Vail Daily columnist Richard Carnes: Pretty much where we were before elections |

Vail Daily columnist Richard Carnes: Pretty much where we were before elections

Yep, the elections are finally over, and we no longer have to listen to all the irrational TV ads promising redemption if only we would be sure and vote against the anti-Christ (ak.a he-she-its opponent).

Sad, really, but the real question is what was truly accomplished?

With all the tea party-Republican hoopla being thrown around you’d think the color of the sky was changing to blood red. And with the incessant chanting of “Throw the bums out!” you’d think every single politician sitting in office would stand the same chance of being re-elected as the Broncos do of winning the 2011 Super Bowl.

But that’s not what happened.

For the past 50 years, the average rate of re-election for House of Representative members has averaged over 93 percent. From a low of 85 percent in 1970 to a high of 98 percent six separate times, last week’s House incumbents kept their seats at a not-so-unique rate of 87 percent.

Not exactly earth-shattering.

To assist in proving my point, Senate incumbents have averaged less than 82 percent in the same time period, yet last week 90 percent of those mean ol’ nasty incumbents remained firmly planted in their seats. For Pete’s sake, even Barbara Boxer and Harry Reid retained their comfy cushions of disrespectability.

Any of you out there still proudly riding that imaginary major tsunami of victory need to swim back to shore with the rest of us.

“Throw the bums out,” my ass.

In 1994 we had an eerily similar scenario that culminated with the ultra-patronizing “Contract With America,” which was signed, dated and then promptly broken by the GOP, and now the equally absurd and insulting “Pledge to America.”

At least they had the foresight to change the wording.

They now promise to repeal health care, make the Bush tax cuts permanent, put a halt to stem cell research and gay marriage, maintain ‘Don’t ask, don’t tell,’ end abortion rights and make the Dallas Cowboys good again while simultaneously standing around the worldwide nuclear urinal proving whose plutonium rods are bigger.

It is precisely this type of pejorative logic that defines why it is so ridiculously difficult for government, regardless of current leadership, to ever actually accomplish anything of long-term consequence.

So the Republicans pledge to spend the next two years reversing everything that has been accomplished over the last two years, thus insuring a four year span where nothing worthwhile for the nation stands a chance of passing.

Meanwhile, those of us in the real world will have spent four years creating, building, inventing, earning, spending, eating, drinking, vacationing, skiing, hiking, exercising, mowing the lawn, attending kids soccer games, going to school, planting gardens, drinking beer, smoking pot, etc.

In other words, the rest of us will be busy doing the things that we normally do 24/7/365 known collectively as: living life.

Locally, no changes of any consequence occurred. In fact, we have the same sheriff, same commissioners, council members, surveyor, etc. that we basically had on Nov. 1.

If all politics are truly local, the entire election was little more than an advertiser’s dream and a nightmare for the rest of us.

If not for our collective shallowness, we should be ashamed.

Hopefully, one of these years, elected officials will actually do something to make us proud other than win an election or two.

Richard Carnes of Edwards writes weekly. He can be reached at Comment on

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