Much has been made of recent Republican gains in governorships and now the Mass. Senate seat.
Republicans should not get too excited or Democrats get too depressed. There are some individual pols that need to get up to date with the current realities of American politics though. Both parties are in fact not getting the message that is being sent which is possibly due to the fact that their own parties are not the one sending the message.
Its been duly noted on any number of news shows that independent voters are causing the shifts. While the Dems may have not gotten the message that it was the "I" voters that gave them their victories in the last two elections the Republicans are committing the same error in assuming that the shift to a few of their most recent efforts represents kind of mandate for a return to the neo-con free market days of Bush/Cheney and Republican majorities.
The "I" voters show all of the symptoms of becoming the much pined for 3rd party without all the overhead and hoop-de-doo of a real party. They are kind of like homeless people pushing their shopping carts around town and scavanging what they can from the leavings and dumpsters of their well heeled neighbors. They show up at politician's door steps and public places ranting incoherently on taxes, health care and any number of quasi populist topics.
Democrats should be learning that the Homeless party voters dont like the fact that they have bought in too much to the Clinton strategy of co-opting Republican money sources and deal making. That, more than anything has lead to the tanking (again) of any kind of meaningful health care reform. It seems that their party platform does not like buying off an entire state by offering to pay their Medicaid payments at the expense of all the other states in exchange for a couple of Senate votes.
Republicans need to get off the whole tax horse for a while to understand that it was these same voters who booted them when their economic theories of uncontrolled free trade and deregulation were shown to be the bilge that they were. It would also help that they actually backed real tax reform for real people instead of promoting exotic tax dodge slogans like the "Death Tax" and supporting what has become an effective taxation double standard with undeserving fund managers being taxed at half the rate of Joe the plumber.
Homeless Party voters know that its all bilge.
But there is hope for the big two if they get it. There is at least a hint that Obama has gotten the message. Notice that he is now (at long last) talking tough about Wall Street bankers. In that press conference it was interesting to note the visual message. Paul Voelker that was front and center and NOT Giethner and Sommers of Clinton vintage with the latter two out at the fringe of the group looking like little boys who had just been to the principal's office. You might know that Tim and Larry were the architects of not only the Obama stimulus plan, but the Bush TARP not to mention the Clinton era "Securities Modernization Act" that pulled down the highly effective Glass Stegal Act which barred the exact kind of BS that brought down AIG and the banks just as it did in the 1920's.
The Homeless Party may be short lived if one or the other of the others really figures out how to bring them in and give them a decent place to stay with all the benefits and privileges that entails. Personally, I think that the odds of the Republicans endorsing real populist reforms is just about nil unless they can do what they usually do - put a populist label on tax breaks for the elite.
If Obama is serious the Republican's who are crowing now may end up eating crow next November. Otherwise its only a matter of time that they find their own candidates and then things will get really interesting. The next big upset candidate may not be driving a pickup truck. It may well be a shopping cart.