Apparently America loved the 2011 debt limit showdown. Because after more than $1 billion in campaign spending we are now exactly where we were two years ago: the Democrats still control the White House and the Senate, but Republicans will control the House.
This means America can now expect about the same behavior out of Washington that it got the last two years: partisan gridlock on every issue imaginable and never ending brinkmanship on debt, spending, and taxes. If you think last night decided anything, remember that Democrats fought every item of President Bush’s agenda after he won reelection in 2004 and were rewarded with the House and Senate in 2006. The Republicans already control the House. And with 10 Democratic Senators up for reelection in 2014, Republicans have a good chance of taking the upper chamber then too.
We’ll know almost right away if Obama has the skill and desire to change Washington’s status quo. The U.S. economy is facing a $600 billion fiscal cliff ($500 billion in tax hikes and $100 billion in spending cuts come January first. If Obama is able to craft a grand bargain between now and New Year’s, things may really change. But if Congress kicks the can down the road, or we actually go over the cliff, look for a bitter four more years of disappointment.
Same sex marriage: All four states that had ballot propositions on the issues Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, and Washington voted in favor of same sex marriage last night. Maine, Maryland, and Washington created new same sex marriages rules while Minnesota rejected a constitutional amendment banning them.
Marijuana: Colorado legalized the recreational use of marijuana.
Tax hikes: California Gov. Jerry Brown’s tax hike on the rich passed 54 percent to 46 percent.
In Other News
The Wall Street Journal, New Households Sprouting Up: The nation added 1.15 million households in the 12 months that ended in September, according to the most recent Census Bureau data.
The New York Times, Greece Prepares to Vote on $23 Billion in New Cuts: Destabilized by scandals yet held together by a lack of alternatives, the Greek government prepared to push a raft of politically toxic new austerity measures through Parliament on Wednesday, a move aimed at securing international financing and ensuring that the debt-racked nation will remain in the euro zone.
The Washington Post, EU predicts bloc’s economy will fall farther: Europe’s economy is still reeling and unemployment could remain high for years in spite of the progress made in solving the debt crisis, the European Union warned Wednesday as it downgraded its forecasts for the 27-country bloc.
Matt Lewis notes that two Republican moderates have lost in a row, meaning the GOP needs modernization not moderation.
Michael Barone says the two Americas are not on speaking terms.
Tyker Durden previews four more years of a divided America.
Talking Points Memo‘s Josh Marshall says that the survival of Obamacare is the most important result of last night’s election.
BuzzFeed‘s Ben Smith says America will now have to focus on climate change.
The New York Times Paul Krugman says, “The 2008 Obama coalition wasn’t a fluke; it was the country we are becoming.”