Can Either James Kwak or Mark Thoma Build This Model?
Update: Brad DeLong looks at the data and suggests that the problem may be that the current President is as innumerate as the previous one.
Mark Thoma quotes James Kwak:
So no, I don’t think Obama is abandoning his principles for political advantage; I think these are his principles. And while I’m upset at him, I’m upset at him for being wrong on the policy level, not for abandoning anything or selling out…I always thought Obama was a moderate who looked like a progressive.
I’m with Kwak on that; it’s one of the reasons I supported the relatively-more-progressive Hillary through the primaries.*
Where I’m less sanguine is the base from which Mark let him start:
Obama is certainly in a decent position politically, and I would bet on him to be reelected comfortably in 2012.
In 1996, Bill Clinton had the advantage of Bob Dole—the 1996 equivalent of Newt Gingrich—being his opponent. Dole had been a known quantity to voters for over a decade (“Do you want Grits and Fritz or a Ford Dole?”) who supported Clarence Thomas, talked about Hideo Nomo of the Brooklyn Dodgers, and fell off the front of a stage—and still garnered more than 40% of the vote, losing the popular vote by only slightly more votes than Ross Perot won. And that was after the advantage of a virtually-uncontested primary, which Mr. Obama may not enjoy.**
Kwak later backtracks a bit:
I think two years would be enough time for labor markets to recover if we could expect policy supporting employment along the way. But we are likely to get just the opposite, deficit cutting measures and other policies that work against employment and hence work against electoral success for the Democrats. Toss in a compromise on Social Security that angers the Democratic base, a possibility that cannot be dismissed as Obama follows up on what appears to be a successful move to the center, and the future does not look as bright. Obama may think he is playing the game well now, but the game is far from over.
This is at least far more accurate than the declaration that Obama won when his opening g4 was followed by the Republican’s e5. And Thoma follows up with his expectation of Obama’s next move being f3:
That would put an end to any stimulus due to the tax compromise. Stimulating the economy was never the intent of the GOP when they agreed to the tax compromise, it was all about the estate tax and tax cuts for the wealthy. They will do what they can to decrease government spending over the next two years, starting in January, and if they are successful it will reverse any benefit the economy might have received from the compromise.
Given that we all agree on the likely next two years, it would be nice to see an economic model from either Mark or James Kwak that justifies the expectation that Obama is in a position “to be reelected comfortably in 2012.”
At the very least, I want to offer to bet with Mr. Kwak, at even odds, with proceeds to go to the charity of the winner’s choice. Here’s my choice.
*The other being that she would know from the start that she was hated, and be ready for bear at the outset. (As an aside: sorry, Scott, but hiring Mark Penn, while a mistake, is not a revelation of policy preferences. Or, if you want to argue it is, tell us what replacing Howard Dean and the 50-State Strategy with Tim Kaine and Suborning Democrats such as Sibelius and Napolitano into the Administration is.)
**I say this not only because I would like to see him challenged—his doing a Specter in 2011 is about the only hope for my grandchildren—but also because it makes sense to prepare the field for 2016 and beyond. It would be dumber of the Democrats not to have someone challenge him in the primary, leaving only HRC and Joe Biden as probably 2016 candidates, than it would be to unite behind him in the hope that Republicans nominate someone who is unelectable a la Dole in 1996.
I have said it for years–liberals/progressives do not vote unless someone inspires them. Mitch’s bitch was able to do that in the primaries and in the 2008 general election. With the overhang of high and persistent unemployment, his watered down BFD did not inspire the left in 2010 and they syayed home. Not true of the right. The stakes were obviously high to the unemployed, the left and presumably minorities, but the Democrats were routed. Mitch’s bitch is counting on the sanctimonious left having nowhere else to go in 2012 and he is likely right, but they just will not vote regardless of who the GOP runs including Bible Spice. With a fired up right and independents who justifiably can see no real difference between having a putative Democrat in the White House and a Republican, I see no way for Mitch’s bitch to avoid Jimmy Carter’s fate absent a miraculous economic recovery which just is not going to happen. Indeed, corporations are making so much money because unemployment is high–and they can get virtual slave labor out of those fearful of losing their job, that I expect business and their lackeys in both parties to do everything possible to keep unemployment up over the next two years–after all the govern,ment is not going to tax the money so the more they get the better and if the country fails so what? Not much of a legacy to run on. If Mitch’s bitch had any integrity whatsoever and I do not belive he does, he would announce ala LBJ that he will not seek his party’s nomination in 2012–he clearly was not up for the job and servicing Mitch McConnell can not be very pleasant.
If “O” continues his so called compromise, giving in to what ever the right wants, doesn’t pull a LBJ, gets the nod in 2012, the Repubs nominate Sahra, then it’s quite possible he could win again, only this time, the repubs would be a deciding factor in the win. Why? Because they know he will cave on just about everything they ask for. Many of the seniors will not vote for him, especially if he caves on Social Security, the youth or what ever you want to tag them with, won’t either but for different reasons. There is one thing that both voting blocks have in common, they don’t take kindly to being betrayed. “O” might give his speech’s of give me a chance, but after 4 years of turning his back on those who got him elected in the first election, he will lose them, just like in 2010.
“…as Obama follows up on what appears to be a successful move to the center…”
What is it with the constant claptrap re Obama “moving to the center”? The center of what? The collective wisdom of the Village? Unless Mitch McConnell – or Rick Perry – now represents “the center” of American politics?
A compromise on Social Security — of the kind threatened by the payroll tax holiday and the obvious difficulty in the future of rolling it back — is not moving to the center. The center is keeping the system working as it is. The mid-point between preserving the system or making higher earners pay more for it (virtually 100% of Democratic voters) and privatizing it in whole or in part or cutting benefits (the right wing that controls the Republican Party) may look like the center from inside the Beltway (the Rahm-Broder disease), but it is not remotely close to the real center.
Stop falling for those word games.
Of course, the reality is that we currently have no idea whatsoever — zero — whether the predictions for 27 years into the future will come true or not. We will not have a good clue for quite a few years. Therefore, the one and only responsible thing to do now is not change anyone’s future benefits or demand higher taxes from anyone based on mere speculation — but do nothing whatsoever right now except keep watching — which, by the way, is what the Social Security Trustees do.
This one of the biggest scams in modern history. That some who believe they are progressive think they somehow have to compromise with such a scam because there is a formidable media noise behind it is tragic.
“…the relatively-more-progressive Hillary…”
Why would you conclude that? Their ADA voting scores in the Senate were very close.
I recall Krugman was one of the key people on the Hillary-is-more-progressive side. I think there were a few details, but the one I remember quite clearly was that Hillary favored a healthcare plan with mandates, Obama favored a plan w/o mandates, and w/o mandates no such “affordable care” plan was actually possible, so maybe the whole thing under Obama wouldn’t amount to much. Well we got the mandates, anyway, but without the public option (which had been in both plans IIRC). On its face, mandates do not feel progressive, it’s RomneyCare after all, and progressive is public option or single payer. But they were necessary for this kind of plan, and of course they got in, and perhaps Obama leaving them out in was part of his rhetorical skill, otherwise known as lying.
I know I was convinced at the time by Krugman and other things. Though I also would have said that the difference was finer than splitting hairs, so better to vote for the one with better chance of defeating McPalin. But now that Hillary’s not in the Senate, we really can’t know, but do you think Hillary would have voted against the tax cut deal? Maybe if she had been planning a primary challenge, but otherwise, I think not. Thing to do is find the virtual Hillary by comparing here ADA scores with those currently in the Senate and how they voted.