Free Markets, Free People

Election post-mortem

An incredible election night by any measure.  The obvious question that pundits will be concentrating on is “what does it mean”?

Well I think there is consensus on both sides that it doesn’t mean that the voters love Republicans.  Even establishment Republicans are acknowledging that fact.  And Marco Rubio made that clear in his acceptance speech where he called this a “second chance” not an embrace of the GOP.

So that leaves us with a number of other options to consider.  What needs to be kept in mind is this is the third consecutive wave election and in each case the party holding the White House suffered losses.  That’s unprecedented.  And this particular midterm is the largest shift of seats since 1936 (update: House numbers now have a projected 242 seats on the GOP side, a net of +64 – historic or as one Democrat strategist said, a defeat for Democrats of “biblical proportion”).  So one meme that isn’t going to fly is this election is “no big deal”.  Democrats got spanked and got spanked hard.  They have a lot of work to do to win back voters.

Another thing that seems to be a developing narrative is that this is a repudiation of the Obama agenda.  I think that’s true to an extent.  The biggest driver of the dissatisfaction with Democrats is the health care law as  indicated by polls. And they are certainly mad about the deficit spending.  But as Charles Krauthammer said last night, “this isn’t a failure of communication by the Democrats, this is a failure of policy”.  So it would seem that at least part of the vote was a repudiation of the president despite claims by some on the left that its only about the economy.

That said, part of it is also about the economy.  Historically the party in power doesn’t do well in a down economy.  So that too must be factored in to the formula.  While much of that is beyond government’s control, that which it could impact was perceived as poorly done.  Very poorly done.  That exacerbated the loss.  And, with the focus on health care reform, most Americans thought that the legislative priorities were wrong as well.  Voters have historically turned to the GOP to handle economic matters. But this is still no mandate for the GOP.

Finally voter anger hasn’t gone anywhere, it’s just taking a breather.  Again, watch the direction of the country polls over the coming two years.  It’s an interesting set up in DC now.  Democrats actually would have been better off if the Senate had gone to the Republicans.  They still control it and the Presidency and that leaves the onus on them as we head toward 2012.  It also gives the GOP a free hand to pass whatever it wants in the House, regardless of where it goes, if anywhere, and make the case that they tried to reform what the people wanted reformed and Democrats (in the Senate and the President) stood in their way (reverse the “obstructionists” claim).

I think, after last night, that 2012 is definitely in play.  It will be interesting to see how both parties react.  I’m eagerly awaiting the Obama presser at 1 pm today when we’ll hear the first reaction from the President.  But as always with him, judge him by his actions, not his words.  His words have become empty rhetoric that many times doesn’t support what he ends up doing.



15 Responses to Election post-mortem

  • So how long until CA blows up?  Because I don’t think the GOP House will be too inclined to pass any sort of federal bailout.

    • Dunno, but I’m putting U-Haul on speed-dial.  Reading the results this morning was the usual depressing experience.  Though on the plus side, there weren’t any bond measures on the ballot for the usual moron suspects to vote us even deeper into debt.
      On a side note, I get the following error when I try to log into the chat room:

      Java Plug-in 1.6.0_18 Using JRE version 1.6.0_18-b07 Java HotSpot(TM) Client VM User home directory = C:\Users\lausd_user —————————————————- c: clear console window f: finalize objects on finalization queue g: garbage collect h: display this help message l: dump classloader list m: print memory usage o: trigger logging q: hide console r: reload policy configuration s: dump system and deployment properties t: dump thread list v: dump thread stack x: clear classloader cache 0-5: set trace level to —————————————————- load: class ConferenceRoom.class not found. java.lang.ClassNotFoundException: ConferenceRoom.class at sun.plugin2.applet.Applet2ClassLoader.findClass(Unknown Source) at java.lang.ClassLoader.loadClass(Unknown Source) at java.lang.ClassLoader.loadClass(Unknown Source) at sun.plugin2.applet.Plugin2ClassLoader.loadCode(Unknown Source) at sun.plugin2.applet.Plugin2Manager.createApplet(Unknown Source) at sun.plugin2.applet.Plugin2Manager$ Source) at Source) Caused by: open HTTP connection failed: at sun.plugin2.applet.Applet2ClassLoader.getBytes(Unknown Source) at sun.plugin2.applet.Applet2ClassLoader.access$000(Unknown Source) at sun.plugin2.applet.Applet2ClassLoader$ Source) at Method) … 7 more Exception: java.lang.ClassNotFoundException: ConferenceRoom.class


  • “An incredible election night by any measure.”  The opening line requires an asterisk for your Massachusetts readers. Thank you.

  • This election proves that the American voter will elect

    Fiscal Conservatives if they are
    A Solid Candidate
    And even then there will always be enough voters with their hands out to overcome 1 and 2.

    We will try to get more than 1 and 2 at our peril.

  • If Senate Democrats think 2010 is a tough cycle, just wait two more years.

    As for the Republicans elected yesterday – Walk the walk and keep in mind why you were elected.

  • There were two events in the last ten days that supposedly had “restoring sanity” as a theme.
    One was a silly farce.
    The other was a sea-change in America.

  • Just think what kind of election this would have been if the “Tea Party” wasn’t just “astro-turf’

  • It seems Ron Paul is going to chair the monetary policy subcommittee.  Now that should be fun.

  • A great start overall, though I wish that Repubs had done better in CA and MA, and that Reid had been bounced. I agree that in some ways it’s better that the Repubs didn’t win the Senate. As I recall, McQ made that arguments several months back as well.

    It was weird to see Obama look so down, literally, at the press conference. That was a bit of his emotional range I’ve never seen before. Of course, when you parsed the words there wasn’t much there beyond vague promises to “do better” and the usual implied attack that Republicans have no ideas.

    I don’t see how Obama can do a Clinton backtrack to the center. It’s not in Obama’s nature, it would look phony if he did, and it would drive his base wild — they persist in seeing Obama and the Democrats’ problem as timidity, as too much willingness to compromise with Republicans.

    So it looks like gridlock ahead and that will be fine with me compared to the past 21 months.

    • Yeah, except I’d really like to see the grid unlocked on Obamacare – it means we’re stuck watching 2 more years of the healthcrap steamroller take effect before it has a chance of being stopped in 2012.

  • I’d like to reflect that the Pine Tree State of Maine suddenly turned hard right, giving extremist Republicans control of the Governorship, the House and the Senate.  Meanwhile  in Moosejaw Erb is probably throwing his meager possessions onto the back of his AGW friendly mule and getting the children ready to flee to safety of Massachusetts or California.

  • Hot Air absolutely NAILS it:

    In a volatile age, where majorities may not last long, it’s crucially important for a party to seize its chances to remake the legislative landscape. Rahm Emanuel recognized that all the way back at the beginning of Obama’s term with his rhetoric about treating a crisis as an opportunity; Obama himself alluded to it today in framing his agenda as a necessary response to an “emergency.” The theme in both cases is urgency in capitalizing on favorable political conditions, a lesson Republicans of all ideological stripes should keep close to their hearts. If the GOP ever does get a real shot at repealing ObamaCare — or, more momentously, at reforming Social Security and Medicare — take it. Take it and worry about the electoral consequences later. Lost seats can be regained, but legislation — usually — is forever.