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Not a Post-Apocalyptic Wrap-Up - Will Durst

First things first. This is a post-election wrap-up. Not a post-apocalyptic wrap-up. Yeah, the GOP did well. After a change in administrations, the minority party won a bunch of House seats in the following midterm election. Ho hum. Whoop ti-do. In itself, this is about as unusual as a piquant odor emanating from the dumpster behind a fish market.

Happened to Reagan: 27 seats in '82. To George H.W. Bush: 31 seats in 1990. Clinton: 54 seats in 1994. Would have happened to George W. Bush if 9/11 hadn't gone down the year before. It's a natural contraction. Democracy's labor pains. Only the gestation period is a bit longer, the soreness more lingering, and felt thousands of miles wider.

Like Newt Gingrich before him, John Boehner will discover that conducting the train is different than throwing bottles at the train. Fortunately for him, it's a train, not a bicycle and he can run right over the broken glass. Because there's about $2 billion worth of it from untraceable sources lying on the tracks.

The GOP's biggest problem might have been inviting the Tea Party into their house. It's one thing to chuckle at the antics of the red-headed stepchildren acting up at the backyard barbecue, and another entirely after they move in, and you attempt to carry on a conversation with other adults, while they persist on waving pitchforks and torches, poking and scorching the ceiling. "Could you keep it down to a dull roar, please? We're trying to watch 'Lobbyist Idol' here."

Admittedly the number of seats changing hands this time around was a bit high. North of 60. About 15 percent of the total lower body. Erasing Democratic gains of '06 and '08 combined. But look at the bright side. Ummm. Unh, no. Not that. Wait. Ummm. Okay. Got some. The Democrats can book a smaller banquet room for their Freshman Class Induction Party. No more need to stock up on those 50-pound bags of Blue Dog Chow.

You could make a good argument the Tea Party is responsible for throwing one House of Congress into the GOP's column, and another out of it. The wrestler's wife lost. Christine O'Donnell may not be a witch, but neither is she a U.S. Senator. Same with Sharron Angle, except for the witch part. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid was preordained to lose, and to lose bad to any halfway-decent opponent. But as luck would have it, he didn't face one.

The red tide seemed to congeal after hitting the Rockies. California, Oregon and Washington avoided the brunt of the anti-incumbent wave. Most likely due to the fact that the weather is nicer, giving Hope and Change a longer shelf life.

Don't be distracted by the parties incessantly trading bipartisan air kisses. Like the handshake before the first round of a prize-fight, it's simply a ritual and nobody expects any true civility. When the administration says they want to work with Boehner and McConnell, they do. The way a five-year-old with a magnifying glass wants to work with ants. Same goes for Republicans. Sure, they're offering up an olive branch now, but be real careful; might just be a painted, paralyzed asp with the anesthetic timed to wear off on January 8.

Will Durst is a San Francisco-based political humor columnist. He is distributed by the Cagle Cartoons Inc. syndicate. E-mail Will at durst@caglecartoons.com.