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(UPDATED x 2) Thoughts on Nov 7th and the aftermath
Posted by: McQ on Saturday, October 21, 2006

Wynton Hall of the Hoover Institute thinks the midterms are really the, to quote him, "single best opportunity to advance its agenda in over a decade."

I'm simply not buying. But he presents an interesting point. Talking about the MSM (and I would assume, mostly the opinion writers) he says they've spun such a gloom and doom scenario for Republicans that while the Dems may take power in one or both houses of Congress, it may be to their detriment. And, he says, that works to the advantage of the 'conservative movement':
By setting the Democratic bar for success so high, the conservative movement has been given the opportunity of a lifetime, a chance to demoralize and dismiss much of the Democratic Party’s liberal agenda.
It's something we here at QandO have been saying for a while. Given the opportunity that such power will give them, and the educated guess that Dems won't be able to restrain themselves, most of us feel they will hurt themselves in '08.

But given that, another truth is apparent, at least to me and it is echoed in the words of James Carville (quoted by Hall):
James Carville is correct (hey, even a broken clock is right two times a day): “If we [Democrats] can’t win in this environment, we have to question the whole premise of the party.”
As Hall notes, that is exactly and completely right. And if, for some reason, they fail to take at least the House, they must indeed "question the whole premise of the party."

But, again, that doesn't mean I'm buying into the talk of Republicans keeping the House or discounting the distinct possibility of them losing the Senate as well.

Of course, I'll remind myself and others, that much the same thing was said in '04 concerning the Dems and how hated Bush was and how easily the Dems would win, etc.,etc, so I'll hedge my bet here.

However, that said, here's the money paragraph in Hall's piece:
Still, even if Democrats take back control of the Congress it will not be because of a popular mandate. Voters will not be endorsing liberalism qua liberalism. No, they will be demonstrating their levels of so-called Bush fatigue; voters will be showing that they are frustrated that history has bequeathed unto us the daunting and tiresome task of doing the heavy lifting of history that a post-9-11 world now demands—and will continue to demand—for years to come. Moreover, if conservatives stay home it will be out of frustration that Republicans haven’t been conservative enough. But illegal immigration, excessive spending, and the successful prosecution of the War on Terror will only grow worse if limousine liberals like Nancy “I’m pro-union but don’t allow my own employees to unionize” Pelosi glide into the Speaker’s office.
I think his point about liberalism in particular is critical. And it is that point which leads me to believe the Dems will most likely shoot themselves in the foot if they take power in the House (and Senate).

My guess is if the Dems are voted in it won't be for who they are or what they stand for (i.e. liberalism and liberal policies) but indeed because they aren't Republicans. It will be a vote demonstrating "Bush fatigue" and mostly because the GOP base doesn't turn out. I am convinced, to this day, that Clinton fatigue is why Al Gore is making environmental movies today instead of in the presidency (and I thank the good Lord for it too).

My political gut tells me that this will be mostly a "frustration" vote. Unfortunately the only option left to voters to voice that frustration is to vote for the opposition or stay home. A bit of both will hand some level of electoral victory to the Dems.

But that doesn't mean votes are buying into the opposition's platform or stand on the issues. While they'll get a majority of the votes in various races, I believe they'd be mistaken to interpret that as any sort of mandate to move to the left. Instead, they'll be telling George Bush and the Republican Congress that they've had it with the present course.

And given the leadership which exists in the Democratic party, I maintain they will not realize this. And even if they do I feel the Dems will not have the ability or party discipline necessary to keep their senior leadership from going wild introducing liberally focused legislation and investigations. That's because there is also a huge level of frustration among Democrats and that is going to drive them to excess.

And, because of that, in two years, we'll be reading doom and gloom in the MSM for Dems. So while I think Hall is incorrect about the '06 midterms being the "single best opportunity [for conservatives] to advance its agenda in over a decade", I certainly think '08 may be. The question is, will the Republicans actually recognize that and heed the message?

That doesn't take away from my continuing thesis that 'gridlock is good'. It is simply how I see the political reality of the upcoming election playing out in the upcoming years.

UPDATE: Meanwhile (and presented mostly for a laugh) lining up the excuses just in case the unthinkable happens for the Dems, we have the ultimate in Limo Liberals, Ms. Lyn Davis Lear. She too has heard the "maybe we're ok" talk among some Republicans, and is deeply suspicious:
Here are some questions: Are these guys simply narcissistic idiots Rove-ing around in some never-never land bubble or do they know something we don't? Have they planned a grab bag nose punch of an October/November surprise? Or have Diebold, ES&S, and local state secretaries assured them that they will do "whatever it takes" to get a Republican Congress elected again? Or are they just planning to outspend us? Karl Rove recently told the Washington Times, "For most Americans, particularly the marginal voters who are going to determine the outcome of the election, it started a couple of weeks ago... Between now and the election we will spend $100 million in target House and Senate races in the next 21 days". That is $30 million a week in 15 or 16 key races. Knowing this group, the answers must lie in a clever blitzkrieg combo of all of the above.
Trust me. Should what I don't think will happen happens, it will be Diebold-city afterward. If you think you've heard conspiracy theories before, just hang on (and on a separate note, I do agree voters should get a paper receipt which shows them their vote).

Here's my favorite part, replete with name-dropping. Limo libs exchanging thoughts on how bad it is for the poor little dears:
When I asked Gore Vidal at dinner why the White House seemed so serene and at ease about the vote, he replied that, this time around, the Bush-Cheney henchmen could simply call on martial law. He glumly noted that we are so far down the road toward totalitarianism that, even if Democrats do win back the Congress, it would take at least two generations before the last six years of damage to the nation could be reversed. Gore frankly despaired that any amount of time could ever return the country to where and what it previously was. This prediction left me reaching for some Fernet Branca.
Heh ... yeah, that would have me reaching for a "digestive" as well, given my gag reflex would have been working overtime.

And then, big finish, the call for action:
We all know the neocons won't cede power easily. They have to be aware that if the tide of Congress turns, Bush's last two years will be mired in gridlock and perhaps even be punctuated by several embarrassing congressional investigations. Of course, Cheney did say last week that everything in Iraq is hunky dory, which leads one to believe that after James Baker's devastating report and the escalating mass destruction of the war, Dickey-boy has simply lost it. But whether it is hubris, loony tunes, or both, the White House's freakish calm about the elections makes me as nervous as the hell we seem to be headed for. Therefore we should all be on alert. If for whatever reason we don't win back Congress in November the only real answer will be to take to the streets.
Because, obviously, if they don't win they were cheated. Would someone do Lear the kindness of telling her the '60s are over?

UPDATE II: Barons thinks Rove and company may be right, Tradesports be damned:
Our analysis — based on a race-by-race examination of campaign-finance data — suggests that the GOP will hang on to both chambers, at least nominally. We expect the Republican majority in the House to fall by eight seats, to 224 of the chamber's 435. At the very worst, our analysis suggests, the party's loss could be as large as 14 seats, leaving a one-seat majority. But that is still a far cry from the 20-seat loss some are predicting. In the Senate, with 100 seats, we see the GOP winding up with 52, down three

We studied every single race — all 435 House seats and 33 in the Senate — and based our predictions about the outcome in almost every race on which candidate had the largest campaign war chest, a sign of superior grass-roots support. We ignore the polls. Thus, our conclusions about individual races often differ from the conventional wisdom. Pollsters, for instance, have upstate New York Republican Rep. Tom Reynolds trailing Democratic challenger Jack Davis, who owns a manufacturing plant. But Reynolds raised $3.3 million in campaign contributions versus $1.6 million for Davis, so we score him the winner.

Likewise, we disagree with pollsters of both parties who see Indiana Republican Rep. Chris Chocola getting whomped by Democratic challenger Joe Donnelly, a lawyer and business owner from South Bend. Chocola has raised $2.7 million, versus $1.1 million for Donnelly. Ditto in North Carolina, where we see Republican Rep. Charles Taylor beating Democrat Heath Shuler, a former NFL quarterback, because of better financing. Analysts from both parties predict a Shuler upset.

Is our method reliable? It certainly has been in the past. Using it in the 2002 and 2004 congressional races, we bucked conventional wisdom and correctly predicted GOP gains both years. Look at House races back to 1972 and you'll find the candidate with the most money has won about 93% of the time. And that's closer to 98% in more recent years, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Polls can be far less reliable. Remember, they all but declared John Kerry president on Election Day 2004.

Our method isn't quite as accurate in Senate races: The cash advantage has spelled victory about 89% of the time since 1996. The reason appears to be that with more money spent on Senate races, you need a multi-million-dollar advantage to really dominate in advertising, and that's hard to come by.

But even 89% accuracy is high compared with other gauges. Tracking each candidate's funding is "exceptionally valuable because it tells you who has support," says William Morgan, executive director of the renowned Mid-West Political Science Association in Bloomington, Ind. The cognoscenti, he says, give the most money to the candidate they believe has a good chance of winning.
 
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Previous Comments to this Post 

Comments
Well, it certainly helps to confirm what you and I have been saying regarding the best way to vote, i.e., not putting the stamp of approval on Democrats but not feeling particularly keen on bailing the Republicans out now that they’ve drifted so far from the principles that swept them into power in the first place.

Boy, how I wish I had a NOTA vote.
 
Written By: OrneryWP
URL: http://
Me too!
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
This "take it to the streets" stuff is just blowing off steam. The inmates over at Democratic Underground do it all the time. Every so often, some denizen pops up with "I’m not gonna take it any more! I’m starting a demonstration/boycott/riot/insert-your-favorite-harebrained-idea-here!"

The response are invariably something like "Well, I can’t do it because of blah, blah, but I’ll be with you in spirit!"

 
Written By: Billy Hollis
URL: http://
Yeah, they’re much more serious about this stuff down in Mexico. When they feel they’ve been robbed, they *actually* take it to the streets.

Just like how Americans have threatened in every Presidential election in the last four decades or so to go to Canada if the other guy wins, and yet... time and again, no mass exodus.
 
Written By: OrneryWP
URL: http://
Well, traditional conservatism died during the Bush administration, so it’s only fair that traditional liberalism also dies.

The Democrats also have a golden opportunity—to redefine themselves in the public eye away from the Kumbayah school of foreign policy and the Santa Claus approach to domestic policy.

 
Written By: Geek, Esq.
URL: http://
The Democrats also have a golden opportunity—to redefine themselves in the public eye away from the Kumbayah school of foreign policy and the Santa Claus approach to domestic policy.
That’s good, Geek ... I like it. Question: do you think there’s any possibility they will?
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
I think they have on the domestic side. I think they’ve committed themselves to a balanced-budget approach. That was Clinton’s MO, and I really can’t see them going in the other direction, especially with a Republican president in there. Health care is the $64,000 question, of course.

Foreign policy wise, it’s tough to do so as a strictly Congressional party. The Republicans didn’t have a real identity on foreign policy and national defense during the Clinton administration (except to oppose gays in the military). Ironically, a lot of House Republicans and the Michael Moore lefties (that SOB is NOT a Democrat) were on the same page regarding Clinton and his military action in Haiti, Serbia, and Sudan/Afghanistan.

In 2008, we’ll see how the Democratic presidential nominee frames his approach to national security. That will be a crucial choice for the next 25 years.

Expect House Dems to make a lot of noise about redeploying troops from Iraq (where there’s not much a purely military mission left anymore) to Afghanistan.
 
Written By: Geek, Esq.
URL: http://
My problem here is that I don’t think we have an election in nearly decades where voters were voting for an agenda or an ideology in general. It seems to have been pinpoint target marketing on an issue by issue basis.

Polling data shows that Americans contradict themselves at every turn.

It’s not surprising, or even a knock on the electorate, but what Americans want is liberalism without paying for it, or conservatism, but they want to take care of the poor and make sure everyone has health insurance.

America is absolutely a more conservative nation that any of the European states, but that doesn’t mean much since American liberals are more conservative than their European counterparts.

We won’t know what Americans actually want until they get an honest choice.

Cap
 
Written By: Captin Sarcastic
URL: http://
I think they have on the domestic side. I think they’ve committed themselves to a balanced-budget approach. That was Clinton’s MO...
Really it wasn’t Clinton’s MO, although he went along with it and then claimed credit. Smart politics but in realty something he was dragged into, kicking and screaming (remember he kept saying it couldn’t be done for X years [the number kept changing each time he was interviewed]).

My guess is, Bush will accept Dem help in that regard and then, like Clinton, claim credit when he hands it all off in ’08.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Actually, the budget deficit had already come down by about half before the Republican Congress was elected in 1994.

The Republican Congress deserves credit for the small increases in spending and the budget surplus in the late 1990’s and so do the Democrats. The current bunch of Republicans has been more out of control than the Democrats have been in decades, since the Johnson administration.
 
Written By: Pug
URL: http://
Of course, I’ll remind myself and others, that much the same thing was said in ’04 concerning the Dems and how hated Bush was and how easily the Dems would win, etc.,etc, so I’ll hedge my bet here.

By who? No, seriously. I don’t remember any MSM narrative that Kerry was a shoo-in or that Bush was toast.. the polls were tight all the way, the election itself was close, and it was reported that way, in my memory, anyway.

Now, in 2000, there might have been an MSM 52 to 48 expectation of Gore. If anything, I’d say 2004 was the reverse.

Next: I read Hoover’s argument not as a Dem House is an opportunity, but that if the right holds onto both houses, the left will be in some way substantively crushed. I also doubt this. It’s contrary to the cyclical nature of politics, for one thing.

James Carville is correct (hey, even a broken clock is right two times a day): "If we [Democrats] can’t win in this environment, we have to question the whole premise of the party."

As Hall notes, that is exactly and completely right. And if, for some reason, they fail to take at least the House, they must indeed "question the whole premise of the party."


Bullfeathers. The Libertarians have lost elections for three decades and have yet to begin to question it. This is conservative projection and pre-emptive propganda, an attempt to create and disseminate a meme for the MSM to demand that Democrats dissolve their party if they lose - not an objective reality.

Why, exactly, if the Republicans lose seats, period, does the Democratic party take the message that what they’re doing right now is suicidally flawed?

Our analysis — based on a race-by-race examination of campaign-finance data

I have no idea if the Republicans are going to hold the house or not, but Barone’s analysis method is stupid. The high level of correlation between who has more money and who wins is because most races in the House of Representatives are never competitive to begin with! There’s a huge skew put in by the races that are massively noncompetitive from beginning to end, for a variety of reasons of which fundrasising totals are more of a symptom that the primary cause.

I wonder how often Barone is right for House races that at some point in time are within five percentage points. I’d guess no more than 60%.


 
Written By: glasnost
URL: http://
And, because of that, in two years, we’ll be reading doom and gloom in the MSM for Dems.
Yeah..................right.
 
Written By: Shark
URL: http://
Boy, how I wish I had a NOTA vote.

Written By: OrneryWP

=========

Me too!

Written By: McQ
I wish there was a party I could vote for, instead of only two parties which we must constantly figure out how to vote against.

If wishes were fishes...

yours/
peter.
 
Written By: Peter Jackson
URL: http://www.liberalcapitalist.com
Bullfeathers. The Libertarians have lost elections for three decades and have yet to begin to question it.
Glasnost, why did you write this? The Libertarians have never had any reason to think they might succeed. They aren’t in it to be a functioning or successful party, they are in it to feel good about themselves.

Since you must know that, are you just grasping at straws over how very little reason there is for the Democrats to hold together?

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, & pfpp
 
Written By: Tom Perkins
URL: http://
Of course, Peter, but an extra line on a ballot’s probably a lot easier to swing than a party transformation.

And who knows? Perhaps that extra line could help bring about a party transformation.

As it happens, I am actually voting for someone this year, enthusiastically, as opposed to choosing the lesser of evils: Tom McClintock.
 
Written By: OrneryWP
URL: http://
Since you must know that, are you just grasping at straws over how very little reason there is for the Democrats to hold together?

It’s an example of how there is no "must" in how a party reacts to defeat. "Must" is being used here as a normative functioned being pushed on Democrats by outside forces that *want* to see Democrats act this way. It’s not a prediction of how natural political law just happens to work.
 
Written By: glasnost
URL: http://
If you want your "Non-vote" to mean something, why not write a letter to the politician you are "Not voting" for and let them know the reason?

It’s what I’m doing. It give the politician a reason they lost a vote which is stronger than simply seeing a .004% increase in someone else’s vote that could be attributed to BSD, solar activity, or Desperate Housewives reruns.

As far as taking to the streets, as much fun as it is to pick on the little ’tards, it should be a real threat to our government. If a true fascist entity were to take over, how could we throw them out? A march down the street isn’t any good. Paper mache puppets and catchy slogans won’t do it. Public disobedience would only get you shot.

It’s talk like that that puzzles me why the left doesn’t appreciate the 2nd admt. A well armed citizenry goes a long way in preventing fascism.
 
Written By: Robb Allen
URL: http://blog.robballen.com
Really it wasn’t Clinton’s MO, although he went along with it and then claimed credit. Smart politics but in realty something he was dragged into, kicking and screaming (remember he kept saying it couldn’t be done for X years [the number kept changing each time he was interviewed]).
Actually, Clinton put balancing the budget as one of his main priorities during his first two years. That meant spending cuts and tax increases. Now, one could argue that the divided government for the remaining six years ensured a healthy gridlock, but that’s speculation.

Though, one must concede that the Republicans acted more like, well, Republicans under Clinton than they have under Bush.
 
Written By: Geek, Esq.
URL: http://
Actually, Clinton put balancing the budget as one of his main priorities during his first two years.
Pure politics. He knew he’d never have to fulfill it with a Dem Congress. When actually put in a position to fulfill that priority, he did everything he could to make the case that it was impossible.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Pure politics. He knew he’d never have to fulfill it with a Dem Congress. When actually put in a position to fulfill that priority, he did everything he could to make the case that it was impossible.
"In August of 1993, Clinton signed the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1993 which passed Congress without a single Republican vote. It raised taxes on the wealthiest 1.2% of taxpayers, while cutting taxes on 15 million low-income families and making tax cuts available to 90 percent of small businesses.[7] Additionally, it mandated that the budget be balanced over a number of years, and the implementation of spending restraints."

I think your statement would require you to be mindreader, the facts contradict your assertion.
He knew he’d never have to fulfill it with a Dem Congress.
You can’t possibly know this.
When actually put in a position to fulfill that priority, he did everything he could to make the case that it was impossible
As you have seen with President Bush, if a President wants money spent, even with an opposition party in power, he can get it spent. Clinton exhibited genuine fiscal restrain, much to my surprise at the time.

My opinion is that Clinton wanted to spend buckets on social programs, but believed that he needed to "find" money in the budget to pay for them. Analogous to saving up for luxury items, I believe Clinton thought we could support liberal programs if government spending were more streamlined across the board.

In any case, say what you want, neither Reaganomics nor Bushenomics has produced the results that Clinton’s neo-liberal deficit reduction plans produced.

(here’s where Republicans say it was all luck, the dot.com boom, and left over growth from Reagan)

Cap

 
Written By: CaptinSarcastic
URL: http://
(here’s where Republicans say it was all luck, the dot.com boom, and left over growth from Reagan)
Well, I’m not a Republican but I know Clinton had the peace benefit to work with. Check his defense spending compared to either Reagan/Bush 41 or the Bush 43.
 
Written By: Pablo
URL: http://

 
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