We're always being told that elections have consequences. Yes, they certainly do and no one knows it better today than the Democratic officeholders thrown out of work by a fed-up electorate yesterday.
But oh, the humanity. It's not just Sen. Mark Udall, Gov. Dan Quinn and the like who find themselves jobless in D.C., Springfield and wherever but also their loyal staffers, campaign aides and other hangers-on.
Leaving aside the Statehouse and City Hall denizens who will soon by looking for work, Washington's K Street is suddenly awash in Democratic job-seekers. While a few may swallow hard and go the academic route or slink home with tail between legs, most will try to find a slot that keeps them in the game -- which means finding a lobbying job toot de suite.
Of course, not all lobbyists work on K St. just as not all movies are made in Hollywood and not all financial shenanigans occur on Wall Street, but it's useful shorthand born of necessity. After all, just as by most calculations there are more dead people than living people, there are more ex-officeholders and bootlickers in Washington than current ones. They all have to pay the mortgage on their McLean digs and K Street is the place to do it -- the inner circle that knows which oxes can be gored, which interests must be protected and which resources can be plundered.
Who needs baristas?
The wrinkle right now, of course, is that it's mostly Democrats who are out of work. And the reason they're out of work is that the Republicans have won control of both the House and Senate. Think of what would happen if everyone suddenly switched from coffee to tea. Tea houses would be besieged by unemployed baristas.
While baristas may be hard-working and entertaining, they are not necessarily all that attractive to tea shoppes. Such is the predicament in which unemployed Democrats find themselves today.
When Congress is divided, K Street firms like to say they are bipartisan. But with business-oriented Republicans now in charge on Capitol Hill, the most attractive influence peddlers will be the ones who can grab onto the coattails of those who wield the power in the GOP ranks. By definition, these are not Democrats.
What does this mean to the disgruntled voters who have presumably been hoping to send a message that they want Washington get to work and do something? It means that they will get what they asked for. And history tells us that does not always turn out well.
In the short term, at least, a Republican Congress may be expected to begin cranking out pro-business legislation and assuring us that this will create more jobs, a more robust economy, improved climate change and so forth. Of course, with the Democrats continuing to hold the White House, it's questionable how much of this legislation will be signed into law and how much will be vetoed but rest assured that numerous camels will get their noses into tents that have hitherto been closed to them.
The one consolation for out-of-work Dems may be that the sting of defeat will be such that Democrats will even further intensify their already strenuous efforts for 2016, which should mean more jobs organizing campaigns, fund-raising and generally agitating on behalf of Democratic causes and candidates. This does not pay as well as dividing up the swag from an office on the Hill but it beats teaching, flipping burgers or greeting Walmart shoppers.
So rest well, America. All is well in Washington. We're open for business. The bars are busy, the steak houses are packed and the Little People are running back and forth parking cars and keeping the white wine chilled. We'll get through this. Maybe you will too.