The elections are over. The hideous television ads have ended. Now, the hideous analysis and spin doctoring begins. Allow me to be one of the first.
The Beach Boys: The tsunami came in and white male Republicans from around the country mounted electoral surf boards and hung ten like champions. Watching the various networks, I observed that several candidates had campaigned in plaid flannel shirts. It is amazing how similar Mike DeWine, George Pataki, and Dan Quayle look. I’d hate to have to pick out one of them from a line up.
Coat Tails: A week before the election I had an interesting conversation with James Foster, the executive director of the City Club. He asked my opinion about the Kucinich-Sinagra race. I mentioned that Governor Voinovich was campaigning hard for Tony Sinagra, but that it would be for naught. George Voinovich is not a leader, he’s a manager. Strong leaders have coat tails. Managers don’t. Voinovich appeared daily in television and radio commercials for John Fink and Jeff Ambruster. He made the Sinagra election a personal crusade. All three lost.
The End of an Era: The Republicans control the House of Representatives for the first time in forty years. There will be some who see this as a change of biblical proportions. There are pundits (George Will, for one) who view this as a permanent shift to the right. I don’t think so.
History has taught us that societies shift their priorities in cycles. These cycles form a well-defined pattern. It was time. In fact, this change began fourteen years ago. Some time ten, fifteen, twenty years from now, we will shift back. It won’t happen tomorrow and no, the right wing, or for that matter even the Republicans as a whole, won’t be in control forever.
There are issues that have not been addressed. There are constituencies that feel that they have been ignored. These perceptions drive political activity. Well, they’re in and two years from now they will probably elect a president. How long the Republicans govern will be directly attributable to how few groups of constituencies they alienate. This is how our government works.
I’ve never hidden my political beliefs. I am an unashamed Democrat. I was thrilled with Oliver North’s defeat. I cheered Diane Feinstein’s’ victory in California. I was saddened by Eric Fingerhut’s loss. But life, and the Republic, go on.