I said on October 17 that the Republicans would capture the Senate. “It’s all over but the shouting.”
How did I know? I went to the Iowa Electronic Markets site. It’s a betting site. It gave the Republicans an 80% chance of winning. I published an article on this. (Click the link.)
The media kept telling us that there were tight races in progress. The media made it look as though the Democrats had a shot at keeping the Senate. They didn’t. The people had spoken — the people who matter in such things: bettors.
The media do not gain audience share by simply reporting on the odds at the IEM site. But they should. The rest of the reports are just noise. “Georgia may have to hold a run-off election.” No, it won’t. “Louisiana may have to hold a run-off election.” Irrelevant. “We may not know which party is in power until January.” We know now.
There is good news here. The Republicans will be able to hold twice as many hostile investigations of federal bureaucrats as before. This is always great entertainment. Nothing comes of these investigations, of course. Congress never cuts any agency’s budget as a negative sanction. The NSA is still rolling along on its $45 billion unreported annual budget. It’s still No Such Agency, as far as Congressional budgetary monitoring is concerned. But at least specific bureaucrats get to squirm in front of the cameras. They mumble, or stonewall, or lose their hard drives. Senator Snort huffs and puffs. Nothing happens.
When Congressional committees hold hearings on bureaucratic misconduct, the members fuss and fume, but the voters can see who is in charge. It isn’t Congress. The only negative sanction that matters — a budget cut next year — is never imposed.
A Congressional investigation is evidence that Macbeth was right. “It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.”
But it’s great theater. We get to watch Punch and Judy hit each other with rubber bats. A new script every week!
Nothing ever changes.
Politics is the original reality show. It is staged to look as though something important is happening.
What is happening is indeed important: the long-term bankruptcy of Medicare. But that never gets reported on. It is a bipartisan disaster.
Are American troops still in Afghanistan? “Yes.” Why were they sent there? “To kill bin Laden.” Was he there? “No.” But American troops are still there. “Yes.”
American planes are still bombing Iraq. For how long? “For as long as it takes.” How long is that? “We must stay the course.” But Saddam Hussein had nothing to do with 9-11. “That is not the point.” Then what was the point? “He had weapons of mass destruction.” No, he didn’t. “Well, Bush said he did.” You mean that we are stuck with the policies of George W. Bush, no matter what?’ “For as long as it takes.” But Bush has not been in power since January 2009. “He was never in power.” Then who was in power? “Council on Foreign Relations Team B.” Who is in power now? “Power is divided between Team B in Congress and Team A in the White House.” For how long? “For as long as it takes.”