Despite the anguish that many Democrats are feeling over the midterms, the Republican takeover of the US Senate may not turn out to be an unmitigated disaster. There could even be some benefits. The GOP will finally have to do something besides criticize President Obama and question his citizenship.
Should we be concerned about Supreme Court nominees, comprehensive immigration reform, Medicare and Social Security, and an economic recovery that is more equitable? Yes. But surely there are areas where the two sides can work together to pass meaningful legislation.
There is one issue, however, that makes the Republican gains troubling. After more than a decade of war and military interventions, the US is arguably no safer than it was after the events of 9/11. But even as the results of the midterms are still being accessed, the war talk has heated up. The threat to the US, if you listen to some conservatives, is everywhere: Syria, Iraq, North Korea, China, Iran, and Russia – the list grows longer daily.
Even though there’s no evidence that arming the Syrian rebels would have solved the most recent crisis in that region, Senator John McCain tells Salon.com
it was a missed opportunity. Former President George W. Bush, currently on a book tour, still claims that the war he launched on Iraq was necessary. Some recent fact-checking by the Washington Post
shows that much of Bush’s assessment of the war is “twisted.”
And Mitt Romney can’t stop patting himself on the back over his warning about Russia, though he’s never explained exactly what he would do to deter President Putin’s expansionism.
The GOP gains mean different things to different people, and Democrats need to dig deep and really think about their losses. But let’s hope the GOP doesn’t assume that the results are a mandate for another miscalculated and unnecessary war abroad and more militarization at home.
And let’s hope that there are enough liberals in both houses of Congress who are courageous enough to thwart those efforts.