I’m not optimistic about the chances for bipartisan collaboration in Washington for the next two years. The GOP rejected out of hand any proposal the President and Democrats floated, and they were rewarded (richly) for it. The Republicans’ real challenge lies in not pulling the stunts that took down Newt Gingrich (shutting down the government, impeachment, and the like) and taking their opposition to the point where it rankles the American eletorate. Who knows, I could well be wrong, and I truly hope that I am, but given everything we’ve seen thus far, I’m not holding my breath.
So, with the nation’s capital most likely going on the back burner due to gridlock for the forseeable future, what’s there to look at? The states. We just went through a Census this year, and with every Census, the states have the opportunity to redraw their Congressional districts. In four states, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Iowa, the Republican party will have a free hand to redraw the districts as they see fit, as the governorship and state legislatures are controlled by the GOP in all three cases. The first three states are kind of a big deal (to quote Ron Burgundy), and Iowa, though not as populous, still matters. Between the four states, there’s 57 House seats at stake.
The real shift in power wasn’t in Washington. The real shift in power was in Columbus, Lansing, Harrisburg and Des Moines, of all places. Go figure.