Live-Blogging The [Not Quite] Bloodbath

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1.06 am A very depressing result in Iowa as all three Justices who voted for marriage equality in the state constitution are removed after a brutal campaign against them by NOM. This has never happened before in Iowa's history of allowing such votes since 1962. NOM is also trying to remove marriage rights from gay couples in New Hampshire - and they may have secured a veto-proof majority to rip gay couples legally apart.

12.54 am Silver's final prediction is a Republican House gain of between 62 and 72 seats. That's a bigger victory than was presaged earlier tonight and it pushes this election past the usual first term mid-term swing.

It means a major victory for the GOP, based on nothing but resistance to Obama and a brilliant, if to my mind, deeply deceptive argument that he was and is merely a Big Government Liberal, when, in fact, circumstances forced his hand much of the time; and his small-c conservatism explains the rest. It was a victory therefore for pure oppositionism - a policy of total non-cooperation that the Republicans decided upon from the very beginning of the Obama presidency - enabled by one of the worst economic climates in decades.

The question for me is: will the GOP propose any serious cuts in entitlement or defense spending in the next two years? I suspect they have no intention of doing so, but the scale of this victory surely demands some kind of budget from the House that actually delivers on what the Tea Party promised.

You can win a mid-term simply by being anti-Obama and anti-incumbent. I don't believe you can win a general election on those grounds alone. If the House betrays the base on spending, the GOP will be vulnerable to another tea-spasm. If the GOP actually proposes serious Medicare and defense cuts, then we'll finally have some sort of resolution as to what this party still stands for, if anything.

The Dish wants this presidency to succeed - but also to get America's long-term fiscal crisis resolved. How those two things interact will be a fascinating thing to watch.

12.47 am Small mercies watch: California may not have legalized cannabis, but Dallas has finally legalized alcohol.

12.43 pm My old friend, and raving socialist, John Cassidy, makes a nicely understated point about the lack of a Republican mandate, and the difficulty of the looming House majority:

Boehner now presides over an uneasy alliance of business conservatives, social conservatives, and Tea Party activists. Selling the American public on the notion that this lot could run the White House might not be so easy.

12.41 am. Just as the House formally shifts to the GOP, Harry Reid pulls out a relatively comfortable victory over Sharron Angle.

12.40 am The Bennet-Buck race is getting excruciatingly close.

12.37 am Legal weed is trailing 56 - 44.

12.36 am Norquist goes for the full metal nihilism:

"I don't want any stinking ideas from presidents," he said, "I want them in harness, pulling the plow."

12.25 am. Jim Newell loses it:

CNN is debating whether Barack Obama has a problem connecting with voters, for the seventh consecutive hour. They never bother to define "connecting," and what he might have to do differently to "connect." Talk in a clown voice? Wear pants for his shirt and a shirt for his pants? Shoot them with Predator drones? Or maybe they mean physically connect, as with glue, or duct tape. It's hard to tell because it's mindless idiot bullshit. Economy! Bad! Look outside the window!

12.19 am. Feingold falls - a man who ran his first campaign in favor of ... deficit reduction.

12.15 am Palinites spin the O'Donnell loss:

Here is a flashback to what Ben Smith from Politico wrote about what Christine O'Donnell's performance meant for Governor Palin back in September: So I'd say that if O'Donnell breaks 40 percent, that's enough to give encouragement to a Palin bid, and it would take a really substantial wipeout to make a plausibly discouraging case. As of right now, O'Donnell is breaking that 40% mark, not far off from the 43% that exit polls showed Mike Castle would receive in a deep blue state like Delaware.

12.13 pm Small mercies watch: Tancredo went down. I wonder if some Democrats might secretly be hoping that Sharron Angle wins. She'd be a fantastic icon for the Tea Party in Congress, the O'Donnell for the next few years. Reid? He should quit and give the leadership to Schumer.

12.08 pm So the Democrats keep the Senate. But Illinois and Pennsylvania seem to be drifting just out of reach. That will make a difference to morale.

12.06 pm Apologies. I got trapped on a BBC TV set, watching John Boehner, tan-free, blubber up about finally getting his American dream. It was a lovely re-branding, but utterly devoid of content. Which is about as good a metaphor for the GOP in this election as one can imagine.

10.40 pm Backlash-lash? A reader writes:

Are you paying attention to this? Early doors, but it looks like Iowa is voting to retain its Supreme Court justices and is rejecting calls to form a new constitutional convention. These are campaigns orchestrated by people who want to reverse the Iowa Supreme Court's ruling that made gay marriage legal in the state. We had millions of dollars from outside the state flood in to convince us that our liberties were being taken away. Iowans saw through it.

10.38 pm The Toomey-Sestak race is getting closer; as with Illinois. They're nail-biters that could eventually spin tonight as a wave or merely a current.

10.34 pm Ferraro and Palin are now competing for the female victim prize on Fox.

10.32 pm The young failed to show up, hence the weakening of the Obama coalition. But that's more a mid-term phenomenon than a general election issue.

10.17 pm. Buck is down in Jefferson County, Colorado. Good news for Bennet.

10.14 pm The price of victory, according to Tim Heffernan:

The question for Boehner (and to a lesser extent Mitch McConnell) will be: how can we balance doing nothing (that is, maintaining popular spending and attacking Obama for it) and appearing to do enough to satisfy the insurgency? If they can't answer that question satisfactorily if the populist anger overcomes the allure of control then, yes, we may well witness a Congressional Republican insurgency like the electoral one we've just been through.

10.09 pm The Tea Party leaders keep misquoting the Founding Fathers.

10.06 pm. Kos warns:

Any Democrat switching parties will face a teabagger primary challenge and will lose it. Guaranteed.

9.57 pm 60 seat gain? That's Silver's adjusted projection:

Frankly, this night is looking slightly anticlimactic, with both the House and the Senate having moved in relatively clear directions so far.

9.55 pm The key to Manchin's victory: Independents.

9.50 pm Not looking so good for Toomey in Pennsylvania. I'm a little surprised at how well some of these Senate Dems seem to be doing. Bennet, Sestak and Giannoulias are comfortably ahead right now. Maybe the results will tighten. (Silver thinks Giannoulias' lead is misleading.)

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