Watkin on mid-terms

Tim Watkins at Pundit has a good analysis of the mid-terms. I agree with most of it, but want to elaborate on a few points:

Americans have voted out the party in power for three elections in a row. That’s unusual… remember, the Democrats controlled the House for 40 years not so long ago. Lots of Americans seem intent on voting for change again and again until they find what they like.

It is unusual for the House to be so volatile. The Democrats held it for 40 years from 1954 to 1994, and only lost it for four years between 1930 and 1954 also. At the Carter mid-terms the Dems lost 15 seats only. The Reagan revolution saw them lose 35 seats. The the first Reagan midterm saw the GOP lose 26. In 1984 they actually gained 16 and the second Reagan mid term saw a drop of 5 only. Bush I succeeding saw no change – a loss of two only. Bush I mid term saw a loss of only eight and when Clinton won, the Dems actually lost nine seats.

1994 was the famous revolution with 54 seats to the GOP breaking a 40 year drought. It was then very stable – changes were (for GOP) -4, -3, -2, +8, +2 until 206 when they lost 32 seats. 2008 saw a further 21 seats. And then 2010 is looking like a massive 65 seat pickup.

They won’t ever find what they like, because what many are looking for is a more secure world where America ruled the world. They want the 1950s or, at a stretch, the 1980s back. They want to be the dominant power. They want job growth in manufacturing. They want no China or Brazil or Iran or India.

Partly. But also a lot of people don’t want trillion dollar deficits.

  • The junior senator for Illinois was too green for the White House and got played by those who revel in the Washington swamp.
  • Hillary Clinton would have been a more successful president these past two years.

I agree with both of these points. I don’t think Obama has been a terrible President. He has though performed about as well as I would expect any President whose senior political experience was two years as a Senator (technically four years but he basically started campaigning after two). Senators have little managerial experience – their office staff of 30 or so. Governors have normally managed state governments of tens of thousands.

Obama misread his first two years. He wanted to govern from the centre, and so wasted months on healthcare trying to get bi-partisan support while he was being demonised as a socialist, death-panel-creating monster. If he wanted to start with healthcare he should have rammed it through, given the mandate he had and then tacked back to the centre. Or he should have started with something else.

The irony is that his his eventual reform was so watered down that it does little apart from making it illegal for poor people not to have health insurance. Seriously.

Having the presidency, the House and the Senate doesn’t do the dominant party much good because they cop all the blame for everything.

Yes. And this is why 2012 is far from certain. Having said that the GOP had all three wings in 2002 and got re-elected in 2004. Of course John Kerry helped.

And people will turn on the Republicans, because for all their big talk on spending cuts, the only way to really eat into the deficit is to cut something people love, such as Social Security or Medicare or bombs.

I’m not sure they are as sacred as they used to be. There is a mood for change. The deficit is unsustainable and something must go. The public may reward honesty.

The Republicans claim the American people are calling for a repeal of healthcare and cuts to government spending. That’s a misinterpretation. Spending cuts sound good until they hit your state, your town, your job.

Spending cuts can be unpopular in the short term, but having 1/4 of your tax go on interest payments is even more unpopular. And if taxes are kept low, then private sector activity can replace the government spending.

The Tea Party did OK, but not great. They’re harnessing a mood of protest, but not because even all their supporters know and believe their policies. They’re essentially libertarians and as such remain fringe.

They’re libertarians but with around 25%+ support. Until the deficit comes down, they will remain potent.

Sarah Palin cannot win the presidency.

I agree. But she will probably select the Republican candidate. She has become the endorser in chief.

The economy is likely to be better in 2012, in part because of Obama’s stimulus. He will have a better narrative and a better chance.

Ha, the same stimulus which was going to prevent unemployment from reaching 7.5%, and instead had it reach 10%.

Ex-CEOs such as Carly Fiorina and Meg Whitman couldn’t win, even spending tens of millions of their own cash. Americans hate corporates even more than they hate politicians, it seems.

Actually it shows that money does not buy elections, so we do not need repressive laws to prevent people from having their voices heard.

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