When words like “huge” or “massive” don’t seem big enough to describe the scale of the conservative victories of the midterm election of 2010, the pundits reach for words like “tsunami” and “hurricane.” Everybody knows that the sweeping victories — including the largest House turnover in 70 years and an expected six-seat pickup in the Senate — portend massive, perhaps seismic, changes, but who can say exactly at this point what those changes will look like or what they will mean politically and legislatively in the long run?
The presumptive new House Speaker, Ohio Rep. John Boehner, promised, “Change course we will,” as he acknowledged the voters’ mandate to reduce the size of government, cut the deficits, and repeal ObamaCare. He said, “The American people spoke and I think it is pretty clear that the Obama-Pelosi agenda is being rejected by the American people.” Only diehard ideologues in the legacy media deny that the voters gave the Obama/Pelosi/Reid big-government agenda (using Sarah Palin’s remarkably appropriate word) a resounding “refudiation.”
Over and over again, voters told reporters as they stood in voting lines that they wanted to see change. With Senator Harry Reid (D-Nevada) remaining head of the Senate, and President Obama retaining veto power, sweeping change will not be possible, and many are predicting two years of non-stop acrimony — what’s new about that — and gridlock, a good thing in the eyes of many who view the government as too big, too activist, and too intrusive. But voters sent a clear message that Election 2010 had better mean significant change of direction and substantive changes on the issues or there will be more House (and Senate) cleaning in 2012.
In my interviews on the day after the election, reporters insisted on an “oust the incumbents” narrative about the election results. Many conservative incumbents were safe, however, and many leftists lost their bids for re-election — think Democratic Sens. Russell Feingold in Wisconsin and Blanche Lincoln in Arkansas.