Now, I happen to believe that the Republicans will hold the House and the Senate. Why? The Democrats picked almost as many duds this cycle as we did; the demographics and effects of the 2000 redistricting are still in place; and the Democrats are actually touting their surrender-monkey-hood as a selling point.
In other words, the Democrats are as stupid as ever. Thank God.
We would not, however, be in this pickle if the "Republicans" we elected actually governed as, well, Republicans. Let's rack up some non-achievements:
In short, every, single, last thing we send those jokers to do on the Hill, they at best do poorly, and usually don't do at all. (Amazingly, they still do it better than Democrats.)
But what's even more interesting is that if you look carefully, and imagine that each component of the Republican coalition is defined by primary-but-not-exclusive interest in one of those points, you'll see that every single faction is taking it in the chest.
The most critical part of coalition politics is, obviously, keeping the coalition intact and pointed in the same direction. In theory, the Republican coalition does this by giving, on a regular basis, some, but not all, of the things each faction wants; they are then inclined to look at the alternative, realize they wouldn't do nearly so well there, and stick with the pack. The point, in other words, isn't to make any faction happy; it's to keep each faction less unhappy than they'd be elsewhere.
As members of the Stupid Party, however, I think we can safely say that our elected representatives played hookey the day they were teaching coalition politics in school. Let's look at the one thing that most of the coalition agrees on, to some extent or another: Judges. Let's see, we got Roberts and Alito. We got some, but not all, of the judges Bush sent up. Where are the rest?
Oh, right. A group of Republicans led the fight to kill them, to protect their prerogatives. And that's the issue on which Republicans have performed best.
The dumbest part about the Party's poor performance on all things Republican is that it has each faction convinced that it's getting uniquely screwed. Had they done their jobs right, we'd all think we're getting equally screwed.
This is why, frankly, we're stuck debating whether the social cons got everything they could have asked (and should therefore get to the back of the line) in Bush's (limited) stem cell ban or his first veto (or is it Terri Schiavo?), when of course, at best, these were bandages on horrible wounds in our polity. Or whether the fiscal cons got tax breaks out the yin-yang, so they should just shut it. Or whether the small government types got theirs ... well, ok, in fairness, except for maybe the tax breaks, no one's making too much noise about them. Or the hawks are getting theirs with an uneven prosecution of a war in two failed Muslim states. And don't even get me started on the immigration folks. And so on. [Full disclosure: I think these divisions are artificial and stupid in the extreme, but that's a blog post for later.]
In other words, the continued success of the Republican coalition is driving the coalition into the ground, largely because the people elected by the coalition aren't acting very Republican. Hats off, folks. And a big round of applause to the Democrats, too stupid, too weak, and too lazy to put a spine into our Party. When historians talk about the death of the Democrat Party years from now, the very next chapter will be the death of the Republican Party ten years later.