Here is the notorious commentary of Peter Jennings, following the Republican sweep in the 1994 elections:
“Some thoughts on those angry voters. Ask parents of any two-year-old and they can tell you about those temper tantrums: the stomping feet, the rolling eyes, the screaming. It’s clear that the anger controls the child and not the other way around. It’s the job of the parent to teach the child to control the anger and channel it in a positive way. Imagine a nation full of uncontrolled two-year-old rage. The voters had a temper tantrum last week. . . . Parenting and governing don’t have to be dirty words: The nation can’t be run by an angry two-year-old.” (I have plucked this from the invaluable Media Research Center, on this page — or whatever the appropriate Web terminology is.)
Okay, here is Vanity Fair’s editor, Graydon Carter, on the midterm elections 16 years later:
“A distinguished colleague of mine likens the wiggy mood of the nation to that of a hormonal teenager. What do you call an electorate that seems prone to acting out irrationally, is full of inchoate rage, and is constantly throwing fits and tantrums? You call it teenaged.” (For Carter’s full column, go here. It is more “nuanced” — mockable word, I know — than Jennings’s commentary.)
From two-year-olds to teenagers: We’re making progress! We’ve been upgraded! We’re at least getting older. When I pointed this out earlier today, my colleague Rick Brookhiser said, “Maybe next time we’ll be cranky old men.”
Remember the rule: When the people vote for Republicans, they are angry, confused, deranged. When they vote for Democrats, they are a lovely, enlightened citizenry!