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Snow in DC until Algor cries "uncle"...

 
 
Cycloptichorn
 
  2  
Reply Wed 10 Feb, 2010 06:56 pm
@georgeob1,
Quote:

If in an earlier post you forecasted significant losses in the coming November elections, in both the House & Senate, including the senate seats formerly held by the President and Vice President, I would be very glad to read it. Frankly I don't recall such a prediction of yours.

More significantly I can't reconcile such a prediction with the following assertion from your last post denying my suggestion of a significant reversal in the political fortunes of both the President and the Democrat members of Congress. You noted that "polling data does not support that contention". Interesting too that you didn't cite the specific poll that supposedly make your point.


I did not predict specifically that the former seats of Obama and Biden would be lost, but I did predict that the Dems would lose seats in both the House and Senate but retain a small majority in both. It was in the American Conservatism thread.

The 'political fortunes' of the Prez and the Dems in Congress are essentially unchanged. Their polling numbers are fine. There's no real data which shows that they are in any big trouble, certainly not Obama. Would you like me to quote specific polls? I thought you were uninterested in such things!

Gallup today puts Obama at 51% approval, a rating which is essentially unchanged over the last 9 months. In prospective 2012 polling he creams all the Republican opponents. I think it's fair to say that he's fine.

Congressional Dems, while predicted to lose seats, are not predicted to lose the majority. I think they will be fine as well. Were you predicting misfortune for Bush and the Republican congress when their polling numbers were low? Did it represent a 'reversal in political fortunes?' I can't seem to recall similar speech from you on the other party.

Quote:

The number of Democrat/Republican wins in "the last six special elections since 2008" has very little relevance on the proposition that the Democrats have suffered a significant recent reversal of political fortunes - and therefore doesn't deserve a response.. A data set that included all such elections since (say) October 09 (when you triumphantly forecast the President would sign a Health Care Bill containing a government option) would be relevant to the point. Moreover, I believe such data would reinforce my point.


It deserves a response, because you claimed that they had suffered a 'succession' of such events. This is of course ludicrous as I'm sure you realize now. The number of national elections won by Republicans since 2008? 1. Some succession. The Dems have won 5 in that time, including in two districts that were extremely conservative historically - NY 23 and CA 50. So, yeah - you were completely wrong.

You've picked the date of October 2009 to carefully meet your criteria, but once again, that's bullshit and you know it.

Quote:

OK two questions: Do you believe the Democrats will attempt to pass health care legislation using the reconciliation process? Do you believe the public will welcome it if they try?


I hope so, and yes - I believe the public will welcome it. They don't give a **** what Senate rules are used and I doubt you have any data showing they do.

Cycloptichorn
georgeob1
 
  1  
Reply Thu 11 Feb, 2010 11:50 am
@Cycloptichorn,
Cycloptichorn wrote:
I did not predict specifically that the former seats of Obama and Biden would be lost, but I did predict that the Dems would lose seats in both the House and Senate but retain a small majority in both. It was in the American Conservatism thread. ...

Congressional Dems, while predicted to lose seats, are not predicted to lose the majority. I think they will be fine as well.
The loss of some seats by any majority party following mid-term elections is a normal event. However, current indicators strongly suggest much larger-than-normal losses this year. Republicans will likely pick up as many as six seats in the Senate and may well take a majority in the more volatile House.

Quote:
The 'political fortunes' of the Prez and the Dems in Congress are essentially unchanged. Their polling numbers are fine. There's no real data which shows that they are in any big trouble, certainly not Obama. Would you like me to quote specific polls? I thought you were uninterested in such things!

Gallup today puts Obama at 51% approval, a rating which is essentially unchanged over the last 9 months. In prospective 2012 polling he creams all the Republican opponents. I think it's fair to say that he's fine.
Polls are an important source of information, but they don't tell the whole story. The most obvious element of which is that the President and the Democrat Congress have consistently failed in putting forward the legislative agenda which was central to their campaign; Cap & Trade, Health Care, and "Fair Organizing" - for Unions, are all either stalled or dead. Significantly these reversals all occurred at the height of their legislative power, and the downstream prospects for their eventual passage are dim at best.

Other detectable factors are likely to further erode this situation. (1) The beneficail effects of the very costly stimulus legislation, both enacted and proposed, are fairly hard to detect amidst the continuing economic difficulties. Public confidence in Democrat economic policies appears to be eroding, along with the credibility of their deficit forecasts. (2) The President's international ass kissing quickly blunted some of the popular outrage directed at the Bush Administration, but it hasn't done anything to improve key issues. Moreover, that fact is increasingly apparent both here and abroad. What will follow? (3)The dogmatic ineptitude of the Administration (and the Attorney General in particular) has caused failures in areas ranging from the closure of Guantanamo to the handling of cases with individual terrorists.

Some of the criticism attending all of these issues is unfair, but as other Presidents have learned, even unfair criticism can erode a leader's power.

In the wings behind all of these issues is the sense of wonder and novelty that attended a new, fast rising, attractive player on the political scene. It is clear that Obama's magic was inflated in his public ascent - not an unuaual occurrence in such circumstances - and that excess has helped him .. so far. However collapsing bubbles, whether economic or political, can have far-reaching destructive effects. His current poll mumbers are OK (not great) , as you noted, but the downhill run could be as sudden as the ascent.

The beginnings of all this may be indicated by events like the Brown victory in Massachusetts and the earlier gobernatorial contests in Virginia and New Jersey. Congressional legislators are generally proficient in guessing which way political winds are blowing. It's too early to be sure, but the recent decisions of key Democrat Senators not to seek reelection MAY be an indicator. It will be very interesting to observe the near term behavior of members of the House, all of whom face reelection contests in November.

I believe the Administration is going to have a difficult year. Partisanship among the truly committed on both sides is likely to remain. However, the very large cadre of not-totally-committed folks in the middle will be watching it all with obviously growing unease.

We can compare notes on November 8.
Cycloptichorn
 
  1  
Reply Thu 11 Feb, 2010 11:56 am
@georgeob1,
Quote:

I believe the Administration is going to have a difficult year. Partisanship among the truly committed on both sides is likely to remain. However, the very large cadre of not-totally-committed folks in the middle will be watching it all with obviously growing unease.


And yet, you seem to believe that these folks in the middle are going to turn to the Republicans as a solution. What makes you think this will happen? They are pushing the exact same ideas they pushed in the last few elections, where they got creamed. You have to recall that your ideas about what works, George, represent the Right wing of America to the same extent that mine represent the left-wing. The idea that people are going to flock to Republicans due to dissatisfaction with Obama is a little farcical - it hasn't been long since the Republicans were in control and people remember what ****-ups they were.

I also would remind you that there are something like 18 Republicans in the House who are retiring - it makes it much harder for sweeping gains to occur when you are forced to play a large amount of defense.

Cycloptichorn
georgeob1
 
  1  
Reply Thu 11 Feb, 2010 12:13 pm
@Cycloptichorn,
Cycloptichorn wrote:

[And yet, you seem to believe that these folks in the middle are going to turn to the Republicans as a solution. What makes you think this will happen? They are pushing the exact same ideas they pushed in the last few elections, where they got creamed.
And yet exactly that appears to be happening. "One swallow does not a summer make", but major shifts all have a beginning.
Quote:
You have to recall that your ideas about what works, George, represent the Right wing of America to the same extent that mine represent the left-wing. The idea that people are going to flock to Republicans due to dissatisfaction with Obama is a little farcical - it hasn't been long since the Republicans were in control and people remember what ****-ups they were.
I agree with your opening proposition, but believe you lost it with the second. Partisanship is a continuing fact of political life and not everyone sees things, past and present, as you (or I) do. Memories do persist, as you say - including the follies of the Carter Administration and their trailing very bad effects. However, it is the contemporary scene that usually dominates in the end.

I'm generally not too given to specific predictions about an ultimately unknowable future. However, trends are ususlly detectable and useful. Right now the salient trends don't favor the Democrats.
Cycloptichorn
 
  1  
Reply Thu 11 Feb, 2010 12:17 pm
@georgeob1,
Quote:
Memories do persist, as you say - including the follies of the Carter Administration and their trailing very bad effects. However, it is the contemporary scene that usually dominates in the end.


Well, polling - as of this week - still shows that the #1 group that the public blames for the financial crisis and other problems we face is the Republican party. You can blast Obama or us on this board or whoever for continually Blaming Bush, but the public, including a majority of the independents we're discussing, agree with that position.

Quote:
I'm generally not too given to specific predictions about an ultimately unknowable future. However, trends are ususlly detectable and useful. Right now the salient trends don't favor the Democrats.


This I do agree with, though it's more due to a lack of execution on Reid's part in the Senate then it is a failure of their ideas. The Dems need the economy to improve somewhat over this year to help their electoral prospects in the Fall - and it wouldn't hurt them to tell the Republicans to **** off and actually pass some legislation through reconciliation, either. I don't know why you think the public would give two shits about this; the standard for passing votes in the Senate has historically been 50 votes, not 60. This never-ending filibuster the Republicans perform is going to bite them in the ass sooner or later.

Cycloptichorn
georgeob1
 
  1  
Reply Thu 11 Feb, 2010 01:18 pm
@Cycloptichorn,
Cycloptichorn wrote:

This I do agree with, though it's more due to a lack of execution on Reid's part in the Senate then it is a failure of their ideas. The Dems need the economy to improve somewhat over this year to help their electoral prospects in the Fall - and it wouldn't hurt them to tell the Republicans to **** off and actually pass some legislation through reconciliation, either. I don't know why you think the public would give two shits about this; the standard for passing votes in the Senate has historically been 50 votes, not 60. This never-ending filibuster the Republicans perform is going to bite them in the ass sooner or later.Cycloptichorn
The "lack of execution" is likely a significant factor. However, you appear to write it off to poor technique on the part of Democrat leaders and the intransigence of Republicans. No doubt about the intransigence, but it may involve more than the political technique you imply motivates it.

In retrospect there certainly were some detectable flaws in the Democrat legislative tactics - such things are common, and, in this case I don't think those that occurred were out of the ordinary. In my view the chief Democrat error was an excess of partisan zeal; augmented by the (now demonstrably false) belief that they could prevail on their own, and that the public overwhelmingly supported their objectives. As we saw they were frustrated by a united Republican opposition and a growing timidity among their own key legislators. These folks usually are proficient at keeping a finger in the wind to see which way the public wind is blowing, and it seems clear that they have lost a degree of confidence in the Administration's programs. In that vein, I believe the Republican unity was motivated by a combination of principled opposition (or political bias, if you prefer) to the policies at issue, and a sense that a growing segment of the public was with them.

My impression is that you believe the Democrats should have been even more partisan and forceful in pursuing their agenda. If that is a corrrect assessment of your view, then I suggest you note that the failure here originated from within the Democrat leadership itself and its own assessment of what the public (at least in their states & districts) would accept. Whose assessment of the public political situation is more likely to be correct - yours and those of far left Democrat groups, or theirs??? An interesting question, the answers to which will be revealed in the months ahead.
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