Matt Yglesias has been growing on me.  He has a peculiarly understated way of writing, like he’s just throwing ideas out there and he could be wrong, but he’s thoughtful and interested in the problems of actually governing rather than just partisan analysis.  And today, reflecting on the election, he’s got a pile of good insights.

  • The best strategy for Obama is to step back from legislation and govern from the White House.  Let Boehner try to get legislation out and through Reid’s Senate.
  • The basic story of the election is that more well-off people voted Republican, and so did old folks.  Obama won in large part because of the enthusiasm of younger voters, and they mostly stayed home, the fickle little squirts.
  • Elections are only important because they let you govern.  The election doesn’t take away what Democrats accomplished– even if they paid for that by losing the House.  And Boehner, as noted, is going to have a very hard time accomplishing anything himself.
  • It’s going to be lost in the exultation of winning over 60 House seats, but the Tea Party suffered some serious reverses— throwing away what should have been safe wins in Nevada, West Virginia, Colorado, and Delaware; the Tea Party also looks like it’ll lose to a more mainstream Republican in Palin’s backyard, Alaska.  Even for the Republicans, going far right doesn’t always work.  If they hadn’t nominated lunatics, they could be celebrating taking over the Senate today too.
  • Since 1980, the normal state for our government is divided government.

About the only major point he didn’t cover today was voters’ concerns; in exit polls, 62% said their major issue was the state of the economy.  Just 19% put health care at the top of the list.  Guess what the major program of the Republicans will be?  Health care.  On the economy, nothing but adding $4 trillion to the deficit by extending Bushs’ tax cuts.

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