Live-Blogging The [Not Quite] Bloodbath


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.)

9.47 pm Homer Simpson syndrome and fat finger problems in Pennsylvania.

9.45 pm O'Donnell says she has changed Delaware politics for ever. Sure has. Oh and "we've got lots of food here. So let's party!"

9.41 pm. Of the five toss-up seats in the Senate, the Dems are ahead in the three now reporting.

9.38 pm Rubio bravely confronts those who do not believe in America.

9.32 pm John Cole takes a whack:

Grayson is getting killed. Probably for not being progressive enough. ... I bet if we got the public option Grayson would be winning. Just because.

9.30 pm Dogs walked. House won by Republicans. JPod was off, as a reader notes:

Yarmuth voted FOR Obamacare. Moreover, the "Nazi" guy was not in KY. I do not know what JPod is smoking.

8.51 pm. It looks as if Manchin has won West Virginia. The Dems will keep the Senate in all likelihood, well in 88 percent likelihood at this point.

8.45 pm A small sign that GOP expectations and media hype may have gotten a little out of hand. Ponnuru does a pre-spin post-spin spin:

Whether or not Republicans meet the expectations that people have acquired over the last few days, it’s worth remembering how different things looked at the start of the year (let alone the start of 2009, when people were saying the Democrats would probably gain Senate seats because the map favored them). People are barely talking about the GOP Senate wins in Indiana and Missouri but at the start of this year both of them were considered real races. And few people were paying close attention to Wisconsin.

8.43 pm Gotta walk the dogs. Back in a bit.

8.40 pm Silver's model now predicts a 57 seat gain for the GOP in the House. It's slowly going up.

8.35 pm It's only, er, 8.35 pm and Pareene is already pissy:

Wolf Blitzer is literally impossible to pay attention to. If Manchin wins, it is either evidence that there is or isn't a "wave," according to the CNN panel.

What would we do without them?

8.32 A Senate white-out: there will now be zero African-Americans in that body.

8.29 pm The GOP wins the anti-banker vote. Seriously:

Who's to blame for the economy? Bankers (34%), Bush (29%), Obama (24%). Of those who blame bankers, Republicans hold an 11 point advantage.

8.25 pm Democratic Delaware: O'Donnell loses, and the open House seat is projected by CNN to be won by the Dem.

8.17 pm The Nazi re-enacter loses. JPod sighs.

8.09 pm It sure looks like Alan Grayson is headed for a very hard landing. Rubio is over 50 percent - humiliating for Crist, Meek ... and Bill Clinton.

8.03 pm Democrat Yarmuth wins in Kentucky. This was regarded as a harbinger for the Democrats. If he won, it shouldn't be quite-so-bad for them. And it looks like a healthy lead right now, FWIW.

8 pm The early exits for Prop 19 not so encouraging:

Though voters ages 18 to 39 generally support Proposition 19 by slim margins, the measure is trailing among voters 40 and older... The first wave of 1,500 voter interviews did not show unusually high turnout among young voters.

Kleiman sighs. Or exhales. And Captain Hindsight shows up.

7.58 pm Lexington, Kentucky goes all gay on us.

7.55 pm Brilliant insight of the night:

"If we see a surge of an angry tide of voters, the Democrats are cooked."

Yep, Eliot Spitzer. Ride that cooked wave, baby.

7.46 pm. Weigel on the early results:

There are no good signs for Democrats in Indiana, where they hoped to hold at least four of their five House seats -- losing only the only vacated by Brad Ellsworth -- and are now losing three of those seats in early counting. Indiana has higher unemployment than the national average, and Republicans targeted Joe Donnelly and Baron Hill all year. The results -- again, very early -- are less promising for Republicans in Kentucky, where both John Yarmuth and Ben Chandler are leading in seats held by the GOP as recently as 2006 and 2003..

7.42 pm This Prop 19 news seems promising:

I’m told by organizers on the ground that youth turnout is so high that the polling location at San Diego State University has completely run out of provisional ballots. We’re hearing that it will take 3 or 4 more hours to re-stock the ballots there.

7.37 pm Aqua Buddha FAIL:

69 percent of white, born-again voters backed Paul - an even healthier showing than the 64 percent who voted for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's last re-election bid.

7.30 pm Rand Paul wins. Of all the crazy ones, I hoped for his election the most. And remember: he's replacing Bunning. He's the likeliest Republican to put defense spending on the table. Some appreciation of his now close-to-impossible balancing act here.

Notice this too from the exit polls: voters oppose the Afghanistan war 54 - 40 percent. Just sayin'.

7.27 pm Those conflicted Americans again:

On spending priorities, 40 percent favored deficit-reduction, 35 percent "spending to create jobs," and 19 percent cutting taxes.

So a majority of the voters ushering in this Congress want more fiscal stimulus, not less.

In a separate question, voters divided on the Bush-era tax cuts whose possible extension is before Congress. Forty percent said these cuts should be continued for all, vs. 37 percent who say they should be continued only for people in less-than $250,000 households. The rest, 15 percent, said the tax cuts should expire for all Americans.
In another look-ahead question, on the health care law, 48 percent said they favor repeal, vs. 16 percent who said the law should remain as is and 31 percent who said it should be expanded.

7.22 pm Ambers notes:

In several states, Democrats are leading among self-described moderates, but conservatives are turning out at such high rates, and are skewing so heavily to Republicans that it washes away the Democratic gains. 

Yep: the Fox News intensity trumps the moderate middle. Sounds like the last year and a half to me.

7.05 pm A reader writes:

If Obama's '08 IDs do not turn out today, it will not be for a lack of effort on the part of Organizing for America. I have received no less than a half-dozen reminders to vote today (perhaps three dozen during the entire early voting period in Texas). I voted quite early, and still have not been taken off the call lists, e-mail lists and blockwalk lists from the main organization all the way down to the local state organizers. I have been bugged to the point that I am ready to throw my phone into the Lake Austin and completely shut down my e-mail account.

7.01 pm. Yep, I'm settled in with a cup of coffee, a bunch of Ginger Snaps, a browser, four Dish under-bloggers on call ... and the TV on.