There is no question that it was a stellar night for the Republican Party last evening as we swept across America and changed the power equation in Washington, DC. As of this moment, the House of Representatives has gone from a 255-seat Democrat majority to a 239-seat Republican majority. There are still races too close to call, including the one right next door in VA-11. Regardless, even if every one of those races goes to the Democrat, the House is still under Republican control and Nancy Pelosi is officially winding down her last 2 months with the gavel. Of all of the things that happened last night, that’s the one I’m most pleased about. Barely.
As I mentioned last night, Virginia’s House caucus is also solidly Republican with just 2 (and possibly 3, after a recount) Democrats left standing. My hearty congrats go to Misters Wittman, Rigell, Forbes, Hurt, Goodlatte, Cantor, Griffith, and Wolf for your wins last night. Virginia looks forward to your representation over the next 2 years. To Misters Smith, Fimian and Murray, I offer my thanks for your willingness to run for public office. Though we were ultimately unsuccessful in getting you elected the fact that you stood up to answer the call for public service is not unnoticed and it is deeply appreciated. Mr. Fimian, particularly, fought a hard battle and came ever so close to winning the day. I do hope Mr. Connolly noticed that and will adjust his previous approach accordingly.
The Senate has also seen a marked shift in the balance. As of this moment, there are 49 Democrats and 46 Republicans in that chamber. (There are 2 Indies and 3 seats still in contention, apparently.) I was disappointed that Harry Reid survived the challenge for his office but, regardless, the playing field is certainly different today. There will be no more ramming of Democrat agendas down the throats of the American people. If Sen. Reid wishes to get anything done, he’s going to have to be far, far more open about his methods and much more willing to compromise than he has been over the last two years.
What’s not been widely reported are the results of the Statehouse elections. Erick Erickson of RedState has specifics in his update this morning but there are some eye-widening gems in there:
There will be 18 states subject to reapportionment. The Republicans will control a majority of those — at least ten and maybe a dozen or more. More significantly, a minimum of seventeen state legislative houses have flipped to the Republican Party.
The North Carolina Legislature is Republican for the first time since 1870. Yes, that is Eighteen Seventy.
The Alabama Legislature is Republican for the first time since 1876.
For those saying this is nothing because it is the South, consider these:
The entire Wisconsin and New Hampshire legislatures have flipped to the GOP by wide margins.
The State Houses in Indiana, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Ohio, Iowa, Montana, and Colorado flipped to the GOP.
The Maine and Minnesota Senates flipped to the GOP.
Actually, an update to that briefing said that the entire Maine legislature has flipped to Republican control. As Hugh Hewitt has written, this will significantly impact any redistricting efforts that are to be done in 2011.
Each and every winner last night deserves to take a bit of a break and enjoy their victory. Savor the win and accept the accolades, by all means. But the winners need to be heedful of what the voters actually said last night. To the Democrats the message should be painfully clear: you’ve seriously overstepped and you need to reign this government back in, and do it now. Spending is far, far too much. Government reach is far, far too long and wide. The Obama-Pelosi-Reid agenda is not what the American people want and the Democrats should stop pushing it. Deal with the economy using proven methods and get government’s heavy hands and big butt out of the jobs creation engine room. Let up on business owners and allow free enterprise to do the job it’s proven quite capable of for decades.
To the Republicans, the message should be equally clear: the message was primarily aimed at the Democrats. Do not misconstrue winning in the elections as a mandate for anything but reducing spending and America’s debt, lifting burdensome government interference in Americans’ lives and businesses, increasing government transparency and responsiveness. Those are the primary tasks Republicans have now been given a second chance to handle. So handle them. Anything else might be open to debate but you’d better be clear about it and you’d better handle the issues already mentioned.
OK, GOP. You’ve got a couple of months to get spooled up. Get your communications systems ready and be ready to use them. And be ready to hit the ground running in January.