Free Markets, Free People


Obama’s Failure Can Be Blamed On Congressional Democrats – “It’s The Economy, Stupid”

There is a lot of analysis going on about Obama’s first year and why, it seems, his job approval numbers are so dismal. And why, given the promise he brought to the White House, at least according to the PR faithfully pushed by his campaign, are Democrats looking at the possibility of large net losses in both houses of Congress?

The first hints of the dissatisfaction of the electorate came in the Virginia and New Jersey gubernatorial races where Republicans won – in VA handily. The Democrats claimed their candidate there ran a lack luster campaign and it wasn’t at all a referendum on the Obama administration and the Democratic agenda. But now, the very same thing is happening in Massachusetts with an unknown GOP state legislator giving the Democratic candidate for the “Ted Kennedy” seat, a run for her money (and, in the latest poll, up by 4 points over the Democrat).

Is this too the result of just a lackluster campaign and a poor candidate? Certainly a case can be made for that – except in this case, it is reliably and overwhelmingly Democratic Massachusetts. It doesn’t work quite as well there as it might in VA. It is beginning to sound like a bit of whistling past the graveyard.

In fact, as with VA, it is a reflection of some deep-seated dissatisfaction with Democrats in Congress and yes, with Obama as well. Charlie Cook nails the problem today in his analysis of why the Democrats are in such deep electoral trouble:

Honorable and intelligent people can disagree over the substance and details of what President Obama and congressional Democrats are trying to do on health care reform and climate change. But nearly a year after Obama’s inauguration, judging by where the Democrats stand today, it’s clear that they have made a colossal miscalculation.

The latest unemployment and housing numbers underscore the folly of their decision to pay so much attention to health care and climate change instead of focusing on the economy “like a laser beam,” as President Clinton pledged to do during his 1992 campaign. Although no one can fairly accuse Obama and his party’s leaders of ignoring the economy, they certainly haven’t focused on it like a laser beam.

Cook is actually minimizing the problem somewhat. In fact, Obama and his party leaders have given little but lip service to the economy, unemployment and job creation while they’ve spent enormous time on agenda items which mean very little to a country suffering the depth of joblessness and economic hardship now prevalent. Add to that their extremely obnoxious handling of what they have focused on, the blatant partisanship in which they’ve conducted their “business” and the total lack of transparency in that process and you have a pretty toxic picture painted of Democrats in general.

Why, then, did Obama’s promise fail to materialize in his administration – at least in the first year? Well there are many reasons. Among them is a rookie politician (Obama) who got rolled by an experienced Democratic leadership that saw a small and closing window of opportunity to pass huge social welfare agenda items that had repeatedly failed in the past and chose to tackle them while ignoring the obvious elephant in the room. My guess is they miscalculated in more than just the way Cook contends. With their majorities, I’m sure they thought they could quickly put these bills together and pass them, leaving plenty of time to work on the economy. But, of course, given the diversity of opinion and interests even among Democrats, that wasn’t the case. It has dragged into the new year while work on the economy has been essentially non-existent (they threw a $787 billion pork bill out there and called it “stimulus”, figuring their usual panacea – throwing money at a problem – would work. Unsurprisingly, it hasn’t).

Voters are mad about that. Rightly or wrongly, they blame the government for what does or doesn’t happen on their watch economically. For the most part, government can best affect the economy by making it easier for markets to expand and create jobs – tax cuts, less regulation, etc. Spending rarely sets up the conditions to do that. But regardless, of what action the government takes, voters expect the economy to be the absolute focus of government in times of economic crisis.

That has not been the case at all with this administration or Congress. And, it appears, they’re going to pay a huge price for that in 2010 and possibly 2012. What was a bright Democratic future less than a year ago has now become a scouting trip for a good place in the “wilderness” for Dems. If, as many economists expect, unemployment remains at 9% through 2012, we may be reading the obligatory columns about the “Death of the Democratic Party”. And while Obama’s personal popularity may remain high (while his job approval numbers tank), that doesn’t mean such perceived economic negligence will be rewarded with a second term.

~McQ

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20 Responses to Obama’s Failure Can Be Blamed On Congressional Democrats – “It’s The Economy, Stupid”

  • I believe what’s happening in Mass. has given the Democrats pause.  They’ve underestimated the potential size of the backlash and Mass is a wake up call. 

    I know part of the reason you don’t hear anything about healthcare is that its going on behind closed doors.  But it taking them an awefully long time.  They may be waiting to see how Mass. turns out and maybe there might be some rethinking…

    …nah.

    • I think that Mass. is why they are trying so hard to pass something before the end of the weekend.  The clock is running out and they know it.  If Brown wins – even if he loses by a small margin – the dems will likely see massive defections from their already paper-thin majorities.  It’s now or never for ObamaCare.

  • US Presidents live and die with the economy.  Just ask Bush41 about his 90% approval ratings.  I think that the Democrats, up to and including Obama, understood that their window for passing health care reform and Cap & Trade was very small.  So they figured they’d risk it and make a major push.  Their big mistake may have been putting C&T first, instead of going full-bore on health care reform.  It wound up being an albatross around their necks even as the health care debate was gathering steam.

    Sure, they could have (and should have) focused on the economy and made it their first priority.  But I think that they knew that come November of 2010, they’d lose seats in both the House and Senate unless their was some sort of extraordinary miracle recovery.  So it was a roll of the dice, and their efforts may yet be rewarded with some form of health care legislation foisted upon us before the midterms.  Cap and Trade seems as good as dead, but if they head into November with health care legislation in place, they’ll consider the losses worthwhile.

  • This is laughable:

    Honorable and intelligent people can disagree over the substance and details of what President Obama and congressional Democrats are trying to do on health care reform and climate change.

    If you disagree with health care you were regularly called a racist and if you don’t toe the line on global warming climate change then you’re a knuckle dragging, flat earth, denialist worthy of a Nuremburg trial.  Honor and intelligence had nothing to do with it.
    But wait…. there is more:

    The latest unemployment and housing numbers underscore the folly of their decision to pay so much attention to health care and climate change instead of focusing on the economy “like a laser beam,” as President Clinton pledged to do during his 1992 campaign. Although no one can fairly accuse Obama and his party’s leaders of ignoring the economy, they certainly haven’t focused on it like a laser beam.

    It is worse than not being focused on the economy like a laser beam.  Between the bailouts, health care ‘reform’, and cap-n-tax, the policies being put forth are making things worse.  I am paying for fat cats to be fat cats no matter how badly they behave, the quality and cost of my health care is almost certainly going to be determined by which special interest group I may or may not be a member of, and the hints about cap-n-tax appear that it will make just about everything cost more.
    The only saving grace for the DNC is that people may still remember how bad things were with the GOP in charge.  I certainly haven’t forgotten.
    The whole thing is absurd.
     

    • What made matter worse has been the tone deafness of out national “leaders” (Obama, Pelosi, Reid).
      The American people have complained about as loud as they ever have, short of insurrection, but not only have they been ignored, they were derided as “teabagging” idiots by the political and “educated” classes.

      • The American people have complained about as loud as they ever have, short of insurrection
        Frankly, the stuff that came out of Pelosi a while back about how she had seen thing get out of control (when idiots on the Left couldn’t control themselves and proceeded to insurrection) all seemed to be baiting the right side of the political spectrum to do something violent and illegal.

      • “Republicans are in full blown ‘spin mode’ attacking the President and claiming he has lost support,” she wrote. “But that is just hype and hyperbole. You and I know better — together we are moving America forward.” — Nancy Pelosi

  • Oh, believe me.
    If Obama can blame it on Congress, he will.
    But he’s still blaming everything on Bush, so that’s held in reserve.

  • Honorable and intelligent people can disagree over the substance and details of what President Obama and congressional Democrats are trying to do on health care reform and climate change.

    No.  Honorable and intelligent people are uniformly horrified over the substance and details of what Imeme and the dems are trying to do.  Liberals, on the other hand…

    McQ[R]egardless, of what action the government takes, voters expect the economy to be the absolute focus of government in times of economic crisis.

    I suggest that the problem is not the Imeme and the dems haven’t focused on the economy: it’s that what they’ve done in their arrogant, relentless fashion has been such a disaster that many people (including me) suspect that they are DELIBERATELY trying to ruin the country.  Had they dumped shipping containers full of (borrowed) cash into the sea, they could hardly have wasted our money and increased our debt more effectively than they’ve done.

  • I’m sure the administration will, if necessary, blame the Congressional dems as well. After all, it’s so much easier to blame Bush, poor candidates, Bush, a situation that was inherited, Bush, other Dems, obstructionist Republicans, Bush, Cheney … in short, anyone but themselves.

  • Congratulations, Bruce: this made RCP’s Best of the Blogs.

  • <!– @page { margin: 0.79in } P { margin-bottom: 0.08in } –>
    California the Golden state, American future, is fast becoming the poster child for an bankrupt third world State! If Obama & the Democrats are successful the Calif. Nightmare will soon be Texas & the Nation,s Nightmare!

    An unholy alliance of Socialist Democrat politicians, Unions, and Illegal Aliens supporters are feasting at the trough of tax payers paid benefits while taxing & regulating business and the tax paying public into poverty.

    The pandering of Left Wing Democrat Politicians to their constituency of Unions, Illegal Aliens and open border supporters, are driving business and citizens to other states & countries, while leaving the parasites & welfare leeches in an increasing bankrupt, crime ridden, dysfunctional state!

    For years California has ignored economics 101 and imported Criminals, Uneducated Peons, and poverty from Mexico, which increased Medical, Welfare, Crime, Prison, etc. & adding a estimated 10 to 16 billion per year to Calif. State expense to support the invading horde of Illegal Aliens while exporting business and educated tax payers.

    Like all Socialist countries the results have been a astronomical increase in social welfare, schooling, prison cost etc. and a lowing of Living standards, Heath care, Education standards, Tax receipts & finally Bankruptcy.

    The policies of Obama and Wash. DC Democrats are intent on following Calif. policies and Pro-Illegal Aliens and Anti-tax paying citizens and are endorsing the same socialist process of rewarding the Corrupt, Stupid, Foolish, Lazy, Greedy & Criminal while punishing the responsible, honest, law abiding & hard working citizens of American.

    Failure to abide by our Constitution against invasion & enforce our Immigration laws and constraints on wages and benefits for public employees will result in turning the Golden State into MexiCalif and the end of the Calif. Dream and the beginning of the MexiCalif. Nightmare!

    Amnesty & Citizenship as a reward for their invasion of the USA, will result in the rest of the USA turned into a Spanish speaking third world cesspool and follow California into a polluted, over populated, Spanish speaking, third world Nation of Crime, Corruption, Poverty, Cruelly & Misery modeled on Mexico!

    This will result in a population depending on Welfare and the Democrat party, thus assuring the lock on power for the Socialist Democrat party of the United States of Mexico!

  • Kamikaze Harry Reid figures he might as well go out in a blaze of, um, glory.

    Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) on Thursday said that there is room on the busy Senate calendar to bring up a sweeping energy and climate change bill this spring.
    …“We have a lot on our plate. We have to finish reforming health insurance and Wall Street, and also must help bring Americans out of unemployment. But we are not so busy that we can’t find the time to address comprehensive energy and climate legislation,” Reid said, according to his prepared remarks.

     

  • “If Democrat Martha Coakley loses the U.S. Senate race in Massachusetts, it will be a victory for people who want President Barack Obama to fail.”
    I can live with that .. and it’s the right message.

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