04 November 2010

On the Election ~ Why Republicans Are Overstating Their Case

(1) The active 'electorate' for this fiasco was older and whiter by a considerable measure than in 2008. That means blacks and young folks stayed home in large numbers. The Democrats did not mobilize their base - in large part because they were running away from anything resembling "hope" and "change" and in equally large part because over the past two years they have made scant progress in building those buzz-words into actual policies.

(2) Who did old white folks vote for? Not wanna-be conservatives. Compare the performance of so-called "Blue Dog" democrats with members of the Progressive Caucus. The Blue Dogs are Republicans in canine clothing. And they went down to defeat in large numbers (on npr this evening I heard that 48% of the BD Causcus lost their seats in Congressional elections). The Progressives, however, fared substantially better (the same npr broadcast said only 5% of that caucus lost seats). It surely pays to run to the right if you are a Democrat!

Also, despite all the media hype, the putative 'tea party' effect seems to have been relatively weak. Check out this graphic from The New York Times which documents the fact that candidates affiliated with the TP lost at a rate of very nearly two to one. Running to the extreme right seems to pay off well for Republicans! All that the successful tea-partiers will do is pursue a laughable legislative agenda.

(3) Since the Republicans had no viable policies on offer, there was nothing of theirs the electorate could repudiate. It is a commonplace that "the American people" did not express great confidence in the Repubs. They announced they are sick and tired of the status quo. But that does not mean they careened to the right.

(4) The Republicans are obtuse enough to not see any of that. According to this report in The Guardian, they are planning to use their re-appropriated committee positions to "investigate" all sorts of imagined wrong-doing on the part of Obama and his minions. Once they start wasting time and money on that sort of idiocy instead of dealing with unemployment they are dead. In their frenzy to make good on Mitch McConnell's pledge to insure Obama is a one term president they are going to shoot themselves in the foot - scratch that, both feet.

(5) The Republican diagnosis of our economic problems also will be a disaster if they seek to implement it. No need to elaborate.

(6) So the sensible view, which you sometimes hear, is that a hard turn to the right is ill-advised. The problem is how to remedy unemployment and its attendant hardships. The Republicans have nothing to offer there. It remains to be seen if the Dems can shake off the wanna-be syndrome and pursue economic policies that work for regular people rather than the rich. I am not hopeful. Obama is already beginning to grovel.

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