What Fresh Hell Is This?

November 11, 2008

Something To Think About

Atrios speaks:
There is a weird underplaying of the degree of Democratic victory this time. Sure, they didn't win quite as many seats as some pollsters and pundits predicted, but even at the height of the Great And Glorious Republican Revolution, back when Democrats were doomed to irrelevancy for generations, they maxed out at just 232 House seats. Dems have about 256 at the moment, with a couple of races not yet decided.
Because 256 is more than 232.


Anonymous said...

That is interesting. But they can spin it how ever they like - it doesn't changed the fact that an overwhelming majority of Americans support Obama as he gets ready to take office and more than 2/3 of Americans think Republicans should shut up, sit down and either help Obama accomplish his goals or get out of the way.

Let them spin it, because right now Obama is playing the Republican Party like a drum. He knows that they are too bitter and partisan to ever work with Democrats. So, naturally Obama is playing up bipartisanship(also because it just happens to be the kind of person he is), which the country wants...so that Obama can get his plans passed.

And Obama knows that Republicans will go negative and attack him relentlessly. So when they start blocking his plans, he will portray them as "The Problem."

They will be portrayed as the party that's "in the way" of real change coming to Washington.

Essentially, he'll continue to divide their party by picking off the moderates, who occassionally act like they respect the electorate, and letting the conservatives paint themselves into a corner of obstructionism.

Republicans are, frankly, being exceptionally stupid right now, even for them.

Considering how badly they have lost the last two cycles - 06 and 08, they simply lack the credibility necessary to attack Obama, who is extremely popular right now and will take office with the wind at his back.

So what happens when a discredited political party attacks the very credible and very popular new government?

They become even more discredited and irrelevant.

So let the Talking Heads think what they like, because they can't change what really happened. In a few months, they'll being playing catch up with their bullshit, explaining how Obama's huge mandate enabled him to accomplish so much so quickly(within the first year).

EdHeath said...

I have to say I would be happy if Obama would portray the Republicans as "the problem". There was a lot, during the camapign, of John McCain blaming the Democrats for anything that's happened in the last two years, because they had majorities in Congress. I would like to see the Republican senate leadership held accountable for every filibuster threat and personal hold placed on legislation, if not by Harry Reid, then by Barack Obama.

I do worry that the Democrats could go hog wild in the Congress with an overwhelming majority. I don't know that is going to happen, but I know you can never be too suspicous of any politician. Still, my hope is that Obama will put the brakes on if too much money is being frittered away. On the other hand, the Democrats should be allowed to have as much fun as they want holding hearings on Bush administration behavior, even if it weakens the Presidency a bit.

Dave said...

I think a lot of it has to do with the differences in leadership vs. rank-and-file between the two parties.

Since 1994, the Republicans in Congress--particularly in the House--have been lead by the hard right. First Newt Gingrich and then Tom DeLay in the House (Dennis Hastert may have been the Speaker after Gingich resigned but it was really "The Hammer" who called the shots). Republican moderates were forced to either "toe the line" or risk losing their positions in various committees. Right-wing conservatives have a strong tendency towards authoritarianism; and one of the chief characteristics of right-wing authoritarianism is to defer to the perceived leader. This is why the Republicans in Congress essentially acted as a rubber stamp for George W. Bush's policies.

The Democratic leadership, by contrast, is centrist. Despite being stereotyped as a "San Francisco Liberal" by the right-wing noise machine, Nancy Pelosi is a centrist Democrat. The Democrats in the next Congress, despite having a larger majority then the Republicans had from 1994 thru 2006, are much less likely to be as "compliant" WRT the White House than the Republicans have been under George W. Bush.

Anonymous said...

I'm a bit of Keynesian when it comes to economics, so I would disgree with you, Ed, that we should worry that much, at this moment, about significant increases in public spending. In fact, large increases in public spending are what we need - the Great Depression proved that.

Where FDR failed was in not initially proposing a big enough investment of public funds into the economy. While it is correct to say that WWII was partly how we got out of the Depression, the American War effort during WWII was the largest public works program in the history of this country. So it's not that we came out of the Depression because of the war but because we spent an enormous about of money in the war effort.

Short answer: An enormous investment of public funds into a struggling economy CAN and WILL right the ship, so to speak, in time.

EdHeath said...

I know there are more people in the US (and world) than ever before, they are more (potentially) productive because of technology, and therefore in a sense more (potential) money than ever before.

Still, the level of debt nationally and individually worries me. I think the housing bubble bursting was even more of a shock because so much of our personal and (surprisingly) our corporate debt was tied up in our homes, and because we had (typically) tried to game the system with risky mortgages and home equity loans that turned out to have actual risk. Not that I am trying to cast blame on ordinary people, the Wall Street people knew there was a risk, as everyone on TV was saying, but felt compelled to serve their stockholders. The smartest guys in all our rooms messed up.

But otherwise, yeah, I am a bit of Keynesian too. What I was worried about was Congressional Democrats funding pet projects. I think, with our debt, we need to target high yield public projects, investments like infrastructure, education and healthcare. That's why I am not happy about the middle class tax cut either, although the expansion of the EIC and the taxes on the top tier are fine with me.

By the way, the more people than ever before part means we need to start developing ways of using sustainable and non-polluting energy, stretching our existing resources through recycling and finding more sustainable ways of making more food. In other words, we need to be careful. These are constraints the Democrats can build into their investments projects. Conservatives would say “A-ha, you are trying to tell me what to eat and how and what to drive. You are fascists.”. Well, unless Conservatives are prepared to wipe out the Muslim section of the rest of the world (which they may be), we have to start behaving like enlightened grown ups, not spoiled libertarian children (I wanna do what I wanna do).