Questions and Observations

Free Markets, Free People

Billy’s predictions for the mid-term election and its aftermath

When it comes to the mid-terms, I’m about in the same place psychologically as McQ. But we might as well have some fun with this election. So I sat down and thought about what I expected from it, and came up with the following list:

  1. The Republicans will do well. They will likely retake the Senate and add at least a dozen seats to their House majority.

  2. Lots fewer people will care about that outcome than in previous cycles such as 1994 and 2010. More people are now cynical that the GOP doesn’t really intend to do anything of consequence.

    The default strategy of the establishment GOP right now seems to be to give the Democrats a turn, knowing they’ll screw things up even worse. Then the voters will give the establishment GOP another chance, because they screw things up more slowly. Thus, the establishment GOP believes they are assured of another round of favoring their particular crony capitalists rather then the crony capitalists favored by the Democrats. Plus, they get the nice corner offices for a while. 

  3. At least one Senate race will be close, and will go into protracted recounts. The Democrats will eventually win that race with questionable votes. (Bonus points on entertainment value if it’s Al Franken again.)
  4. The media will not report the questionable votes and tactics used to secure the Democratic victory in #3.
  5. The media will be surprised at the depth of loathing for Obama shown by the election. After all, everyone *they* know likes him.
  6. The media will only show a flicker of that surprise before they get back to covering for and pimping for Obama.
  7. At least one major media figure will use the phrase “temper tantrum” or a close synonym to describe what the voters did to cause the GOP gains.
  8. At least one incident at a polling place will involve blacks supposedly being denied the right to vote because of new voter ID laws. The media might have to manufacture, or at least exaggerate, that incident, but they’ll find one no matter how hard they have to search.
  9. There will be incidents of the opposite kind, like this one in 2008. Those will not be reported by the media, no matter how many there are or how egregious the violation of laws happens to be.
  10. November and December will see dozens of media stories on how the “ground game” failed for the Democrats. Some of those stories will infer that the Democrats’ ground game was sabotaged. There will be no stories in major media of how the Democrats and their ground game failed because Obama has become a laughing-stock.
  11. Opinion columnists in the major media will begin to excuse Obama’s almost total disengagement by blaming it on the new GOP dual majority in Congress. They’ll say things such as “Why should he even try, when they won’t cooperate with him?” (i.e. “bend over and do what he wants”) Some will push for Obama to use even more executive power to bypass the democratically elected majorities in Congress. Some of those will be the same ones who screamed about Bush’s “illegal war”, even though he sought and received authorization from Congress.
  12. Someone will attempt to spread rumors about an Ebola outbreak in key places to depress voter turnout by making people unwilling to go out in public. Either side is capable of this – both sides might do it.
  13. Ted Cruz will give a rousing speech shortly after the election on what the Republicans should do. It will be ignored by the major media, though they might run an out-of-context soundbite of it to try and make him look bad.
  14. Very stupid social science academics will shake their heads and wonder how the voters could dislike Obama since he’s such a great president. Then they’ll talk about how things go “back and forth” or “move in cycles” or some such meaningless blather, as if the GOP victories simply resulted from an inevitable force of nature and have nothing to do with Obama’s screwups.
  15. Allies of the establishment GOP, such as the bloggers at Hot Air, will immediately begin justifying why the new majorities can’t possibly do anything of consequence. I’m guessing their catchphrase will become “Don’t expect too much.”
  16. Allies of the establishment GOP will claim that the election results show definitively that the GOP needs to nominate a moderate for president in 2016. I can’t predict what tortured logic they will use for that conclusion.

OK, that’s enough for me. How about our astute and intelligent commenters add their own?

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Here comes reality to slap some faces

Funny how reality always wins:

Black voters’ disappointment with President Barack Obama, who they so eagerly embraced for so many years, could be costly on Election Day to Democrats, who badly need a big African-American turnout to win Senate and gubernatorial races in key states.

Instead, many African-Americans see an unemployment rate well above the national average, continuing problems with crime in many neighborhoods, and a president more interested in trying to help other voting blocs that didn’t give him such unwavering support.

He talks about same-sex marriage in a nod to the gay and lesbian community. He discusses immigration and its benefits, an issue particularly important to the Latino community. He fights for equal pay, a vital issue to the women Democrats so avidly court.

The black community, which gave Obama support like no other group, too often doesn’t see the investment paying off.

“People in this community just don’t think anything is going to change,” said Akua Scott, a Miami-based labor organizer.

Well you can see why they’re disappointed.  Those that rely on politicians to make things “change” are always going to be disappointed.  And Barack Obama is and always has been a self-promoting politician.  The only thing I’ve seen the man show any sort of loyalty toward is his ideology.  But constituent groups – we’ll he’ll talk a good game but if you really expect action, you’re mostly screwed.
It has apparently taken blacks 6 years to figure this out.  Some of his supporters still haven’t figured it out.
However, the point of all of this is that this sort of problem is one that bodes ill for Democrats during the mid-terms.  Because, as noted, for 6 years an overwhelming majority of blacks have loyally supported the Democrats and almost religiously turned out for them on election day.  But if they’ve mostly given up on Obama, that certainly has to be seen as a real negative for the left’s midterm hopes.  Add to that the declining female vote and the news that women don’t feel safe with Obama in office and Dems have a real dilemma.  Oh, and then Obama’s tone deaf “hurt little boy” remark about Democrats avoiding him, even though they’ve been supporting his agenda the whole time he’s been in office.
Reality … she’s one spiteful “B”, isn’t she?  Let’s see how GOTV goes this Nov. 4th for the Dems.
~McQ
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Economic Statistics for 23 Oct 14

The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index rose 1.5 points to 37.7 in the latest week.

Initial weekly jobless claims rose 17,000 to 283,000. The 4-week average fell 3,000 to 281,000, a 14-year low. Continuing claims  fell 38,000 to 2.351 million.

The Chicago Fed National Activity Index rose strongly from -0.21 to 0.47 in September.

The FHFA purchase only house price index rose 0.5% in August.

The Markit PMI manufacturing index flash for October fell -1.7 points from the final September reading to 56.2.

The Kansas City Fed manufacturing index fell -2 points to 4 in October.

The Fed’s balance sheet rose $7.3 billion last week, with total assets of 4.482 trillion. Reserve bank credit rose $15.2 billion.

The Fed reports that M2 money supply fell by $-39.3 billion in the latest week.


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Economic Statistics for 22 Oct 14

Consumer prices rose 0.1% in September at both the headline and core rates of the CPI. On a year-over-year basis, the CPI is up 1.7%, again at both the core and headline levels.

The MBA reports that, thanks to falling lending rates, mortgage applications rose a sharp 11.6% last week, with purchases down -5.0% but refis up 23.0%.


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The executive end run

Want to know what the Berghdal investigation found?  You’ll have to wait till after the election.  Want to know what your new health insurance rates will be?  You’ll have to wait until after the election.  Why?  Because it appears they both will be unpopular with most of the citizenry.

Interested in what is happening on the immigration front?  You’ll have to wait until after the election … however there does seem to be some prep going on as AP reports:

The Homeland Security Department appears to be preparing for an increase in the number of immigrants living illegally in the country to apply for work permits after President Barack Obama announces his long-promised plans for executive actions on immigration reform later this year.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services confirmed to The Associated Press that it has published a draft contract proposal to buy the card stock needed to make work permits and Permanent Resident Cards, more commonly known as green cards. The proposal calls for providing material for at least 5 million cards a year, with as many as 9 million “during the initial period … to support possible future immigration reform initiative requirements.” The contract calls for as many 34 million cards over five years.

USCIS, the Homeland Security agency that oversees immigration benefits, produces about 3 million work permits and Green Cards annually, so the new contract would at least provide the Obama administration with the flexibility to issue far more work permits or green cards even if it chose not to exercise that option.

So they’re either ordering a 10 year supply or something is up.  ABC’s Rick Klein reports:

Republicans can thank the reliable old federal bureaucracy for their latest little gift-wrapped present. The AP reports that the Department of Homeland Security is soliciting millions of new green cards – yes, the physical paperwork needed for legal status – “to support possible future immigration reform initiative requirements.” That’s right: The federal government is already ordering as many as 34 million new cards over five years to accommodate legal changes that haven’t been announced, much less approved by Congress. If and when this factoid makes its way into a campaign ad or a stump speech, it will be another reminder of the questionable political strategy of the White House deciding to delay immigration action until after the election. You don’t get full credit for not acting if everyone knows you’re about to. And the idea that tax dollars are set to be expended to support a sweeping new policy, before that policy is even announced or enacted? How better to confirm voters’ mistrust in government?

Congress? This president don’t need no stinkin’ Congress.  And certainly not one that is run by Republicans.  Nope … instead that will provide the perfect excuse (despite the obvious premeditation) to blame the GOP and take unilateral action.

And what will Congress do about such an end run?  Well, likely nothing if their history is an indication.

So here we are with a wretched economy, the lowest labor participation rate in decades, stagnant wages and what does it appear our brilliant President is about to do?

That’s why you have to wait till after the election to find out.

~McQ

 

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A little reminder

A short one today, but I thought it instructive to bring up the fact that despite the claims of Democratic operatives and media types, the GOP isn’t the reason that Barack Obama’s Surgeon General nominee isn’t in that office.  Byron York explains:

There are 55 Democrats in the Senate. Since Majority Leader Harry Reid changed the rules to kill filibusters for nominations, it would take just 51 votes to confirm Murthy. Democrats could do it all by themselves, even if every Republican opposed. But Democrats have not confirmed Murthy.

 

In other words, the claim is worthy of 4 Pinnochios if fact checkers were doing their job.

No, apparently the job is still vacant (yeah, I know there’s an acting SG) because apparently Democrats have a problem with the nominee.

Go figure.

~McQ

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The obligatory “here come the midterms” post

Meh.  I’ve come to realize, given the last few wave elections, that if either of the two majority parties are in charge, little if anything will change significantly. Or said another way, for the next 2 years, we’re in for the same nonsense we’re suffering now and the only thing that will change is the name of the Senate majority leader.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m a fan of divided government. I like” do nothing” Congress, because divided government means fewer laws entailing government interference are likely to pass. However, that doesn’t change the fact that both parties are heavily invested in interfering with our lives. They simply have different priorities in that regard.

That said, let’s look at the mood of the country prior to the selection.  POLITICO starts us off with a handy chart:

politico_poll_generic_ballot

Too bad we don’t have the “none of the above option”.  Me thinks the gray wedge would be significantly larger.  As with most recent elections, there’s a large “hold your nose and vote” segment at play here.

However, that particular part of the poll isn’t the most interesting to me.  These results say more about the “mood” than any:

- Terrorism: Eighty-four percent of voters say the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant poses a “serious” threat to the U.S. homeland, including 43 percent who say it poses a “very serious” threat. Just 12 percent said the Islamic State, also known as ISIS, is not a serious concern.

This is an Obama made problem and he and the voters know it.  And if it is an Obama-made problem, then it is also a problem for the Democrats.  But more importantly, it reflects a belief is how poorly this administration has handled the terrorism problem.  They didn’t buy the “JV” wave-off and, it seems, are much more able than our security experts to see the type and possibility of the threat ISIS poses to the US homeland.   When you have an enemy that will go to any extreme to get to you and doesn’t mind if they die doing it, you have a formidable threat facing you.  And while you may have more of a chance of being hit by lightning or winning the lottery than being a victim of ISIS terrorism here, please don’t try to sell these people on ISIS not being a threat here.  This also reflects a tremendous amount of distrust the public in general have for anything this administration puts out there.

- Health care: Most voters believe their health care costs will go up under the Affordable Care Act. Fifty-seven percent said they believe their personal costs will increase, while only 7 percent said they will decrease. A third said their costs would remain the same. (At the same time, support for repealing Obamacare has continued to drop, now down to 41 percent.)

Here’s another huge trust in government issue that has been a disaster for Democrats.  This is one they own lock, stock and barrel.  Thus far they’ve been able to mostly manage the bad news to fall after elections.  But that’s unlikely to help them when 2106 rolls around.  ObamaCare has, for the most part, failed in every way possible.  We now have reports of less people availing themselves of routine health care because the deductibles are so large they can’t afford the visits.  If you don’t think this is a part of the mid-term calculations by voters then you have to believe there’s no reason to withhold the increases for insurance until after the election.

- Presidential management: Voters in the midterm battleground states are evenly split on whether President Barack Obama or George W. Bush was more effective at managing the federal government. Thirty-eighty percent named Bush, while 35 percent preferred Obama. A quarter of respondents said the two men were equally competent.

As hard as the left and Democrats worked to make Bush the poster boy for bad government, this one has to hurt.  All hail the new poster boy, and the GOP hasn’t had to even break a sweat selling this one.  Most, if not all of Obama’s failures have been via self-inflicted wounds.  Will there be a portion of the voters who use the mid-terms as a referendum on the President?  You bet there will.  This guy is about as bad as we’ve ever had, and voters are going to make that point in November.

That brings us to this last issue in this particular poll which pretty well makes an important point I want made:

- Ebola: Only 22 percent of respondents said they had a lot of confidence that the government is doing everything it can to contain the contagious disease. Thirty-nine percent they had some confidence, while a third said they had little or no confidence. The poll concluded Oct. 11, before the hospitalization of the second nurse who treated an Ebola patient in Dallas.

Confidence in government and the competence of this administration are at rock bottom.  I welcome that.  Ebola just happens to be the latest issue to demonstrate both executive and bureaucratic fumbling and incompetence.  The only consistent thing this administration has done is demonstrate that.  The guy whose goal it was to make “government cool” again, has failed miserably.  I welcome that as well.  I’d like to see the point understood by more.  Instead of success, we’ve seen an increasingly intrusive but ossified bureaucracy fail time after time when tasked to do their job.  They may not know it, but that’s one of the reasons, perhaps the main reason, that 64% of Americans believe “things in the U.S. feel like they are out of control right now.” We’ve seen how politics has subverted our public servants into servants of the party in power.  And we’ve also seen various government agencies hold themselves to be above the law in certain instances.  How changing parties at midterm will change any of that remains a mystery.

Usually at this point before an election, analysts have decided who will decide the election.  You remember “Soccer Moms” etc.  Well, this year it’s simply “women”.  Women will decide this.  And the implication is that women have always been more of a Democratic constituency than a Republican one … for various reasons.  Well, that may not pan out for the Dems this year and of all people, Tina Brown explains why:

But, you know, the fact is that Obama’s down with everybody, let’s face it, there’s a reason,” Brown said. “And I think that particularly for women. I don’t think it makes them feel safe. I think they’re feeling unsafe. Economically, they’re feeling unsafe. With regard to ISIS, they’re feeling unsafe. They feel unsafe about Ebola. What they’re feeling unsafe about is the government response to different crises. And I think they’re beginning to feel a bit that Obama’s like that guy in the corner office, you know, who’s too cool for school, calls a meeting, says this has to change, doesn’t put anything in place to make sure it does change, then it goes wrong and he’s blaming everybody. So there’s a slight sense of that.”

If you’re not feeling unsafe with this clown in office, then you have no fear.  Security – safety – is one of the key reasons women consider a vote for a candidate (or so the experts tell us).   If that’s the case and we go with the “women will decide the vote” meme, then Dems are in even worse shape than I thought.

And I welcome that as well.

~McQ

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