November 05, 2008
The Day After

Congratulations to Barack Obama and the Democratic party on their convincing victory in this election. Here's to hoping you do a much, much better job than I expect you to.

My prediction? It all hangs on the Senate now. 41 seats means the more radical stuff... his tax plan, his health care plan, his environmental plan, and his foreign policy agenda, must be modified or they're dead on arrival. 40 seats? Then it'll be down to the media and the Democrats' own incompetence. Not a pretty picture.

I expect in the next few months a gush of hope and happiness not seen probably since Kennedy took office in 1960. It'll be one treacly special after another right up to the inauguration and just a little beyond. And hey, I'm more a student of history than I am a partisan, and because of that I will actually be quite proud that black children now have the South Lawn as their back yard. Dr. King's dream has come true.

But I'm also a realist, and I've watched this particular game played since the mid-70s. The media will turn on him first, because a happy and harmonious government doesn't sell, but a $500 haircut on the tarmac of LAX certainly does.

Then his own party will turn on him. Obama himself may be centrist, but his party absolutely is not. Their ecstasy will be their undoing, and they will immediately try to enact a whole raft of radical legislation the country quite plainly will not want.

And that's when the people will turn on him. Just as in '94, idealistic Americans who simply wanted change will suddenly realize these people really did mean what they said. They will realize the Democrats really are going to raise taxes, are going to go soft on defense, and are going to try socialized medicine and an expansion of the welfare state.

And that's where my side comes in. As it has in the past, this time in the wilderness will serve to strengthen and focus the Republican party. The party holding the White House always loses seats in off-year elections, so the Democrats' ability to genuinely screw things up will be curtailed in 2010, by how much will be largely determined by how badly they screw up in the two years previous. In the Clinton years, the Democrats were such utter f-ups they went from holding all the cards to being completely out of power at the next election, and this bunch promises to be much better at dropping it all in the pot than that bunch was.

Will it be that fast? If we can't hold them back in the Senate, it's a dead certainty, but the mess will be a lot bigger when we get there. If we are able to protect them from their worst excesses even a gradual erosion will be fine, because that'll mean a Republican president in 2012 will have a small, resentful, but not utterly intractable Democratic majority in Congress to deal with, and, if we must wait until 2016 that same Republican president will have a small, organized, and energized Republican majority with which to govern. Not too shabby, eh?

In a funny sort of way, I'm actually rather glad Obama made it. Had McCain won, the Democrats would've fallen much deeper into the radical left's grasp, and would most likely have paralyzed the country at precisely the time reasoned action is required. The desire for revenge would've simply overridden any real attempt to govern. 1948 - 1952 all over again, the Democrats only needing to find a single issue and their own McCarthy to run with it to truly unleash chaos.

Instead we'll get 6 months of obnoxious leftist gloating, perhaps two years of truly odious attempts to turn the US into New France, followed by our regular (and seemingly preferred) two-party gridlock to take us into the next Presidential cycle. Balancing this will be the fun we'll have watching patently naive people with a penchant for petulant chaos come to realize that it really is a lot more complicated than it looked from the outside, the country really wasn't held hostage by Karl Rove and Dick Cheney, and we all by and large don't want what they think we do.

The wailing at this "betrayal" will be sweet, sweet music indeed.

Posted by scott at November 05, 2008 09:48 AM

eMail this entry!

This is a major blow to the majority of the country who just wants to govern from the center (Not from the left or right) those who want a liberal republican or a conservative democrat.

With McCain going down in the way he did (And it wasn't his fault you could probably have put Adolf Hitler to top the democratic ticket and he would have won)just shows the Republicans that they can't win from center. Thats the lesson they will take from this defeat rather than actually seeing the reason for it (Where W has taken the country and how poorly they waisted thier opportunites these past 8 years)

It shows the Democrats that they CAN win from the left and don't really need those on the right or center to keep them in power. They will decide it's a mandate for thier agenda rather than a rejection of Ws.

McCain truley was the only canidate that I know of from either party that was squarley in the center (Who had enough of a national voice to get on the big stage) I don't see anybody else in the offing.

More is the pitty.

Posted by: Jeff on November 5, 2008 10:21 AM

Yeh, there will be serious wailing and gnashing of teeth when the folks who put Obama--and perhaps more importantly strong majorities in Congress--in office, expecting magically for the sun to come out, the birds to sing, and all suddenly becoming good and right (or in this case, left) with the world, doesn't happen, and all that pie-eyed idealism goes crashing to pieces.

My only hope is that too much damage isn't done in the meantime, before the 2010 midterms.

Posted by: Mark on November 5, 2008 10:49 AM

The first thing I expect to see...many liberal justices in the Supreme Court will retiring in 2009.

They've been waiting for just this moment for the next generation of highly liberal justices to step up.


Posted by: Mark on November 5, 2008 10:52 AM

One thing worth noting is that I believe Obama himself has said that it could take "up to the first 30 months", or something along those lines, to get anything going. Seems that he's very worried that his adoring fans are going to go nuts when he doesn't change things immediately.

Even more fun is that if he does, he's likely to just prolong the economic downturn we're in right now. The key and absolutely critical point will be can the Republicans make the problem his and not theirs. So far, they've been doing a crappy job of pushing blame to where it belongs (or sharing it, to be more realistic), so I don't have particularly high hopes.

Carter 2.0

And yes, a part of me is proud to see that many Americans can see past race on this. Unfortunately, it had to be one of the worst times to do so.

Posted by: ronaprhys on November 5, 2008 11:42 AM

ron: And don't forget Biden's comment about how Obama will be tested and we won't like his response...

I agree exactly with Jeff. What happened here was a lot of manipulation of popular spirit, to fill Republican voters with irrational rage and Democratic voters with irrational love. Republicans just wanted to vote for ANYONE who didn't have "R" next to their name; my Dad, among others I've seen, said flat out that he doesn't expect Obama to be a particularly noteworthy President but by God he wasn't gonna vote for another Republican. And Democrats wanted to be part of a Movement, a Happening, an Occurrence. They so desperately Wanted To Believe that they didn't care about anything (other than, of course, saying vicious things about Sarah Palin, who made herself the target of thirty years of suppressed anger at women.)

Posted by: DensityDuck on November 5, 2008 12:13 PM

Oh, PS: The biggest problem for commentators in the coming years will be getting Democrats to own their fuck-ups, instead of letting them say that it's The Grim Legacy Of The Bush Years Coming Home To Roost.

Posted by: DensityDuck on November 5, 2008 12:18 PM

Yeah - not going to happen. Anything and everything will be blamed on Bush.

Dandelions in your lawn? Bush had Cheney plant them. Your dog took a dump on your rug after you left him inside all day? Bush gave him a laxative. Lightening strikes your aged grandmother? Bush messed with Cheney's secret weather controlling machine.

Posted by: ronaprhys on November 5, 2008 01:47 PM
Post a comment

Email Address:



Remember info?