I wonder if this is how Republicans felt when they swept into control of Congress? I'm guessing they were pretty giddy when they won in a landslide...I know that, as a Democrat, I feel pretty good about the outcome of this set of elections.
Unlike the spirit of gloating that Republicans rolled out however, I get the sense that the majority of Democrats around the country are looking to extend an offer to work with Republicans to fix some of the many problems facing our country. Despite suffering through years of an arrogant and out of touch Republican leadership, most Democrats want their fellow Democrats to move to the center to attempt to work out some bi-partisan solutions.
I also get a pretty strong feeling that there are a lot of Democrats that - although they want to see a Congress working together and a President working with them - won't have much patience for a continuation of the extreme partisanship of the Republicans. If the President comes out defiant and unwilling to listen to the people's vote, or if Republican congressional leadership quickly begins to derail Democratic efforts to clean up the mess that Congress has become, there will be a loud and strong call to play hardball.
American's want to see oversight taking place and they want to hear solutions to the quickly deteriorating situation in Iraq. The President should come out and show a real willingness to work with congressional leaders to come up with a plan that goes beyond 'staying the course.'
There's a lot of talk that Democrats haven't shown a plan - but the reality still remains that the President led us into this mess and even now hasn't presented a plan. And he's the commander-in-chief. He remains that, but he would be wise to show some ability to compromise.
All I hope for is the return to some sanity in the federal government. This election was a rejection of the course we were headed - now it just remains to chart a positive course forward. There are plenty of rocks and shoals to avoid, but if we begin to head in the right direction then most Americans will be show themselves willing to help man the oars.
***And in some personal races***
There were a lot of races that I was interested in and most fell the way I had hoped. Over the course of the campaign, I was able to learn about some great candidates and even sent several of them some money. In a way, it gave me a small stake in the outcomes of their races. It also made election night a lot more fun.
Sadly, the guy I was doing a bit of stumping for, Bryan Kennedy, was soundly defeated by Wisconsin's most embarrassing politician, James Sensenbrenner. It's really not a big surprise to me as it was a long shot race all along, but there were some openings in the last month that Kennedy was unable to take advantage of.
It wasn't a perfect campaign - that's for sure - and this was a race that could have only been won with a perfect campaign. Lack of experience in the political arena and in generating the kind of publicity needed to move forward really cost Kennedy on this one. And there wasn't even the satisfaction of seeing the numbers come back much higher than the last time around.
Well, at least I can say that I felt like I put in an effort to change something that I believed needed to be changed. Sensenbrenner still needs to be removed - I wish it had been this election year, but you can't have everything.
The national races I was into were:
Bryan Kennedy here in Wisconsin - I had great hopes, but not such great expectations.
Patrick Murphy out in the Philadelphia area - Murphy's a big proponent of net neutrality and that caught my attention...I for one don't want my tubes tied.
Larry Kissell in North Carolina - how can you not like a guy who set up a gas station to sell gas at a buck something a gallon, the price it was when his opponent took office not that long ago? And, the guy sent out personalized 'thank you' letters for every donation I made. That's frankly awesome and how it should be.
Scott Kleeb out in Nebraska - he's just a down-home sort of guy and young. Hell, he's so good looking I would do him...wait...um...I mean...he's got some pretty good ideas. Actuallym, I was impressed with him when I read a couple of posts he made on DKos where he stuck around to answer questions in the comments. It was very cool how he took the time to not just talk, but to listen.
John Tester in Montana - talk about a real Westerner, Tester ran a clean and admirable campaign. He's the kind of guy who isn't going to play political games, he's going to do what he thinks is right.
Webb in Virginia - mainly because I felt that Allen ran a sleazy campaign and deserved to lose because of it. Also, Webb is highly qualified. The fact that he was a good writer also weighed into it for me.
And because I met some people that worked really hard for her, Claire McCaskill in Missouri.
Anyway, all of them - with the exception of McCaskill - got a few bucks from me and that makes me feel good.
Cheers...and may the numbers stop bouncing around in my head.