I’m not happy.
It’s Thursday Morning, November 6th, 2014 as I write this. The headlines are full of Republican victories at the polls Tuesday, the Republican takeover of the Senate, and the largest Republican majority in the House since WWII. Mitch McConnell has stated this proves that people are tired of “a government people can no longer trust”. He further stated. “This experiment in big government has lasted long enough. It’s time to go in a new direction.”
Well, I’m not celebrating.
This bold new Congress isn’t new at all. The Senate won’t be full of new Turks looking to roll back decades of governmental excess. It’s the same Old Guard folk that helped us get big government to begin with.
Take a look. Let’s assume that Dan Sullivan and Ed Gillespie will end up being declared the winners of their two races. There will be fifty-four Republicans in the Senate. Twenty-five had already been in the Senate when the Democrats ate the Republicans for lunch in 2008. The same people who had been responsible for the policies, politicking, and legislation that had handed the government to the Dems are still there. Eight of them had been in the Senate when Newt Gingrich shut the government down in ’95 and ’96.
These are our senior senators now.
Of the twenty-nine remaining, twenty-eight have been elected to the Senate since those Old Guard folk lost the Senate to Obama’s “hope and change.” (Jim Risch was elected to the Senate in 2008.) Nine were in the House in 2008. Eight were elected officials at the state level, ranging from state senators to governors. Three more were serving at the Federal level in appointed positions, and one at the state level. These people were already operating in the Old Guard good ol’ boys bailiwick when conservatism got smashed by Obama’s party and platform.
Meanwhile, Rand Paul was still smarting after having failed to get his father the Republican nomination for President. This failed bid ultimately led to his father endorsing third party candidates instead of his own party’s nominee. David Perdue was in India helping a startup (it folded). Steve Daines was in China helping ship Procter & Gamble’s jobs overseas. Mike Lee was here at home, thankfully, but his legal firm was headed for bankruptcy. Thanks loads, guys.
Two more were in elected positions at the county level. That makes them new enough to not have been caught up in the cronyism that lost the Republicans everything that mattered in 2008, but it was the Old Guard that they were looking up to as role models when they started their political careers. There’s only two of these people that I feel any sort of pleasure about seeing in the Senate: Ron Johnson, the job-creating CEO of PACUR, LLC, and Tom Cotton, then a U.S. Army Captain in Afghanistan.
What we have after last week’s election is basically a repeat of the Republican Congress of the first decade of this century, the people who set us up for the current batch of problems we face and lost to liberals in 2008.
So what are the problems this “new” (read: repeat) Congress now faces?
First, there’s the issue of jobs. ManpowerGroup has released its annual survey of talent shortages. We have a significant mismatch in terms of what jobs we have and what talents we need. Our current unemployment rate is still higher than it was before the subprime mortgage failure of 2006, and yet we’re expected to have a 140,000 person shortfall when it comes to the doctors we will need in ten years. Who do we have now to fix this? The same people that created the subprime mortgage failure in the first place reinforced by a few people who have directly aided the offshoring of American jobs and the crashing of companies.
Second, there’s taxes. Our tax code is over four million words long. While 200,000 of them have been added since 2008, the tax code in 2000 was “only” 1.4 million words. So who is responsible now for simplifying our economy killing code? The same people who added over 2 million words to the tax system. Great.
There are still personal liberties issues, as well. Government surveillance of citizens without warrant or oversight keeps making headlines. What do we need to roll back our government to a proper respect of the Fourth Amendment? People willing to call organizations like the NSA out over illegal surveillance. What do we have? The same people who gave the NSA that power in the first place.
Celebrating? Oh, no. I’m not celebrating. I’m preparing for the next several years of business as usual.
This election changed nothing. Nothing at all.