President Barack Obama could not have looked or sounded any more relaxed, cheerful and confident than he did during his hour-long news conference the day after an election that just as easily could have left him agitated, dejected and diffident.
Obama and the Democratic Party that looks to him for leadership, after all, had been beaten senseless, so to speak, as Republicans seized control of Congress, assorted governorships and myriad state and local offices all across America. The president didn’t use the word this time around but the drubbing Republicans gave Democrats on Nov., 5 was even worse than the “shellacking” Obama lamented after the 2010 mid-term elections.
Pundits were calling this year’s mid-term fireworks a “wave election,” whatever that is, and more or less wondering how the president could so much as get out of bed the morning after. But Obama didn’t seem flustered in the least.
“Obviously, Republicans had a good night,” he said, as if he were talking about losing a casual game of HORSE on the White House basketball court.
A good night? They brought home your head on a platter, Mr. President!
Some commentators saw his reaction as arrogance (does he think he’s not accountable to the voters?) while others assumed he was in denial (doesn’t he understand what just happened here?). To us, it looked like relief. The president’s demeanor was that of a man who’d had a great weight lifted from his shoulders.
And why not? Obama is now, officially, a lame duck. He will serve out the remaining two years of his presidency with both houses of Congress and for all practical purposes the nation’s political agenda controlled by the opposing party – and, perhaps more to the point, by politicians who loathe him and everything he stands for. How can anyone, he must be thinking, hold him responsible for anything that happens from this moment forward? The new villains in the Washington road show just might be the congressional majorities, who are even money to gridlock the government with the ongoing war between tea party and establishment Republicans. Will they even find enough common ground to pass some bills for the lame-duck president to veto? Stay tuned.
Talking about shellackings … Could any Democrat have fared worse than Fort Worth’s own Wendy Davis in the non-contest that the Texas gubernatorial election turned out be? We opined early on that Davis was not ready for prime time – not qualified to run for governor much less be governor – and, sadly, she proved us right.
From the day her over-hyped filibuster against abortion restrictions thrust her onto the national stage, Davis never gave voters a plausible rationale for her candidacy. Her campaign was relentlessly negative, even mean-spirited, and hopelessly ineffective. If Democrats truly want to become competitive in the Lone Star State, they’ll need stronger candidates than Davis – and better ideas than the liberal cliches they offered in 2014.
And now for the really good news … Fort Worth voters overwhelmingly approved three ballot propositions authorizing user fees to help finance a long-discussed and much-needed multipurpose arena in the city’s Cultural District. Although some opposition surfaced in the waning days of the campaign, approval of the project was never in doubt – proving that Fort Worth taxpayers will always say yes to a good idea that is presented in a reasonable and straightforward way.