And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.
- T.S. Eliot, Four QuartetsIf you listen to the pundits, you'd believe that the marathon, knock-down brawl that ended last night with Barack Obama's election as President of the United States left us exactly where we began: A Democratic President and Senate, and a House controlled by Republicans able to block every Presidential initiative.
When you look beneath the surface, however, things are different, in a number of interesting ways.
1. Does spending matter? Jesse Unruh once described money as "the mother's milk of politics". You can't run a campaign without it. Yet one of the lessons of this election is that there appears to be a point where more money simply doesn't matter. This isn't a new discovery - think Jim Oberweis - but this Wednesday morning finds a litter of emptied wallets washing up one the shore with little evidence they had any effect on the tide. Sheldon Aldelson's $100 million, Linda McMahon's $100 million for two losing elections, the billions of Super Pac disbursements. Exactly where did it produce victory?
2. Are voters simply tuning out Negative ads? Aligned with massive spending was the tsunami of increasingly vile attack ads, by Republicans and Democrats alike, that carpet-bombed the airwaves. In most cases they demeaned and degraded the candidates they were designed to advance . . .
. . . read the rest of this discussion . . . here