the First Amendment belongs to the rich. It meant that the airwaves, which belong to the public, will continue to enrich radio and TV stations during political campaigns instead of the free advertising they should provide as a public service.
The newly energized GOP wants to extend the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy and never mind the enormous budget deficit. That deficit, by the way, could be reduced to zero in six years if all the Bush tax cuts were rescinded.
The GOP never says anything about reducing the Pentagon’s globe-encircling empire. Never anything about the trillion dollar, unnecessary and unwinnable wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan.
As for Boehner, he may have fulfilled the American dream personally but under his regime Americans will find that dream harder and harder to realize.
Jake Highton teaches journalism at the University of Nevada, Reno. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.