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The Tentacle


September 8, 2010

Recovery Summer NOT

Kevin E. Dayhoff

Conservative populist political pundits have predicted that Republicans will do well in the fast-approaching midterm elections, and, to a great extent, even the most cursory examination of history indicates such a prediction is a safe bet.

 

Of course, in the dark days after the disastrous 2008 elections, one could not have forecasted such a precipitous fall from grace for President Barack Obama and the Democratic Party.

 

Much of the rhetoric spewing from the right for the first six-months of President Obama’s term was much more wishful thinking and astroturfing than reality.

 

Then again, political scientists such as Larry J. Sabato, the director of the University of Virginia Center for Politics, wrote on September 2, 2010: “2010 was always going to be a Republican year, in the midterm tradition. It has simply been a question of degree.”

 

It is now a given that on the national level Republicans will win big this November. The only question that remains is how big.

 

It would be so easy to write that in 2008 I accepted it as a given that the Republicans would win big in 2010; but that would not be true.

 

In the late fall of 2008, it was my sense that the 2010 midterms were President Obama’s to lose. However, I join the many political scientists who are amazed as to how badly the Democrat leadership misread the 2008 presidential election and blew it.

 

Just yesterday, The Washington Post ran an article that shows just how precipitously the fate of the Democrats and President Obama has fallen in the 2010 summer of failure:

 

“For the first time in more than four years, Republicans run about evenly with Democrats on the basic question of which party they trust to handle the nation's biggest problems.

 

“Among registered voters, 40 percent say they have more confidence in Democrats and 38 percent say they have more trust in Republicans. Three months ago, Democrats had a 12-point advantage.”

 

Dr. Sabato noted: “GOP leaders themselves did not believe such a result was truly possible just a few months ago. If the Republican wave on November 2 is as large as some polls are suggesting it may be, then the surprise on election night could be a full GOP takeover.

 

“Since World War II, the House of Representatives has flipped parties on six occasions (1946, 1948, 1952, 1954, 1994, and 2006). Every time the Senate flipped too, even when it had not been predicted to do so. These few examples do not create an iron law of politics, but they do suggest an electoral tendency.”

 

In November 2008, years of emotionally charged pent up frustration exploded into an historic mishandling of what, at first glance, appeared to the beginnings of an era of liberal Democrat hegemony over national public policy development.

 

However, much of President Obama’s 2008 victory was personal, rather than political. His personal charisma quickly gave way to the politics of his personal arrogance and inexperience as the science of economics could not be swayed by his empty populist rhetoric, no more than his ego could outlaw gravity.

 

President Obama’s tone-deafness was equally matched by that of U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (NV) and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (CA). Count on history to not be too kind to this triumvirate of failure.

 

The role the media has played in propping up this failed administration is incalculable; however, one could be sure that if the economy were to have been this poor at this time under a Republican president, he or she would have abdicated the office and been living in exile in an undisclosed location – most likely on the Isle of Elba.

 

In 2008 it looked like President Obama was destined to join Presidents Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush, in gaining seats in a midterm election.

 

A History News Network analysis by Rick Shenkman from November 7, 2002, chronicled that President Roosevelt gained nine seats in the Senate and nine seats in the House in 1934. In 1998, President Clinton did not gain any seats in the Senate, but gained five seats in the House. President Bush gained four seats in the House and two seats in the Senate in 2002.

 

At this point in time, Dr. Sabato is predicting that the GOP may gain as many as nine seats in the Senate and 47 in the House. That’s pretty impressive stuff for history to digest.

 

Perhaps the traditional media drank the Kool-Aid, but someone forgot to tell the economy – the financial markets and American businesses – that increased regulations, higher taxes, presidential scorn, scapegoating and ridicule, and regime uncertainty were supposed to increase home sales, increase the availability of credit, encourage job growth, and lower the unemployment rate.

 

In the next two years it will be interesting to see if the Republicans play their hand better than the Democrats did in the last two years. It is harder to govern than criticize from the cheap seats on the backbench.

 

Dr. Sabato observed: “The Democrats’ self-proclaimed “Recovery Summer” has become a term of derision, and to most voters – fair or not – it seems that President Obama has over-promised and under-delivered.”

 

Fred Barnes wrote in The Wall Street Journal yesterday: “On June 17, the Obama administration proclaimed "Recovery Summer." This was done with considerable fanfare, including the announcement that President Obama and Vice President (Joe) Biden would tour Recovery Act sites – ones funded by the $814 billion "stimulus” – in full expectation the projects would contribute mightily to accelerated economic growth and job creation.”

 

It was all empty rhetoric in an attempt to politically shore-up the prospects for the Democrats to do well this fall.

 

Little did anyone realize the real recovery as a result of President Obama’s “Summer of Recovery” edict, just a few short months ago, would turn out to be the summer of Republican recovery.

 

kevindayhoff@gmail.com

 



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