Some post election thoughts

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader wanted to share some of his post election thoughts with you. If you have a particular comment upon which you might your Maximum Leader to opine, please let him know.

First off… Your Maximum Leader sees the 2010 elections as confirmation of his long-held view that no matter who gets the nomination of the major parties that person is going to get about 40% of the vote. (In a straight up 2 candidate comparison). Take for example the case of Christine O’Donnell in Delaware. It was painfully clear to anyone with an ounce of sense about them that O’Donnell was going to lose. It was only a matter of how badly she was going to lose. Your Maximum Leader figured that she’d get somewhere about 40% of the vote - and sure enough she did. In South Carolina, your Maximum Leader figured that absolute nobody Alvin Greene (who people speculated was a Republican plant in the Democratic party) would get about 40% of the vote. Well, Alvin got 28% of the vote. But there was a Green Party candidate in the state who got 9%. If there had been no Green Party candidate your Maximum Leader thinks that those 9% of SC voters would have gone to Greene. (Hummm… A case of the exception proving the rule?)

Secondly… Your Maximum Leader isn’t sure that anyone in the White House fully understands what happened on Election Day. Then again, it could be a case of the political atmosphere being so charged and polarized that neither side is capable of understanding any view that doesn’t fit their pre-existing views. After listening to the President yesterday your Maximum Leader thought that he (the President) didn’t get it. It wasn’t that he didn’t move with enough speed or scope to address the problems of the nation; it was that his view of what the problems were were different than the majority of the voters out there. Your Maximum Leader firmly believes that the President did not make a case for health care reform being a major economic issue that had to be tackled right away. Indeed, your Maximum Leader doesn’t think that there is a case to be made for health care reform being an economic issue that had to be taken care of right away. Yes, it is a problem that needs attention. But the case wasn’t made. The fact that health care was pushed through Congress to the President in a way that most Americans find distasteful doesn’t help the case. Most Americans are okay with (even bad) laws that are sweeping in their scope but are passed in an open atmosphere of debate and consideration. Your Maximum Leader doesn’t see how health care was passed in such a fashion. Some say (including your Maximum Leader’s good buddy the Smallholder) that if the President had passed a larger stimulus he would be viewed as more successful and done better at addressing the economic situation facing the nation. Your Maximum Leader calls the “we needed a larger stimulus” argument the “Paul Krugman” argument - since Krugman has been making it for months. Your Maximum Leader disagrees. The two stimulus bills (Bush’s and Obama’s) along with the bank bailout and TARP were absolutely required to stablize the economy while it was in meltdown. But the problem now (as your Maixmum Leader sees it) is not that the economy is going to collapse, it is that the economy is stuck. We are at a stage where the government cannot buy our way out of the economic problem. Banks have money. Corporations have money. There is plenty of capital in the system. It is just that no one is moving capital. They aren’t moving capital because of uncertainty. Consumers don’t know what the value of their homes will be. Consumers don’t know if they’ll have jobs in the future. Consumers don’t know what their jobs (if they have them) will pay. Taxpayers don’t know what their tax situation will be next year (will tax cuts be extended? will they expire?) There is fear and uncertainty. Your Maximum Leader isn’t sure what exactly can be done to restore confidence. But he knows that neither the President, nor Congressional Democrats (up to this point and on to January) have seemed to have a plan. So this gets back to the starting point of this paragraph that the President doesn’t get it. He doesn’t seem to have a clearly articulated plan, and thus voters are happy to give some power to Republicans in the hopes of stimulating the political system to get a plan.

Thirdly, your Maximum Leader wonders how the President will actually react to having his power in Washington magnified. Yes, your Maximum Leader said it. His power is (potentially) magnified. 435 members of the House of Representatives are not going to suddenly coalesce around John Boehner and speak with one voice. The US Senate hasn’t spoken with one voice in decades. The only possible national leader is President Obama. He faces a choice. He can lead, or he can inject himself into goings-on in Congress and hope for the best. Up to this point your Maximum Leader would contend that Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi have exercised more power in Washington than has the President. That has changed. With a diminished majority in the Senate, Reid is going to have a harder time moving anything through that body. With Republicans in control of the House we should expect to see a bunch of mostly symbolic bills moved out (to die in the Senate or get vetoed by the President). If President Obama is going to change anything in Washington he’s got to pick issues carefully, build consensus and actually lead. Bill Clinton did this after losing the House in 1994. Bill Clinton became a successful president because of the Republican House. Now honestly your Maximum Leader doesn’t believe that Barack Obama is as politically astute as Bill Clinton. He further thinks that Obama’s team is more tin-eared and arrogant than the President. Also, Obama’s coalition does not desire to compromise with Republicans. Those are a bunch of strikes against Obama turning things around. That said, the President has the tools at his disposal if he knows how to use them.

Fourthly, the biggest non-reported upon story of the election was the pick up of so many Governorships (and state legislators) by Republicans. With Congressional redistricting happening next year, this is a big deal. In many ways this item can do more to help Republicans hold power in Congress for 10 years or so. Drawing Congressional districts is an immense power. One that has a profound affect on how Washington works. That is the story that should get some air time.

Fifth (and last for now), your Maximum Leader was pleased to see Dana Milbank muse yesterday on the press being irresponsible in reporting as much as it did on Christine O’Donnell. Your Maximum Leader was going crazy every time he watched a news report about how control of the Senate hung in the balance last Tuesday, and every story contained some reference to O’Donnell in Delaware. Your Maximum Leader wishes he could do a Lexus search of national news items and see how many references the O’Donnell race got compared to Carly Fiorina in California. Your Maximum Leader recognizes that O’Donnell being cute and insane makes for better copy than most other races; but still shouldn’t their be a little perpective here? By talking up one race that wasn’t close they didn’t talk about other races that were. Okay, many could say that Fiorina didn’t have a chance given California’s political makeup. If you don’t like that example substitute the Pennsylvania Senate race. One that actually was very close and meaningful but got almost no press compared to little Delaware. It is sad to see such irresponsible reporting on the part of most national news outlets.

Were there other election results on which you’d like your Maximum Leader to opine? Got a beef with his views? Comment away.

Carry on.

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