We’ve Been Through Some Crappy Times Before


You say the last election didn’t turn out like you planned.
You’re feeling blue and clueless, you just don’t understand.
You’re sad, sulky, sullen, moping and morose.
You’re woefully weak and weary, semi-comatose.
You stare at your computer screen devoid of any joy and hope.
You’re so depressed, you can’t get dressed, your noose is up a rope.
Just remind yourself, when you can’t stand it any more:
That we’ve been through some crappy times before


Starting last evening, I’ve been seeing the cries of woe and misery from my progressive friends. Meanwhile, those conservatives that I still talk to are cheering their victory. Both are wrong to cry or celebrate for their side, because this really isn’t a long-term victory for the Republicans or a long-term loss for the Democrats. This is an opportunity for the nation, and it may be a good thing. It may also be good, in the long run, for the Democrats, and perhaps even for the Republicans. Hence, this lunchtime musing.


We’ve been though some crappy times before.
Slavery, unbridled knavery and the civil war.
Don’t stop caring, stop despairing, get up off the floor.
Because we’ve been through some crappy times before.


Here’s why I’m not worried. First and foremost, the Republicans do not have a supermajority (67%) in either house. To overrride a veto, a supermajority is required in both houses: 290 in the House (at best, if all the uncalled races went R, they would be at 259), and 67 in the Senate (at best, they are at 55). That is a very rare occurrence; only 10% of Presidential vetoes have been overridden. This means if the Republicans want to pass any legislation that has a chance of becoming law, they must make it sufficiently moderate that the President will sign it (or that they can get sufficient Democratic colleagues to come over to their side to override the veto). This is much better than the 2012-2014 Congress, where we couldn’t even get laws to the President because they couldn’t get out of Congress, even if they were moderate.

I’ll note that one article I read today believes it to be a myth that more might get through Congress. They claim the problem was not the Democratic Senate, but the much more conservative Republican house under John Boehner. However, all this means is that we won’t be worse off then before, but the more moderate Senate might still veto the bills (or the Dems filibuster them), and the President would surely veto them.

Ah, but the Presidential appointments will never get through, you say. I can’t guarantee they will get through, but they actually are more likely to get voted upon. This time, in the Senate, it is the Democrats who control the power of the filibuster, being the minority party. They won’t be stopping votes, and the Senate is required to vote on appointments. They don’t do they, they can legitimately be called on the carpet for not doing their Constitutional jobs. It may also push the President to appoint more centrists (which are a better reflection of the country at large, vs. more party-oriented ideologues)

Ah, but you say the Republicans won’t allow the filibuster. My friend, Rich Wales, over on Facebook, addressed this concern: “While the GOP senators could indeed abolish the filibuster (by simple majority vote at the beginning of a session of Congress, if I recall correctly), it would be a phenomenally short-sighted and stupid thing for them to do. First, it would gain them nothing in terms of enacting their party’s agenda — because even if a bill could sail through the Senate as well as the House, the President still has his veto power, and the GOP is not going to have enough votes in either house to override a veto. Second, even the most fanatically single-minded Republicans know they will not always be in power on Capitol Hill. If they abolish the filibuster in the Senate, they will effectively be abolishing it for all time — and when the Democrats one day regain control of the Senate, it will be their turn to be able to ram anything they want through that body, and a GOP minority won’t be able to stop (or even appreciably slow down) a Democratic majority. Even if the Republican leadership in the Senate are bound and determined to abolish the filibuster, enough Senators with a broader view of things are likely to oppose the idea that a rule change’s chances of passage are small. Go to Wikipedia and read about the “Gang of 14” for a reasonably recent example of how Senators went to great lengths to avoid invoking the so-called “nuclear option”.”


Intolerable intolerance has swept across the land.
The gospel thumping homophobes have got the upper hand.
They are peeping though the windows and they are creeping through the door.
But we’ve been through some crappy times before.

We’ve been through some crappy times before.
McCarthyism, Prohibition, and the World Wars.
We’re up a the creek, the boat is leaking, still we will reach the shore.
But we’ve been through some crappy times before.


But “It’s the Republicans”, you say. Consider this. During the primary elections, many of the more strident Tea Party candidates were defeated in favor of the establishment Republicans. None of the Republicans elected to the Senate, to my knowledge, were Tea Party. Combine this with the fact that in order to do anything, they have to be moderate, not Tea Party, to get their actions signed by the President. This is not a Tea Party take-over; it may be an opportunity for a rebirth of the Republican party for the moderates.

More significantly, most of the Republicans elected were elected because the electorate was dissatisfied with a Congress that was doing nothing. If the new Congress continues to do nothing, what will happen? That’s right — they may not keep their seats. That happened to many Tea Party candidates.


We hear reassurances that everything is fine.
It’s been a while since we were a canary in this mine.
When you think it’s really bad, it gets a little worse.
But keep on looking forward, though we’re going in reverse.

We shout out that the emperor is not wearing any clothes.
He lies so much that you could hang your laundry from his nose.
The fox is in the hen house and the wolf is at the door.
But we’ve been thought some crappy times before.


This election is also an opportunity for the Democrats. Using the election as an excuse, they can adjust their leadership to move away from the polarizing Reid and Polosi. Both are good people, but bring a lot of baggage. They also have the opportunity to distance themselves from the President, if he remains unpopular. They can easily blame the Republican Congress for not taking any action. Congressional inaction is no longer the fault of the Democrats.

This election also provides the Democrats with the opportunity to groom and identify additional candidates. Hilary is great, but Hilary brings with her significant baggage (and I don’t just mean Bill). This election could very well be setting the stage for a Democratic victory in 2016, whereas retaining the Senate might very well have led to a Republican victory in 2016.


We have been thought crappy times before.
Indiscretion, floods, Depression, Vietnam and more.
The sun has set but don’t forget another day is in store.
Because we’ve been thought some crappy times before.
Yes, we’ve been though some crappy times before.
Yes, we’ve been though some crappy times before.


Another day is in store. It is important to remember that control of the House, Senate, or the Executive Branch is like the weather. It always swings back and forth. When it is hot, you know it will eventually be cold…. and then hot again. When we have Democratic leadership, you know that will swing to the Republicans…. and then back again. It has been this way throughout the nation’s history, although some of the cycles have been longer than others. As long as the Democratic party is one of the two major parties, they will eventually be in control of both houses again. In fact, it is likely that will happen when we have a Republican president. The electorate loves having Congress as a check for the President, not a rubber stamp.

Lyrics from “We’ve Been Through Some Crappy Times Before”, Austin Lounge Lizards, available on “The Drugs I Need“.

P.S.: Courtesy of Amy Angel on FB, here’s another interesting take on the subject.