I Tend to Describe this as "Unwarranted Optimism"
The Shrill One (tm – Brad DeLong) as Optimist:
The result, then, will be high unemployment leading into the 2010 elections, and corresponding Democratic losses. These losses will be worse because Obama, by pursuing a uniformly pro-banker policy without even a gesture to popular anger over the bailouts, has ceded populist energy to the right and demoralized the movement that brought him to power.
Despite all this, the midterms probably won’t give Republicans the majority in the House. But the losses will be big enough to deny Obama a working majority for any major initiatives in the rest of his first term. (My guess is that he’ll be reelected thanks to the true awfulness of the Republican nominee). Since Republicans are dead set against any of the things I think could help pull the economy out of its rut, this means more economic stagnation.
Can anyone point to any evidence of either of the bolded statements being likely to be true? (I’ll pre-emptively conceed that the Republican nominee may well be awful—probably a 75% probability, since the current Best Case Scenario is Mittens. But adjust you expectations by what you would have expected the Democratic Party nominee to be in late 2005.
I dunno….I wouldnt say that expecting the next 4-8 years to be like the last 4-8 years is ‘unwarranted optimism’.
If I predict that GM will be in bad shape in 10 years, I wouldnt say that is optimism/pessimism regardless of what Ford happens to do in 1 quarter during those 10 years.
Predicting that things will continue along the same path they have been traveling for years is usually the safe bet.
I am a life long straight democratic party ticket voter. I will not vote for a democrat this coming election cycle PERIOD. I am also now registered as a pacific green.
“Awfulness from the Republican Nominee?”
You could put Kermit the Frog on the ballot and he would win in a landslide against Obama if the election were held today. His only option is going to be to cheat.
The only way the Republican Party is not going to have a majority in the House and the Senate along with a Republican President by the end of 2012, is if they keep listening to the left and not burn down the big tent theory….you know…..kinda like going with McCain as your nominee. If they stay to the right they gonna win the fight!
I’m a Republican, and I think:
The GOP will make gains in the House but will not take a majority.
In 2012 Obama could be viewed as an awful candidate, but the GOP could run an even worse (awfuller?) candidate.
As a Liberal who has financially supported the Democrats since the 202 cycle, I have stopped giving the Democrats any money. Until they do something FDR-ish, I’m keeping my money for myself. Sending money to this winppy Democratic Party is throwing it down a hole. And not even a hole as useful as Keynes described!
I want the Democrats to succeed, but it’s up to them now, God help us all.
Obama and the Democrats sealed their fate when they decided they wanted to be loved instead of feared. Now they are wimps of whom nobody is afraid. No clout as a result.
The Republicans are down too far to return to a majority in the house with one election. And unless the encumbant is a train wreck, they are assured of reelection. Encumbancy is a huge advantage.
“when they decided they wanted to be loved instead of feared.” Jim
I think that you give the Dems too much credit for good intentions. Try looking at the two parties as a good cop, bad cop dynamic. Both work for the same group and we’re not a part of that group. Certain corporate interests have the ear of all political participants. They use social issues to create an appearence of a difference, but even their stances on social issues seem to be differential only on the surface. The Dems have major majorities ini both parts of the Congress and still they can’t (or won’t) do the right thing as many populists would define it. Of course elected officials infrequently take a populist stance and push hard to enact it.
“when they decided they wanted to be loved instead of feared.” Jim
Keep everything square here. They are neither feared nor loved. They think it is about triangulation and they really think American politics functions on a functionally true version of a centrist truth. In reality the truth does not exist and there are just carrots and sticks. You want votes from key democrats and republicans then you profile them. You make a list of their pet projects, and core constituencies; then you draft plans that derange them and show them what you have in mind for them if they do not go along with what you want.
If that fails, you re-profile them again, but this time as sinners, as fallible human beings, and then make a list of all those embarrassing and career ending habits they have: you in fact nurture those habits on camera. Then you find out who is the most revered among them and the proceed to burn their MF village as a sign to the rest. Then you restore order and legislate. The Democrats god bless their tiny impudent hearts think that the centre actually exists; that rational argument can bring everyone there with some mild cajoling. They view emotive rhetoric and malice of forethought as exceptional political tools.
They have political reality ass backwards. There is some irony that Republicans do post-modernism better than Democrats.
It is either that or what jack said. I am torn the truth must lie somewhere in the middle.
If our political leaders are right only 51% of the time I’d call that good luck. Most political leaders don’t meet even that low bar.
That’s a naive point of view regarding poliltical leadership. They are right almost all of the time, but they’re not right about what you want them to be right about. Was it right to bail out private corporations at the cost of billions of dollars? I’d guess that those organizations that got the bail out funds think it was very right. There are other businesses that have realized the rightness of Iraq and Afghanistan. Blackwater and Haliburton are the most obvious, but there are many others involved.
If you mean right from some moral perspective, who’s morality are we to use as the measure?
Really what we need is a third party. Tweedle dee or twiddle dum just doesn’t cut it anymore, especially when they are merely whores for monied interests.
Terms limits, public financing of elections, no gerrymandered districts, that’s what we desperately need. Voting for an incumbent is perpetuating the dysfunctional status quo.
“…the truth must lie somewhere in the middle.”
Some argue that NASA should make a manned space flight to Mars.
Others are against sending astronauts to Mars.
The “Mars debate” is being dominated by extremists. Between these two extremes is a reasonable, balanced middle position, which is: Send the astronauts halfway to Mars.
I don’t think you understand the point. It was a paraphrase of Machiavelli. I was saying in effect that the Democrats made a mistake in trying to secure GOP “cooperation” for their program. Instead of pushing ahead they got bogged down in “compromise”, etc. and it hasn’t done them any good.
If there is a stupid way to go, you can be sure the USA will probably take it. We haven’t had any brains with power in Washington since Clinton. Since 2000 dumb has been the dominant force there.
Let me know of some intelligent path we are taking in policy. War? Nope. Economy? Nope. What else of importance is there? Health care? Nope.
So, late to the party and back to the main topic. The Democratic majority in the House is large by recent standards. That means Republicans need to beat a great many incumbents in order to take the House. Incumbency is generally considered an advantage. Coattails tend at the general election tend to lead to a lot of lost seats for the party of the president at the midterm. The reason Bush could crow about loosing so few seats at his first mid-term is that he had no coattails. Heck, he didn’t even win his own election.
Republicans, as a group, are polling just about as badly as Democrats. The real test is district-by-district polling, and I don’t know how that is going, if any is in fact being done. Given my ignorance on that point, I’ll just stick to what we know. Incumbency helps and the majority party is usually blamed for economic circumstances, with circumestances from 4 to 6 months prior to the vote apparently the most important. So much for the first bold comment.
So while there is something approaching “evidence” for the first statement, there is also evidence against.
As to the second question, well we have to take the GOP as we find it. There is no annointed candidate, and we have pretty good evidence that annointed candidates don’t win nominations anyway. We do have a good idea what the GOP powers like. The last batch of GOP candidates was dreadful. The GOP could pick someone like Palin. ‘Nuff said.
The question is whether the GOP powers are big enough to admit to the terribleness of their choices, because that is the first step to learning. If they can learn, they have a chance. Here, too, this isn’t “evidence” in any formal sense, but you’ve asked for “evidence” in a context that doesn’t tend to provide much till the polling begins in earnest, and even polling is pretty unreliable.
I am glad somone gets irony.
Crazy aa he might be, Ron Paul nailed it when he called our current system neither Capitalism nor Socialism, but Corporatism. For example, we (right v. left) scream at each other “let the free market, not a pay Czar set CEO salaries” versus “No, the CEO salaries are obscene given workers’ pay and company performance” We are both convinced our statements are true. FWIW I think both are true. The Gov should not be setting CEO pay, but CEO pay is not currently free market either. It is heavily skewed by Gov policies that make the a disjointed group of average, ignorant(not stupid) regular people the majority shareholders in many major corporations through retirement plans. How many people don’t know that they actually own stock in Coke and Pepsi through their 401k, 403b, etc, mutual funds.
Once we start to figure out the game being played by the Dem/Rep someone shouts abortion and we quickly run back to the comfort of our respective parties… bring on a sane third party and they will come (I hope).
Of course a new party would be as much a whore for monied interests as are the present parties. As for getting money out of politics, what a laugh. The plutocracy has politics exactly where they want it (bought and sold) and won’t for a minute tolerate getting money out of it. Dream on…..
Same here. The Dems have earned the same kind of loathing that the Republicans have rated for years. Never thought I’d say it, but Nader really was right.
Erm, I think you’re missing the point. I doubt very much that office-holding Dems are concerned in the slightest about how “their program” fares. As Jack says, “their program”, the one that really counts, is the program of the 1%-2% at the top of the pyramid. That program is going fine, and **will** go fine, regardless of whether Dems or Reps hold more seats. Dems do corporate scutwork every bit as well as their “opponents”. They’ll be rewarded with pretty much the same lobbying and consulting gigs.