The Republicans will slaughter the Democrats next November according to those who know about these things. And I’ve no doubt that they will. All the House of Representatives and 1/3 of the Senate are up for grabs and the Democrats are in bad shape and could even lose control of the Senate.
I will take these prognostications and predict that in 2013 President Obama will win re-election handily.
How do I square that circle?
By 2013 the public will be able to see Obama in perspective.
I believe that Obama has done very well. Consider what he inherited in Afghanistan, Iraq and the US Economy.
It’s been well said “it’s the economy, stupid!” Let’s examine that.
In 2008 the economy of the US fell like it had never fallen before. Lehman Brothers, thought invincible, fell. General Motors and Chrysler did the same. The country’s two largest mortgage lenders went broke leaving millions of Americans owing far more on their homes than they were worth. It was a hell of a mess and it was caused by the laissez-faire attitude of the George W. Bush Republicans toward reasonable regulations.
While one can never say positively that someone else might have done things differently than the president did but if you mentally put John McCain and, heaven help us, Sarah Palin in power, what would they have done?
Does anyone seriously suggest that they would have said to industry “one of the basic tenets of capitalism is that you have a right to make a profit but you also have the option of going broke? If we give you lots of money that defies the tenet that when a company fails another new company will arrive with fresh faces in the control room and pretty soon all is well again.”
Can one imagine for one moment that McCain/Palin would have said to the huge contributors to their election slush funds, “sorry guys, but you know how capitalism works. Government has no role to play in the market – we leave that to the ‘hidden hand’ which, unhappily, has just punched you all in the face”?
President Obama has started the economy working again, Workers are back in the plant and the bosses are back lunching at the “Club”.
The recession is far from over. More bad news is, in my view, on its way. But however much you prefer to see the government butt out of the marketplace, would you have 100s of thousands out of work with no prospect of change while the government, instead of getting the companies back on their feet, set up soup kitchens and invented make work projects?
I also believe that the Obama government has made good progress cleaning up the mess in foreign affairs.
By definition, problems in this field are not solvable. All you can expect is that the president brings some solutions to bear and makes the world at least a soupcon better. Just as Obama couldn’t walk away from the economy he cannot suddenly withdraw from Afghanistan and Iraq, two large insoluble problems created by Bush and left to Obama.
The president and his able Secretary of State, Ms. Clinton, have done very important work in improving relations with Russia, of critical importance to solving problems in the Middle East and elsewhere. It never happens and never will happen that the leaders of Russia and America will stand up and declare that all problems are solved and they are now great buddies forevermore. The best one can hope is that everyone’s still alive and deals with the new problems that morphed out of the old ones.
I see an interesting parallel between now and 1946 when Harry S Truman was an unpopular president facing mid-term elections which he lost big time. For the balance of his term Truman kept putting legislation to the 80th Congress and he got rebuffed. Like Cato the Elder constantly said “Carthage Must Be Destroyed”, he kept deriding the “do nothing 89th Congress”. The GOP was confident that Thomas Dewey, who lost to Franklin Roosevelt in 1945, was a slam dunk for 1948. All they had to do was exercise patience.
By the time the 1948 election rolled around, Truman faced three opponents – the Republicans, a left wing breakaway Democratic Party chunk called The Progressives, led by former FDR vice-president Henry Wallace and a breakaway southern Democrats called the Dixiecrats led by Strom Thurmond, later a republican Senator after Richard Nixon had become friends of the White Southerner in the 70s.
Truman went to the people slamming the “do nothing” 80th Congress and won.
In 2013, barring a catastrophe in the meantime, Barak Obama will demonstrate that presidential elections and congressional elections though fought at the same time are fought on different issues – that people are quite prepared to split their vote.
And he will win.