By Jennifer Lipman
November 4, 2010
And as has been widely trumpeted, this is just about the worst result for the Democrats since 1948. But, looking back to the election of that year, it’s worth noting that people seem to have more confidence in Obama than they did in Harry Truman.
Because despite having been president since 1945, it was considered so unlikely that Truman could win of his own accord that one paper actually went to press (before the results came in) touting a victory for his opponent.
Red faces all round for the Chicago Tribune, and their “Dewey Defeats Truman” headline.
But it’s two years until Obama faces reelection, and despite the numbers it’s way too soon to write him off. Plus, not everything that has come out of the mid-terms is bad.
For one, Rich Iott – better known as the dude who still thinks dressing up as a Nazi is a good idea – was resoundingly beaten. Longtime congresswoman for the Democrats, Marcy Kaptur, kept the Ohio seat with 59 per cent of the vote.
For another, in the New York gubernatorial election Andrew Cuomo had no trouble seeing off Carl Paladino, a slightly bizarre Tea Party Republican who sent mail out smelling of “eau de two-day-old chopped garlic” as a way to slam his opponent.
Paladino, of course, is the very same man who went to a strictly Orthodox Jewish area and slammed homosexuality, saying “I don't want [my children] brainwashed into thinking that homosexuality is an equally valid and successful option - it isn't.”
Another friendly Tea Party fellow, one Rabbi Nachum “surfer” Shifren, also lost his bid for a state senate seat. Perhaps it was because he was too busy standing on the same platform as those friendly folk from the English Defence League to build support in California.
In general, it seems to have been a good result for equality. There are now four openly gay congressmen (with the election of David Cicilline in Rhode Island, three of them are Jewish).
True, the number of women elected is expected to fall for the first time in three decades, but the daughter of Sikh Indian immigrants is the new Governor of South Carolina, despite a campaign marred with sexism and racism, and Alabama has just voted in its first ever black congresswoman.
And I’d rather any day that a genuinely good male candidate won an election over a woman (Meg Whitman, in California) who spent $140 million of her own money on the campaign (in a state with a $20 billion deficit).
Most of all, take comfort in this. Sarah Palin, at present, is not in office.