So many of the stories about the 2010 elections have decided on the narrative. The Democrats were shellacked. As a Bay Area sports fan, I would like to say I know the difference between losing and being shellacked.
The Dems suffered some serious losses, but the GOP has some serious problems to face as well. Their alleged engine of growth, that nebulous group of discontents known as The Tea Party, did nearly as much harm as it did good for them, and trying to pander to this crowd has already hurt their chances in 2012.
Consider the year the Millionaires wanted to take over. Candidates with bankrolls that put them somewhere between very well off and stinking rich ran for public office this year and a whole passel of them got their very rich stinking asses handed to them. Here in California, both Meg Whitman and Carly Fiorina went down to ignominious defeat, as did Linda McMahon in Connecticut and John Raese in West Virginia.
This running for office stuff is not as easy as it looks.
Consider the complete failure of several of Sarah Palin's hand-picked candidates. Sharron Angle was given the lead by poll after poll in her race in Nevada, but all the post-mortem pieces talk about an incompetently run campaign. Joe Miller won as a write-in candidate, beating Linda Murkowski, than lost to Murkowski as a write-in candidate, and this in Sarah Palin's own home state of Alaska. Last but not least, Christine O'Donnell got a huge boost in the Republican primary in Delaware facing Mike Castle, one of those endless re-tread candidates that dot the landscape in the era of term limits.
I re-iterate, this running for office stuff is not as easy as it looks.
I understand Delaware's dislike of the revolving door created by term limits. In California, it gave us on the left the uncomfortable choice of voting for Jerry Brown for governor and the completely unpalatable choice of voting for incredibly corrupt Don Perata for mayor of Oakland. I happy that Brown won, given the alternative, but I am even happier that the allegedly inevitable Perata lost on the last run-off of Ranked Choice Voting.
I think we have some chances to solve the problems we face. It would be easier if we weren't constantly facing an opposition party unwilling to acknowledge the problems even exist, but democracy never promised to be efficient.
The struggle continues.