November 10, 2012

turning a corner . . .

hardhead said, "please explain."
After months of campaigning at a cost of around $6 billion, it looks almost exactly like the status quo ante to me. We've got the same president; the Democrats picked up two seats in the Senate (hooray for Elizabeth Warren!), but nothing like a super-majority; and the House is essentially unchanged, with the Republicans still firmly in control. Think this crew will be able to accomplish any more than they have the last 2 years? If so, please explain.
So, very much off the top of my head - no lengthy term paper, just some jotted notes . . .

Let me start by disagreeing that the Republicans remain firmly in control (see earlier post quoting Matthew Iglesias). And I'm satisfied with having the same President and expect as the economy continues to improve, he will be able to accomplish more of what he has talked about. I think the President's win was stunning in its potential to make sweeping changes - maybe more long-term than short-term. He has fashioned a coalition that is now the Democratic party going forward. This coalition is real (certainly not permanent) and promises to be long-lasting. It is the first time in the nation's history that we have a true multiracial political party. And if you go down the list of politicians at the forefront of the two major parties, the Democrats have almost without exception the cream of that limited crop. The Democrats are far more willing to accept reality - global climate change, dinosaurs with feathers that pre-date all the biblical stories, etc. Even with all of our fears of the Republicans owning and rigging the voting machines we manage to still stand in the long lines and vote. This country has an incredible way to go to overcome the continuing bigotry of our citizenry, but the Democratic party is no longer the party that accepts that bullshit - and says so. There appear to be some Republicans rethinking their silly tax pledges to Lord Darth Norquist and there are certainly many who were never that fond of weak tea. If the Senate reforms its rules as Senator Reid is suggesting to limit the filibuster that will be a starting victory for the short-term. President Obama ran very specifically on raising taxes on the very richest among us and I suggest that may well develop enough votes in the house to accomplish that - yes, I definitely fear what our side may bargain away. But I think the electorate will continue to pay attention our occupy cousins will continue. I think the tea party is mostly over . . . it was not quality tea anyway. I'm obviously optimistic (juices still flowing from Tuesday evening) but there is some room to be when the Bush era seems more and more behind us.

Update:Clearly spin is part of all this . . . I've just been scanning the WSJ Opinion section in the weekend edition, reading Peggy Noonan and Holman W. Jenkins, Jr., and learning that Obama won in 2012 with a smaller total vote than he did in 2008 (not much on the fact that the Republicans lost with a smaller total vote than in 2008), and that the President won by: "savaging the character of his opponent, and assembling a jigsaw coalition based on micro-targeting . . ." but the totality of the message as I read it is that the Republicans were out-organized, that the voters clearly would still prefer the Republican clarity of message to the hodgepodge mess of Democratic nonsense . . . that Republicans must work better to get out the vote but must not change their message or opposition in any form . . . full speed to the repetition of the nonsense of the last four years . . . etc. It is discouraging but not totally unexpected. In the world I inhabit, I experience a different election.

1 comment:

  1. To start with, I'm responding via a comment rather than a new post, both to keep related material together in one thread and to keep from bumping still-fresh posts from the main page.

    Though it's now a full 5 days since the election, apparently there are still 8 seats in the House that are undecided, for one reason or another. But even if the Democrats should win them all, that would give them 202 seats to the Republicans' already-certain 233 - which means, at least to me, that the Republicans are, in fact, still firmly in control in the House. I mean, I just cannot imagine any combination of 16 House Republicans joining to vote with a unanimous Democratic bloc on any issue or on any kind of extended basis.

    So, given that the Republicans are still firmly in control in the House, I don't understand how anyone can claim that John Böhner is bluffing. (I did read the whole Yglesias piece, and had a great deal of trouble following his argument, which was premissed entirely on extremely wide logical leaps of faith, leaps I was just not able to make.) If there's to be any movement on avoiding the so-called fiscal cliff, it will result from the pressure applied by finance and business on the Republicans to cut a deal now that Obama's been reelected and their hope of getting a Republican in the White House is dashed for another 4 years.

    Not to be obtuse, but I certainly don't see any new and stunning coalition that Obama might have forged in this election - it looks to me a lot more like he won because he found ways to squeeze the last possible vote out of the same constituency that elected him in 2008. (Of course, it didn't hurt that the best the Republicans could come up with to oppose him was Mitt Romney.) And it'll also be interesting to see how many of the 95% of blacks who voted for Obama will vote for Hillary or Biden or any non-black candidate in the future.

    Finally, re your Update: You did say that the views of the Wall Street Journal were "not totally unexpected." What, you were just checking to see if they'd had some sort of epiphany or something?