Read some of the papers these days and it's like nobody's ever - in the history of the world - had a legislature change hands from one political party to the other. Because the Democrats are certainly not acting like they get the magnitude of what happened to them:
- You've got the New York Times commiserating with Debbie Wasserman-Schultz. The poor woman has to scramble to keep her lucrative Appropriations gig! The nerve of those awful Republicans.
- It's been mentioned before (mostly in passing, to be sure) that it's apparently noteworthy that Republicans are stopping by various offices in order to measure for drapes, but still.
- Roll Call mentions rumblings of alarm among rank-and-file House Democrats as they realize that committee heads are following Nancy Pelosi's lead and not stepping down - and certainly not allowing themselves to be downsized.
- And over at the Rothenburg Political Report Stu Rothenburg asks the largely rhetorical question "Have Democrats forgotten the election already?" Answer: how do you know that they ever understood the results in the first place?
And, of course, there's the entire largely ceremonial Democratic angst and anger over Obama's tax deal.
I predict that all of this will be as nothing when compared to January, when the 112th Congress convenes and 'suddenly' starts cutting, eliminating, stymieing, and generally making life difficult for various Democratic initiatives. And not just the big things, like earmark reform and general fiscal sanity; in fact, the big things won't grate the most on Democratic sensibilities. It'll be the relatively little items like the elimination of the climate change committee, which is being ritually killed mostly so that Republican legislators can harvest and savor the screams of outrage and despair from that committee's supporters. Because that's what happens when a party loses; which apparently hasn't really sunk in, yet. Certainly the Democratic base seems to be having difficulty with understanding the concept.
This myopia on the Democrats' part won't last, of course: eventually they'll come out of their shock and start rebuilding the infrastructure that will let them retake the majority. And, truth be told, having the Democrats be a credible threat to the GOP's majority will help keep Republican legislators in line. But we can enjoy the flailing in the meantime.
Moe Lane (crosspost)