Suffice to say, it was a good night for the GOP. Over 60 House seats were gained, and 6 Senate seats. Liberals like to (wrongly, but more on that later) compare this to 1982, before the Reagan economic recovery got going, when the GOP lost 26 seats in the House, and none in the Senate. They like to make this comparison because we all know how Reagan's presidency worked out, and that he largely did not compromise his principles after that defeat. They're using this comparison because in the next sentence these true liberal believers like to claim that's why Obama should just keep on as he's been doing.
Of course, they miss some critical points:
- The GOP just rode a massive wave of anti-Obama and anti-Liberal sentiment to take the 2010 victory. 1982 was not a repudiation of Reagan's policies. It was anger at rotten economic times, and though Reagan had been in office for only 2 years, he and his party got the brunt of that anger. 26 House seats was actually about average for the party in power in an off-year election, and the loss of no senate seats really was an indication that, while the electorate was frustrated at what was then 3 years of "malaise" they really were not angry enough to turn 1982 into an all-out rout, which leads to...
- The 1982 losses were quite small compared to 2010's losses. While some want to lament the fact that the GOP did not reclaim the Senate (and blame, variously, Tea Partiers, Christine O'Donnell, Sarah Palin, Sharron Angle, and others), in what should have been a year with the GOP playing defense, they took 6 seats, and coming to Washington will be future stars Marco Rubio, Pat Toomey, Rob "Way Better than Voinovich" Portman, Rand Paul, Ron Johnson and some more establishment types. This was a tsunami. That it wasn't worse is only due to the stupidity of voters on the Left Coast, who seem to want to continue to live off the government dole in bankrupt states. So, even in the sheer number comparison, there is no comparison.
- State races. The GOP now holds a majority of governorships and took several state houses, winning 600+ seats in state elections, 50% more than in 1994. The down ballot massacre was on a par with what happened at the US House. 8 of 10 swing states now have Republican governors.
But the most important reason is...
- Obama and Reagan are not comparable. Obama is a committed Statist who shares their desire to take total control of the US economy, and is doing everything possible (intentionally or not) to prevent an actual sustainable recovery. Reagan was a committed conservative, who understood that tax rates needed to remain low, spending needed to be brought into control (his one major failing was not getting Congress's cooperation on this) and that victory in the Cold War needed to be achieved through a demonstration of our willingness to go toe-to-toe with the Soviets in a battle of industrial might and resolve.
The bottom line is that Reagan's policies were the right policies to restore our country, and Obama's are the result of clueless academic exercises and the pursuit of power at any cost. Reagan was right, Obama is wrong. The American people recognize and understand that at their core.