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delirium happy

Just keep on trying till you run out of cake

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US Midterms question
delirium happy
I'm far from an expert in US politics. I am, however, an interested observer. I was wondering if someone from leftpondia could explain something to me. As I understand things, the state of play is something like this:

The Bush administration is massively unpopular at the moment.
Historically, it is rare for one party to have control of the presidency, the senate, and the house of representatives.
Before these elections, the Republicans did so.
The Democrats now have a reasonable majority in the house.
The absolute best they can hope for in the senate (with Virginia and Montana still uncertain) is for no party to have an overall majority, but for Democrats to be in control due to support of independants.

And yet, the Democrats seem to be celebrating this like it's some massive victory. As far as I can see, this isn't a victory at all. It's achieving the sort of base minimum of where they should be, inspite of mass dissolusionment with the opposition. To me, these results are saying "well really, we're only voting for you as the least worst option, but you don't excite us at all".

So my question is whether there's something else going on that I just don't grasp (very likely), or whether the great big celebration is all a show (fairly likely), or whether the people involved are too dumb to realise they could be doing a whole lot better (less likely, but not beyond the realms of possibility). Explain, anyone?

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The House can block the Senate. We won't get to fix anything, but we can stop a lot of the rampant evil. We've had 5 years of rampant evil with no end in sight, and for many of us, we've been screaming about how our country is dying as a free nation and watching our fellow citizens support the people doing it. In 2004, everything was obviously a mess and the Republicans were obviously evil - and yet many, many citizens still supported them. We're celebrating that the people finally agree with us that this is a problem and needs to stop. We're celebrating because we are just barely, barely starting to turn it around, and we're hoping we can keep going. We're celebrating because it's the first tiny beam of light in ages of darkness and dammit we need something to celebrate, and we've gotten so used to getting depressed after elections.

And we're celebrating a bunch of small victories. Pombo got voted out in California - he seems to be corrupt, so I'm glad he's gone. It was not an obvious thing that that would happen. I have friends and my lothario has family in Virginia, and they really, really want to get Allen out, and it looks like they may have. One of my housemates is from Kentucky, and they finally had an incumbent who has never been liked but always managed to barely hang on be voted out by someone who seems really great. There's a lot of small local stuff that will help our neighborhoods and states. And also, of course, losses. But it's not all losses.

And given how very much was going against us, how huge a victory we needed to get control of Congress, the fact that we got it, got more than anyone really expected, that's a huge sign both for what the people can do there and for what the general population wants.

It's not like I like the Democrats. I like some particular Democrats, but I don't like the party. I just think they're closer to what I want. I don't want rampant Democrat power or even for people to love the Democratic party. I want people to dislike both parties, but try to vote intelligently and to stop reelecting people who do horrible things.

We've lost so many rights in just 5 years. Torture is now legal. Holding people without a lawyer or any sort of judicial process is now legal... sort of, I assume the courts will do something about that eventually, but in the meantime... We're losing all of our basic freedoms and church and state are being entangled. So, we're glad to see any sort of progress toward stopping that. We know it'll take a long time to clean up the damage done, and we still have a long way to go, but this gives us much better odds for 2008 and 2010...

I guess what it all comes down to is - we might be able to fix this. Just maybe. And so we're pleased.

Oh, and also... as much as gay marriage took a beating, the minimum wage went up in several states. This is long overdue, and it may have a really large effect on a lot of people. It's not as glamorous as taking control of the House, but it's really important. And it's something that I know people are celebrating, but not always remembering to mention.

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