What Does This Election Mean?

When I interviewed Tim Burns of PA-12 losing fame [Murtha’s seat], I got the impression that the race was a long-shot, that the seat leaned left and that the polling showed that it was close or even in the Democrats favor. He seemed like a good candidate, a nice man, and no question, better for Pennsylvania than John Murtha.

So it is somewhat surprising today to be reading all the commentary about what such a horrible loss this race is for Republicans. My perspective was more: this would be a fantastic win if we could get it, but might not. Keep in mind, I was the pessimist who figured Scott Brown would lose.

Still, why the long faces?

The election is a special and will be rerun in November. Hopefully, the Burns campaign will learn something and be more responsive to voters in Pennsylvania or get out the vote better, or do whatever it is that was missing and caused this loss.

And another thing, I don’t like the mood out here. Last night bugged me. There are way too many on both sides who are settling personal scores rather than being mindful about what is best for the country generally. Granted, Twitter is populated with idealists and consultants and people who keep the guise of respectability but secretly loath one another, but still.

And while I’m off topic, but related there is no guaranteed seat anywhere for any reason. Voters are angry. Anger is a response to fear. People are afraid of what is happening to the country and they’re afraid of the government–both Republicans and Democrats. There’s a lot of loose, unpredictable energy out there and so I’m wary of huge predictions.

I am not willing to call ANY race a referendum on anything except “I don’t want THIS”.

Voters know what they don’t want. Do they know what they do want?

I’m not seeing any overarching cohesive narrative forming. The Democrats are flopping around for explanations as much as Republicans are flopping around (see Arkansas–a race Democrats will likely lose either way, but who knows–the leftists are thrilled that Halter “showed them”. And I wonder, showed “them” what, exactly? It will be as pyrrhic a victory for Democrats as it will be for Republicans in Kentucky if they ultimately lose. What nonsense!)

Basically, both Republicans and Democrats are still wanting to hear what they want to hear–the people want their brand of big government.

What do the American people want? I think they want to have their cake and eat it too. They want social security to be solvent. They want taxes to be low. They don’t want bailouts. They want a stable economy.

Fact is, America is due for some pain and people feel it but aren’t ready to see it, and they’re terrified. We have a bloated system, with aging Boomers about to overwhelm it. The Boomers want to keep their pensions, their Social Security, their everything. They are entitled and feel like they’ve earned it.

But they haven’t earned it. They will be taking out of the system way more than they put in, just as the generation before them did, except now, it’s unsustainable because they’re simply aren’t enough workers to make it so (never mind the horrendous economy) and naturalizing a bunch of illegal immigrants won’t magic the problem away. It hasn’t for Europe.

So, America is at a cross-roads and people are scared and nervous and unpredictable. They know the government simply cannot keep going like it has, but they’re afraid of what must be done to correct the problem.

Citizens blame the establishment. They want them gone.

What do they want? Do they want the socialist ease? Some do. Do they want the painful cuts in benefits that will come should a path back to American capitalism be taken?

The middle way isn’t working. The American People don’t want it. What do they want? They’re still figuring it out.

And to compound the anxiety, no principled leader seems to exist to help find the way out. There is going to be more pain at the ballot box, but also at home, at work, and in the government. It’s inevitable.

Did those governing believe that we’d never have to pay the piper for our self-indulgence? It’s time to pay. That’s why the voters are afraid. And fear makes people angry.

Dan Riehl has some interesting thoughts on the subject.

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