The results of this election represent a backlash against the machinations of President Obama and Congress. But it isn’t just backlash; it’s whiplash.
Whiplash in the medical sense is caused not just by a sudden wrenching movement, but by a one-two jerking: first violently in one direction, and then violently in the other: “the head snaps forward and then back again.”
Despite the fact that the Senate remains (barely) in Democratic hands, this election is being compared to other large and sudden transfers of power in Congress, such as occurred in 1994, 1948, and even 1894, which was the biggest change of all (see this and this if you want some of the details). I’m not an election history expert, but I wonder whether there have ever been two such dramatically opposed consecutive Congressional elections as 2008 and then 2010. That’s where the whiplash would come in.
In the double whammy of 2006 plus 2008, control went from the Republicans to the Democrats in a pretty conclusive repudiation of the earlier Bush congresses. But the pendulum has swung forcefully back again in only two years.
But as I mentioned in this post, the Republicans are only on probation. They seem to realize it, at least for now (as the Democrats did not in 2008-2010); Boehner’s victory speech reflected that knowledge in a subtle way; Rubio’s in a more obvious one.
And here are some words from one of my favorite voices from the past: