What Will the President Do?

The biggest political question on the table is how President Obama will react to the Republican’s gains, this election. Victor Davis Hanson notes that Obama’s post-election speech didn’t indicate that he understands the message that the American people are trying to send to him. But here’s the interesting paragraph from Hanson’s post:

Had not some zealots talked of possible 90-to-100-seat gains, the Democrats would be in greater shock today at the near-historic 60+ House pick-up, along with a stunning near sweep of state legislatures and governorships, as well as gains in the Senate — and all a mere 21 months after the beginning of hope and change. The idea that we are going to copy EU socialism is dead. So is Keynesian massive borrowing. So is the promised second wave of Obamism, such as cap-and-trade and blanket amnesty. Obama’s supporters can brag that erstwhile absolutely safe senior Democratic senators like Boxer and Reid managed to get reelected, but they must understand that Obama’s vision and his method of enacting it simply turned off the vast majority of the country.

I agree that the short-term prospects of American socialism are bleak, although it’s possible that the virus has already been injected into our system of government to reemerge after a period of welfare-state gestation. But in trying to predict the actions of Democrats, I can’t help but hear echoes, in Hanson’s reassurances, of the declarations that ObamaCare was dead after Republican Scott Brown won in Massachusetts. What Obama and the Democrats proved, then, was that they were not operating according to political expectations. This election was largely a consequence of that fact, but it’s not certain that they’ll change their script, when the tea leaves were already plain to see last year.

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joe bernstein
joe bernstein
10 years ago

What will Barry do?Who cares?Maybe he oughta consider pissing up a rope.It’s way past time he was made irrelevant.

msteven
msteven
10 years ago

It is nonsense that this election was a message that the people do not want to head toward EU socialism. It makes for good political punditry that it means the people don’t like liberal policies. Anymore than the 2006 & 2008 elections were a message against conservatism. That was the call then too … “wrong direction”.
Elections are won/lost on the ‘current’ state of the economy. It’s no different anytime. There are about 40-45% solid voting blocks for Republican & Democrats. That leaves 10-20% ‘independent’.
You are correct that the election was a consequence that the Congress & Obama did not live up to political expectations. Just as any wave election is. The reality is that wave elections have occurred in both major parties. And whenever it occurs, the winning side screams “this is a mandate for our policies”. But it never is. This was about jobs – and jobs are something over which Congress or the President has little control, certainly in the short term. I disagree with most of Obama’s policies. But just as the economy ran good under Clinton, bad under Bush 41, good for most of Bush 43 but tanked at the end, that is how and where elections are won & lost.
People have an expectation that their political leaders should be held accountable for what is happening in their lives. While bigger government is certainly a liberal idea, the reality is that of either party hold politicians accountable. While Republicans gained this election as a consequence of that, I look forward to the day when people vote based on principles and not holding politicians accountable for things they have no little or no control over. My hope is that it is the electorate who will change their script.

Tommy Cranston
Tommy Cranston
10 years ago

You’re constant harping about “EU Socialism” bespeaks of someone who has never even been to the continent, am I right?
No country in the EU can remotely be described as “socialist”. If anything the continent has been moving to the Right for 30 years after semi-socialist economies collapsed in places like Sweden and pre-Thatcher UK.
Indeed NO place in Europe shares our socialist idiocy of giving a check and free food, housing, utilities, transportation, education, medical, babysitting etc. to illegal aliens. Plus citizenship to their babies.

David S
David S
10 years ago

Good comment, msteven. I am thinking more and more that we, as a country, politically, are a bunch of posers. Conservatives have railed for years against the FDR safety net programs, but have never- even when promising to end them- seriously considered actual action. Actual action would cut against their anger message. Abortion could be used as the same argument. Liberals have always railed against this country’s foreign policies. But even when they have had the power and ability to affect change- they don’t. Posers. Both sides are more interested in their political message than actually seeing those positions actually put in effect and tested. Conservatives would rather have progressives continue to take care of the poor and progressives would rather have conservatives take care of the guns.

Scott
Scott
10 years ago

Too True, Davis S. Reps and Dems are like one big happy party, making marginal changes when they have power, but always preserving the basic big gov’t stuff American’s love so much. Dems have even climbed on the “We must cut taxes” train of late, leaving one to wonder: If both parties love to spend, and neither is willing to increase revenue through tax hikes (or even the planned expiration of tax cuts), how do we ever balance the national check book? No matter. I’m sure our elected leaders will figure it out.
I’m just glad this era of Democratic tyranny is over. Although I must say that for tyranny, it was not what I expected. I always figured tyranny would involve low men with aviator sunglasses and autmatic weapons patrolling my neighborhood; turns out it was just credit card reform. Thanks for everything, tyranny. We’ll miss you!

chuckR
chuckR
10 years ago

650 state legislature seat gain for the Republicans – a Democrat mass extinction event at the state level. That’s the feeder system for higher state and national office.
There are more Republican governors to gerrymander districts their way in this census year.
Locally, how many census cycles before RI is reduced to its guaranteed single seat in the H of R as a reward for driving its populace to live in other states with a better political and business climate? In the upcoming reapportionment, Wiki mentions a study where it looks like Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Mass, Michigan, NJ, NY and Penn may all lose 1 and Ohio may lose 2 seats. Listening to all the gored oxen bellow will be interesting.

msteven
msteven
10 years ago

Thanks David S. I agree with you that the politicians are for the most part ‘posers’ as you appropriately referred to them. My point (and disappointment) is that this posing is, to a large degree, effective in swaying the votes of those non-partisan voters who decide elections. There is no policy or decision which benefits everyone. There are costs and benefits to weigh; some will be adversely affected while others gain. But those realities are not acknowledged because that is not what people want to hear. They do not want the truth, they want posing. Posing that politicians can create jobs, that they can eliminate poverty, that they can change how other countries behave. And it works.

Scott
Scott
10 years ago

“My point (and disappointment) is that this posing is, to a large degree, effective in swaying the votes of those non-partisan voters who decide elections.”
I disagree. Posing [for our purposes, politicians championing causes during an election they have no intention of seeing through once in office (see Health Care Repeal, Congress of 2011-13)] is, I think, effective in riling up party bases. The rest of us – in the main – vote on the economy.

Glen
Glen
10 years ago

You want to know the “message” that the “American people” are trying to send to President Obama?
Well, I am an American citizen so I am part of the “American people.” I voted for David Cicilline. My message to the president is this: Don’t listen to right right-wing lies (see, e.g., “death panels”), and keep fighting for us.

Tommy Cranston
Tommy Cranston
10 years ago

My message to the president is this: Don’t listen to right right-wing lies (see, e.g., “death panels”), and keep fighting for us.
Posted by Glen at November 5, 2010 4:46 PM
Who is us?-Unions, cronies, millionaire marxists, illegal aliens and welfare mooches. The rest of America said NO Tuesday, if you didn’t notice.

msteven
msteven
10 years ago

Scott, I agree that ‘posing’ – championing causes they know they cannot see through – for the purpose of riling the party base is effective. So is pointing out that your political opponents mother once worked for a company where the sister of the owner was convicted of drug charges. To me, either way of voting based solely on party affiliation or based on the economy is an unfortunate state of affairs.
Glen, the same can also be said of … pretty much anyone. “Part” of the American people did not vote for the President and their message was not to listen to the Presidents lies (see, e.g., all troops out of Iraq in 100 days). Hyperbole and rhetoric can swing both ways.

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