I've spent the last three days looking at analysis of the mid-term election just past, and I've come to one firm conclusion: the far-right wing of the Repuglican party has no self-awareness, no understanding of history, and no critical thinking skills. (OK, admittedly, I came to this conclusion a long time ago, but this election has certainly reinforced that point.)
A small minority of people (you know, it would be cool if we could call them by a vaguely demeaning name that they started out calling themselves - you know, like "teabaggers") has, or is willing to pretend to have, strong feelings on the subject, and an even smaller minority of those people is capable of spelling their name consistently. That particular subset of vaguely-literate mouthbreathers want to tell you all about the world-shaking significance of November 1, but that just means that you're getting fed a big steaming heap of double-distilled crazy.
Half of them want to paint this as a giant victory for the forces of conservatism, and the sad part is, some Democrats believe them. When really, this is just the regular ebb and flow of the electoral process.
Look at the bigger picture for a second. Really, until you get down in the trenches, what happened was that the Democrats gained two new House members, while the Republicans picked up two governors.
But with that in mind, there's two things to remember.
One, when the economy is down, the incumbent tends to take a hit.
And two, off-season elections tend to go to the party out of power. Because these elections are sparsely-attended, and only the "true believers" are guaranteed to go. The party in power tends to sit back and relax, sometimes to their detriment.
But despite that, in the elections that "count" (if any of them can be said to actually matter), the two parties came out even. Or possibly tilted toward the Democratic side, since governors are state-level, while congresscritters are national.
You really want partisan analysis? Sweeping generalizations from too small a dataset? OK, try this one.
Hoffman was a disaster for the Raving Loony wing of the GOP. A man with less personality than John Kerry, he was pushed onto the national stage armed only with the ability to parrot talking points fed to him by Dick Armey. He was lauded by salivating, clueless lunatics like Rush Limbaugh, Michelle Malkin and Sarah Palin. But as a consequence of the distasteful nature of his stated beliefs, the voters of a traditionally-Republican district backed slowly away from him, and into the loving, nurturing arms of the Democratic candidate.
Or look at it this way: in New Jersey, where Republican Christie won with 49% of the vote, 57% of voters in exit polls say they approve of the job Barack Obama is doing. In Virginia, where Republican Bob McDonnell won with 59% of the vote, Obama had a 52% approval rating. That means that, at the very least, a good number of independent voters who voted for a Republican, approve of Obama.
Hell, in the two states where the forces of teabaggery managed to get anti-tax initiatives onto the ballot, both were roundly defeated.
And the lesson to be learned from all this? The teabaggers aren't nearly the force they want to claim that they are. They're just a bunch of sad, disaffected, easily-led lemmings. They aren't a majority, they're just the loudest minority.