The elected feds are now overwhelmingly Democrats, which, the way I see it, can shake out in one of two ways. Either they can take the responsibility seriously, and be innovative and lead us down the right path, or just subscribe to dogmatic principles and enact them because they can. I'm hoping it's the former, but only time will tell.
I saw something refreshing the other day from some Republican senator who said that, despite the clear lack of leadership in the party, they needed to own up to the mistakes they've made, analyze the party's core values, and not arbitrarily work against the majority just because it's the only way to differentiate themselves. That was music to my ears. It took Democrats all of Clinton's second term and much of Bush's first to make those admissions and get their shit together. Our most stable time in this country was during the Clinton years, when we had a Democrat in the White House and Republicans controlling Congress. The two seemed to balance each other out, and we had an unprecedented budget surplus.
So if you read up on these Republicans who want the party to get its shit together, there's some hope that they can make it happen. Unfortunately, it's not the Republicans who are being douche bags right now (aside from those having affairs like Sanford or sticking it to Alaska like Stevens and Palin), it's the pundits and entertainers who are hurting them the most. The rhetoric and hate these guys (and women) are putting out there is intense, and I think it characterizes the conservative base of the party as bitter partisan morons who aren't invited to the sandbox. I'm waiting for one of them to stand up and say, you know, you're really not helping us here.
When you look carefully at congresscritters and presidents, I think you tend to see that few of them are all that far off center. I'd even argue that's the reason the last three presidential elections were as close as they were. Unfortunately, we live in a society that favors things in black and white, where everything is one or the other. And if something bad happens, then the only "obvious" action is to do the opposite of what we were doing before.
If the Republicans can't find someone who can speak above all of that bullshit, they're in trouble. And if they can't bring some sense of balance to the force, then we have to hope like crazy that the Democrats take their responsibility very seriously. They've got a very smart guy at the top who listens to people. Unfortunately, we're already seeing people start to be dissatisfied with him because after only six months, things aren't yet all puppies and rainbows.
At the end of the day, I suspect time and market forces will do a great deal more to fix what hurts than the feds will. I'm still optimistic that the feds' actions aren't going to hurt us worse, but time will tell on that one.