Post-Election Rant #1

Yesterday’s midterm election was nothing short of a catastrophe for the Democratic party. The combination of the worst economy since the Great Depression, a  jobless rate stuck at 10%, a president and a majority party unable to make a coherent case for their agenda or to articulate their vision, and the surprising uprising of the Tea Party movement, conspired to deliver an unprecedented spanking at the polls.

To read this as an endorsement of the Republican party and its agenda, however, would be a huge mistake. This was the party that only two years ago received a similar rebuke. Let’s look back two years. Obama came in on a wave of optimism, promising Change, change in the way Washington works, certainly, but most important, change from what so many Americans saw as a slow, inexorable American decline. The expectations were enormous, and probably impossible to achieve, at least in the short term, especially given the dire state of the economy. Obama made a series of mistakes early on, misunderstanding the nature and scope of his mandate. He spent far too much time reaching out to an embittered Republican party, searching for compromises where none were possible. He appointed Wall Street insiders to head his economic team. He refused to pursue criminal prosecutions for Bush officials who created the torture policies that harmed this country so badly in the international arena. He failed to close Guantanamo, failed to make a clear distinction between his policies and those of the Bush administration in prosecuting the war on terror. And, in retrospect, he spent far too much capital on health care while ignoring jobs. Worst of all, he failed to make a forceful case for his agenda, failed to articulate his vision clearly and consistently, failed to rouse the American people in the pursuit of grand goals. He settled for half a loaf with the stimulus, extended TARP without restrictions on bonuses for bankers, and backed down repeatedly under the threat of filibusters instead of calling the Republicans out every time they blocked necessary legislation. The result was a massive defection from his base on the left, a dispirited disengagement from the independent middle, and an uprising from the right.

None of this should be read as a new electoral love for the Republican party. The GOP was perfectly happy to take the votes of dissatisfied voters without having to articulate a vision of its own. They sang the same old song of smaller government and lower taxes. Oh, and we’ll create jobs. Now that they have control of the House, we’ll see how that translates. It’s easy to say you’ll cut government, but government is the nation’s largest employer. Do you eliminate jobs there? How will you get the private sector to start hiring? Where will you cut? The proposals made so far result in modest savings of a few hundred billion dollars. Extending the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans adds some $700 billion to the deficit. Then there’s military spending, Social Security and Medicare, which make up the vast bulk of the budget. Do you make serious cuts in any of those? How will you work with a still-Democratic Senate and President to turn the economy around and solve our many other problems?

House Speaker-to-be John Boehner was hardly encouraging in his speech victory speech last night. He essentially invited Obama to kneel at his feet and throw out his agenda. Other Republicans say they’ll continue the so far successful strategy of fighting anything Obama tries to do. Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell claims that his agenda for the next two years is to defeat Obama in 2012. In a disturbing echo of the Republican over-reach of the Clinton years, others talk of starting a round of investigations of the current administration or of impeaching Obama.Does any of this sound like a way to move this nation out of the mess it’s in? As we fall farther and farther behind in creating a renewable energy economy, in rebuilding our deteriorating infrastructure, in rebuilding an economy on principles that will sustain it in this century, do we really want another two years of partisan gridlock? Is that what the voters said when they threw the gauntlet down?

Rather, I believe that the last two election cycles were a repudiation of both parties and of the way business gets done (or doesn’t) in Washington. We have a two party system, and when we throw one out, we have no choice but to put the other one in. Obama and the Democrats may well have been badly out of touch with the electorate, but I hardly think the Republican party, based on what I’m hearing from its leaders, can make a greater claim to the hearts and minds of the American people, or to understanding the real meaning of this election. It’s ironic that John Boehner, of all people, the man who describes himself as “cozy with lobbyists,” the man who once distributed checks from the tobacco lobby on the House floor, is the new face of the voters’ revulsion with Washington. We’ll see where he leads.

I’m not optimistic.

30 thoughts on “Post-Election Rant #1”

  1. I agree the Republican’s domestic agenda is not the answer. But the notion that Obama’s mistake was not pushing the agenda of the left wing of his party is very wrong in my view. The voters in 2008 overwhelmingly described themselves as conservative or moderate. Obama should have governed from the middle and his left wing supporters should have understood that was needed to stay in power in a politically moderate country. See Senator Baye’s NY Times piece today. He has it right.

  2. Americans need to wake up and realize nothing gets done if we keep flip flopping our support! Two years is not enough time to right the wongs of the last administration. Voting in a bunch of Republicans that do nothing more than yell louder about how wrong the current adminstration is and making promises that are unrealistic (cutting taxes, creating jobs, cutting back on government spending). Where is the money coming from people!?! We already have a huge deficit. Cutting back on government spending means what exactly? Ed is right…where does it come from? It should come from the elected official’s salaries, but do you think it will ?? Heck no!! I wish everyone could just stop blaming and start working together to get something resolved. The last 10 years have been a mess in my mind! As for this last election, I fear we are walking down the Yellow Brick Road…watch out for Liars and Tigers & Gops oh my! (If I could draw, I would submit it as a cartoon idea!) The wizard is not going to fix it!

  3. The world is not going to end today just because the Demo’s lost the house. They lost thier minds and went crazy after the last election and ran amoke like reconstruction in 1865. SOOO this election shows that the American people want slow controlled, well thought out and explained changes to the government. The big mistake that the Dems made was to assume that the American people were stupid. They wanted JOBS first. They wanted to be able to take care of thier family and feel that we had a future. This was ignored it was all about an agenda that did not include what the people wanted. EGOS got it the way. MOney bought and paid for Demos. votes. That they did not read or care what they voted for because THEY knew what was Good for the country. BIG Mistake, they paid the price as they should have. The day of the politician being big daddy, I hope are over.

    1. Actually, it was the GOP that thought (and still thinks) the American people are stupid.

      I agree that people want jobs but it seems they were against the stimulus bill. How, exactly, should government create jobs? Create another CCC?

      I’m curious, our current health care model calls for most folks to get their health insurance through their job. How do they do that when they don’t have one?

      1. Depends Jerry on who you listen to about people being against the stimulus bill (or TARP or health care reform). I would refer you to the same (or any of the many similar sets of stats).

        http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2010/11/the-pundits-are-wrong-about-election-2010/66112/

        I think the president nailed it when he noted that people were more unhappy about the ‘how’ than the ‘what’.

        If you are unemployed, depending on you available income, you are not required to get your health insurance through your job.

        I find it funny – in a bad way – for example, that one of the Congresswomen from my state, Minnesota, own a business with her spouse – Michele Bachmann. She and hubby don’t provide health care insurance for their employees. They get theirs from…….oh yeah, the government.

        Did I mention that Bachmann is a notorious hypocrite?

    2. There has been nothing in the past two years that remotely resembled reconstruction after the civil war. What an inane comparison.

      No one assumed the American electorate was stupid. Perhaps the assumption that the American electorate would fact check the egregious lies circulated by the right was over optimistic.

      2010 was not so much an election as an auction, with the right bought and paid for by big money. Look at the comparisons between what was spent, and the shadowy entities that did that spending; look at who benefited by it. Then fact check that shadow-funded sludge. It is not truthful, it is not factual.

      Don’t take my word for it. Check out politifact.com’s report on the election.

      Sure, there were some misstatements on both sides, but the worst, the most egregious, the most expensive? Those came from the right. Because they couldn’t WIN on facts, because they don’t trust the electorate with the truth. If that isn’t patronizing, by the right, I don’t know what is.

      So, look a little closer FRED. YOUR lack of facts is showing. The right has no well thought out plans, no new ideas, nothing, nada, zilch, zero, diddly-squat. The U.S. electorate is tired of moving slowly, they want the pace picked up, they want effective government, not the party of no.

      Take a look at who voted — this time, last time, the time before — and then look at who is likely to vote next time based on that.

      The voters who voted this time are not going to give these politicians much of a honeymoon. It won’t be long before the right turns on themselves. The new candidates elect are far less likely to vote in the lockstep of the politicians from the last two years. The people who voted them in this time will be just as quick to vote them back out next time. And next time a very different demographic is likely to be voting in the democrats and also voting out these new pols.

      Go look at the demographics. The voters this election were not the whole electorate, just a slice. The voters this time made it pretty damn clear that the majority of them LIKE Obama. The exit polls consistently indicate that the claimed antipathy for health care reform is bogus. Here is one of the better analyses of the data, one that is not so simplistic and cherry-picked as yours Fred. It is by no means the only one to come up with this data. Go look — if you have the courage — at more than the superficial information out there about this election. IF you can think that deeply.

      http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2010/11/the-pundits-are-wrong-about-election-2010/66112/

  4. I am not calling for Government jobs. If Government gets out of the way and quits micro manageing companies jobs will slowly come back to this country. We have dumbed down a large part of the population so maybe the Japan CEO will start hireing some of the McDonalds employees for some new positions with them or the Chiniese if you please. That is Government mandates effect in education: thier finger in that pie has resulted in poorer results by telling teachere how to and what to teach rather then just teaching the old basics. Private Industry built this country not government jobs. It is a cancer that grows on every level of our society with government jobs. The number of people under you in government is power soo the first thing a government manager wants is more employees which equals more power ( in thier small minds) this is the Cancer that is growing in our world. This has happened in every country and must be held in check for a country to survive. Somebody has to make something, produce something, or grow something other than regulations and paper work.

    Please show me the page etc where it says the GOP alone thinks the people are stupid. I believe they got a Demo just the other day durint the election saying that they just needed one pervert in the crowd to hang this canidate
    jbecause the people were so stupid. or something to that effect. It is the Eleit Snobs of elected office that we need to get rid of no matter which side. That is why the election went the way it did because the people saw that the Demos thought that the people were Stupid and They (Demo’s) knew best. See where that got em.

    1. Fred, don’t be stupid. The jobs won’t come back to this country so long as we make it profitable by tax incentives for them to be outsourced.

      Somebody has to be likely to buy something – goods or services – before someone will provide either. Giving more money to the rich in the form of tax breaks without a plausible consumer base will never ever produce jobs. Never has – NEVER. Never will.

      Or were you describing yourself among the dumbed-down?

      The dems, or at least some of them, are smart enough to realize that most of the so-called common sense solutions are simplistic and not solutions at all.

      Seems to me the right is doing the less effective job of being fact-based.

    2. Nonsense. The reason that businesses are not hiring is simple, there is no demand to justify expansion and hiring. Tax cuts and reductions of regulatory costs will not change the fact that there is not demand to justify expansion. It has been shown repeatedly that these measures actually encourage companies to simply accumulate the money saved and avoid hiring.

      As for the size of the public sector, many western european countries have more manageable debt than the united states and they have a much larger public sector. They also spend less on healthcare per capita and get superior results. They get superior results in education. Lower wealth inequality. Higher upward mobility. Oh, and Denmark, one of those aforementioned countries was ranked by Forbes as one of the best countries in the world to do business in.

      Stop trying to fit the world into your simplistic world view and try to learn something, for the sake of people around you.

  5. There is no excuss talking to you about what you think and rant about because you will not face the truth. The TRUTH is The American people voted out a record number of spenders that spent money to support thier buddies.
    You guys do not want the truth so I am not going to argue with you. Think what you want. Live in Dream land , The Demo’s are here to take care of you. Pull up a chair and rest your fat butts because Uncle Sugar is going to print money till the sun doesn’t shine and we will all be on that golden horse in the sky. HA

    1. No Fred. You don’t know the truth. You have assumptions.

      You want the truth – look at John Boehner, who keeps pushing duplicate – additional, extra, unneeded – engines built in his district for the F35 airplane.

      Even the Bush administration tried to stop it. The Obama adminstration has tried to stop it.

      But it gets jobs for Boehner’s district, so we pay for EXCESS airplaine engines.

      You have nothing to back up your claims. You sure as heck won’t be seeing reduction in government ore reduction in spending with this lot of clowns who were just elected.

  6. I want you all to tell me one thing. What can the Federal Government manufacture? What Jobs do the Federal gov. produce that produce more goods and services or food for that matter. Second question , Where is it written that it is the job of the Federal Gov. to provide jobs out of thin air. Third question, What Government employee other than those in the military really do produce any good?

  7. FDA? USDA? TSA? FAA, DOT? DOL? VA? FEMA? DOJ? CDC? FDIC? SSA? EPA? INS? NOAA? NHTSA? NTSB? NIH? NRC? OSHA?

    Need some more?

  8. You answered one out of four, very good. But out of that list the duplication and waste is asstonding. THe VA is a mess, Have you been to one of the VA hospitals , underfunded, falling down, over croweded. DOT is a joke. EPA is a bigger joke. INS could not keep a mouse out of the kitchen cabnet because of current leadership. FEMA has such a bad reputation they keep thier heads down. Biggest problem with them is that they are run by political appointments, people that get in the way of real work to be done. The waste is because they have to have more people then they need , People are a sign of power in Gov. work. The more people you have under you the more power you have as a member of the Government.

    1. Hey Fred,

      It’s not my job to answer all of your dumb questions. You’re hard enough to pin down one at a time. You asked if there were any government employees that produce any good. I mention a few and you go off about several of the agencies being jokes, having waste and run by political appointments.

      What, exactly, do you know about the VA? Yes, I have been to one of their hospitals. If it weren’t for the VA, I would have no health care. I didn’t find it falling down or over crowded. I found hundreds of dedicated people working very hard to bring medical care to veterans.

      The rest of your post is just more nonsense. Sure there are problem managers. Sure there are problem employees. There are the same problems in the private sector.

      It would be really great if you could find some topic you actually know something about to discuss.

      P.S. By August 31 over 250,000 illegal immigrants were deported in 2009. There were over 380,000 in detention. I forgot that INS was merged into Homeland Security and is now called Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

  9. Ok, Go to the VA in Kansas City, If you dare it is in the middle of the Getto and is run down piece of crap that is a rat trap. Has been for years. That is a fact, put that in your fact book.
    You think the government is managed so well but you make excuses for them, you do not want to face the facts of government waste , admit it and go back to bed.
    Now as to the Illegal immigrants, our borders are so open that the states are haveing to pick up the slack just to try and keep the crime down. The number you speak of is minor and you know it, If the goodie two shoes would take off the gloves and allow sweeps they could get that many in a day/week at the outside. The feds do not want to know about any illegals unless there is a group of twenty or more anyway. When my son was in college he worked construstion in the summer, for fun in new houseing additions they would yell out INS Lets see some papers, and watch the houseing roofers jump and run for the woods by the dozens. That is the real world.

  10. Everyone heard of the game Six degrees of Kevin Bacon? Well, I’ve discovered another: Six degrees of Fred. Start off a conversation an ANY subject and within 6 entires by anyone, Fred can get you to his “real world” and have you totally forgetting what the original subject actually was!!

  11. I believe you changed the subject and brought up illegal aliens all of a sudden. Or was that a brain pause on your part. A good offense is to keep attacking in your book, go for it. Have a Great day.

    1. No Fred, it was not all of a sudden, I was chasing you (unfortunately).

      I mentioned the INS as gov. folks doing good, then you said they “could not keep a mouse out of the kitchen cabnet”. It seems you even get yourself confused in addition to the rest of us.

  12. I object strongly to Mr. Stein’s cartoons (and others like it) telling us we’re stupid – because we didn’t vote in accordance with Stein’s directions.

    I have multiple graduate degrees; I read the Denver Post (which unfortunately contains Stein’s insulting cartoons) and the Wall Street Journal daily; I subscribe to several magazines, paper and on-line.

    The election is over, Stein; you had a chance to make your arguments (Obama’s arguments). Intelligent people didn’t buy the lies.

    Go stamp your little feet somewhere else – not in my newspaper. Grow up, jerk.

    That plain enough for you?????

  13. Hello Lief, Your back with something barely less offensive than your earlier post. We are all impressed by your two graduate degrees – two more than I have.

    If you really were educated, you would know that we all have our opinions influenced by others – by our family, friends, neighbors, church co-workers and yes, by the media. It’s difficult to figure out exactly what your opinion is on anything, other than socialists but your earlier issue: “socialists give my taxes to people who didn’t” pretty much shows how truly ignorant you are. Did you know that you could be educated and still ignorant?

    Since you are poor, you’re not paying a lot of taxes anyway. If you looked at the short list of agencies I posted earlier, you’d see that none of them provide services to only non-tax payers. In fact, 70% of the budget goes to defense, social security and Medicare. Even minimum wage folks are paying taxes for the last two.

    P.S. It’s not your newspaper and if you don’t like what you see then don’t read Ed’s cartoons.

    Stop behaving childish and… Grow up, jerk.

  14. Jerry, you are so wise on every subject I just can not understand why Oman has not Opointed U to his team. He better hurry he only has two years left.

  15. To many to pick from and to far down the road to be sure but I will disapoint you by saying I am not in favor of Sara. I think she needs to go on the talk shows and talk the talk to distract the Deomos for a couple of years. Maybe the Republicans can pull thier heads out and find a real canidate by then there are several to chose from and several that will come up later. Heck four years ago who knew the big O man. That worked well for him.

    1. Must be an east coaster to think that two Catholic guys of Italian and Cuban descent from New Jersey and Florida could get elected nationally these days. It would be an interesting campaign, though.

      1. Nope, not an east-coaster. Anyone could be elected nationally these days – e.g. 2008. A half-African American from Chicago paired with an Irish Catholic from Delaware.

  16. And you know for the first time the term Half African-American is a true . If that came true anything is now fair game in this country. We have elected a hillbilly from Arkansas ,an actor from califronia, a couple of drunks from Texas not father and son, Little guy from Gerogia, When you look back the people were not so picky just dumber than the guys they voted for.

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