Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Once again economy trumps everything

No, it wasn’t Obamacare. No, it wasn’t the deficit. No, it wasn’t the excessive partisanship in Congress. No, it wasn’t the bailout. No, it wasn’t even high taxes.

It remained the economy, Stupid.
Voters were lashing out in pain at the polls Tuesday, to the benefit of the out party, the Republicans.

The ejected Democrats fell victim to the Great Recession, which rolls on endlessly. They didn’t create the downturn. In so far as elected officials are to blame, Republicans deserve more of the rap because of their unswerving support for the fiscally reckless, oversight-eschewing policies of George Bush.

But the economy was too slow to recover after the Democrats took power, so they paid the price. Even exceptional lawmakers, like Sen. Russ Feingold of Wisconsin, went down.
U.S. Sen. Russ Feingold

Maybe President Obama should have heeded the advice of economist-columnist Paul Krugman and did a bigger, more aggressive stimulus package. Sure, the Tea Party types would have had even bigger conniption fits than they did. But the result could well have been a faster recovery and thus a happier electorate and continued Democratic control of the House. The stickler, of course, would have been getting a bigger package passed.

Republicans risk trouble if they act on the false belief it was their message that won the day. They claim the people don’t want what Republicans derisively call Obamacare. But try repealing it, and watch the howls of protest. Health care reform helps people much more than it hurts anybody.

Republicans may delude themselves into believing that the people want to renew Bush’s tax cuts for the wealthy. But those cuts failed to keep us out of the Great Recession and are likely to continue to flop at producing jobs, which are what the people really want.

Republicans may think they were elected to balance the budget by cutting spending. But such action could slow the economy and prolong the recovery and thus alienate the electorate. (See earlier post, "The deficit in Republican thinking.")

There is a silver lining for Democrats. According to the exit polls reported on TV, they overwhelmingly won the youth vote. Trouble is, young people didn’t vote in as big a number as they did two years ago – a failure that allowed the Republicans to romp. Still, the G.O.P. remains a dying party, with only enough strength now to score victories when young people stay home.

But those young people will mature and thus vote more often. At the same time the ranks of the elderly G.O.P. will shrink due to deaths. What’s more, two groups that have sought refuge in the Democratic Party – African Americans and Latinos – are expanding.

Yes, Tuesday was bad for Democrats. But they mustn’t take the loss personally. The electorate was in pain and had to lash out at somebody. What’s more, better days lie ahead for the Dems and, if they stay true to their principles, the country.


  1. I wrote the above post overnight, before Barack Obama held today's press conference, which I'm now watching. Obviously, he read the post because he's making the same points, albeit in a more dignified way. Well, even if he hasn't read the post, I'm happy to see he drew the right lessons from the election.

  2. Thursday, November 4, 2010
    After the Storm...

    Instead of paying attention to the talking heads in the media both print and electric I woke up after the mid-term elections and stared at myself in my bathroom mirror affirming once again that I define my existence and reality...

    I also realize the most important forces and influences in my orbit are those I allow into my circle of life. Political candidates are human scripts whose voices read words that are meant to solict votes nothing more but votes...

    My life is shaped by how I define what is progressive and worthy. I am still going to respect my elders, mentor the youth, love my family, speak to my neighbors, feed the birds and love this wonderful thing called life...

    The storm is a good thing reminds me of many things that are important

  3. It's to laugh.... that is the phrase that comes to mind as I recall this same type of voter dissatisfaction in 2006 and 2008. Only in those years Democrats were the lucky recipients. It's hard to believe that a mere two years has erased the memories of the Bush a.k.a Cheney regime that: thrust us into an unnecessary war costing thousand of lives; precipitated the current recession with unwise economic policies that benefited the rich; committed numerous impeachable offenses like eavesdropping on American citizens without warrants and sanctioning torture; granted no-bid contracts to Cheney's former employer Halliburton (a company by the way that for years paid no U.S. taxes and a company by the way that Cheney continued to receive monetary benefits from during his vice presidency/presidency); and lastly, because space is limited, had such an inept response to the Hurricane Katrina disaster that many segments of New Orleans still suffer today.

    All that seems to have been forgotten in a mere two years as witnessed by the electorate putting this same party in power in the House. And another puzzling aspect is that the Obama administration was allowed a mere two years to fix what it took Bush eight years to break. Yeah, it's to laugh.

  4. But to address the premise of your article, I agree --- jobs, jobs, jobs. That was the question and the answer that should become the focus of the Administration.

  5. I woke up this morning to the news that employment numbers rose to 160k for October and a revised figures 106k up in September. These number are important to me because I have a small business and in the last two months business has been good. So something is working and to see these people (republicans) get back behind the wheel is disheartening. I'm now disenchanted that we (regular people) will never be able compete with the money of big business. If we rise up and get a small victory, they spend more money and squash our efforts. It is a perplexing dilemma, they've been on a campaign to retake this government and I'm afraid our short minded nation lack's the toughness or mental capacity to protect there future. To a degree, President Obama deserves the much of this backlash by not focusing on the economy when he had the chance, and quite as its kept, I respect his brilliants but, even I could see that Giethner was a plant to hold back this economy long enough for the republicans to have this opportunity. Why would any thinking person hire this guy, who helped put us in this situation. President needs to quash his kumbayah efforts and change his administration, that reflects the peoples agenda. Pickup your equipment and leave these war's, reverse NAFTA and add the public option to healthcare reform and don't give tax breaks to millionaires at the public expense. Oooh whats the use, I don't know whats worse, a smart man with no balls or a dummy with all the balls in the world.