Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Democrats' Secret Weapons

The prevailing wisdom says that Republicans are poised to make a comeback this November, possibly reclaiming Congress. This is based on polls showing Republican candidates favored in many close races, as well as generic polls showing greater enthusiasm among Republican voters, indicating greater turnout for conservative candidates. I'm sure these polls are accurate as far as they go, but they fail to take into account of some Democratic Party advantages in firing up their own voters. One advantage is former President Clinton, whom polls also show may be the most popular politician in America. Clinton is already making heroic efforts on behalf of Democratic candidates, and can be expected to continue through election day. And the other advantage of course is the candidate from 2008 who fired up the crowds like nobody else. The video below, from a rally yesterday in Madison, Wisconsin, shows that he's still got it.

What can the Republicans do to counter these stars?  They can't exactly call up George W. Bush to stir the faithful.  That would only remind people of who got us into this mess.  Or John McCain, who would only remind voters of how out of date and out of touch they are.  Their other leading lights, figures like Sarah Palin and Mike Huckabee and John Boehner and Newt Gingrich, are viewed as net negatives by the public.  Voters may not feel that things are going well yet in this country, and a sizable minority are outraged by the direction we are heading, but I doubt there is a majority in favor of returning to the Republican program.  That means that if people just take the trouble to show up and vote, the Democrats should hang on this November.

11 comments:

  1. Forget the polls. Predictive markets have Republicans taking the House at all time highs. Even Pres. Clinton isn't going to make voters dismiss poor economic policy and their abject results.

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  2. As I said, conventional wisdom gives the Republicans an excellent chance of taking back the House. I believe that their chances will decrease as we get closer to the election, however. That is because the party in power has to overcome a certain amount of complacency and lack of enthusiasm, while the party out of power was already pretty worked up before the campaign season even started. Care to place a small wager on whether Nancy Pelosi will still be speaker in January?

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  3. Sure. If Dems remain in control of the House, you can guest post anything you wish on my blog--If Repubs gain control, VH gets a guest post on Hope and Change. Game? Or did you have something else in mind?

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  4. Nothing wrong with being fired up! That goes for left, middle and right. Lets get it on!

    I think a more objective of how we got where we are needs broader blame than Bush policies of the past. Bush made monumental mistakes. But we need to focus as well on 30 years of dismal Congressional (in)actions, Clinton and Rubin starting the Wall Street debacle, Dodd and Frank willing along the housing meltdown (both events joined and creating the great recession). And then Bush and Obama's complete naivete over the real situation we are living under. Obama was elected in a crisis and surrounded himself with Geitner, Summers and others who refused to alter the Wall Street nightmare or Fannie and Freddie. It lives on. I don't think Obama surrounded himself with insiders intentionally -- he's just was not savy enough to know what to do and relied on insiders Geitner and Summers. Crap, we all know now. Can we make some progress or do we have to clean house? A must see is the documentary by Charles Ferguson "Inside Job".

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  5. I'm not so sure that we all know anything yet. I actually think it is quite possible that when the history of the crash of 2008 is finally written, Hank Paulson and Tim Geithner may end up being portrayed as the guys who saved our system from collapse. Check out this New York Times article that says that the much-hated TARP program may end up costing the taxpayers nothing at all, and could even potentially net us a profit. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/01/business/01tarp.html?src=busln

    Compare that to the savings and loan crisis of the 80's which was a less serious problem, but ended up costing taxpayers a bundle.

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  6. One of the costs of TARP (that is never mentioned in cheer-leading articles) is that it removes the real consequences of risky behavior by investors and banks; programs like TARP signals banks that they can go out and throw the dice as much as possible knowing that Uncle Sam stands behind them with a check book.

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  7. Thanks, I read the article and Obama gave a great speech.

    I am talking about the Obama team's failure to reign in the Too Big Too Fail phenomena -- and that most of the variables that existed to create the collapse still exist at the big banks and at Fannie and Freddie. And speaking of the savings and loan crisis, where is all the investigation of possible criminal action? There were thousands of leads back in the 80s and nobody is even looking today. Where are the regulators? Where is Holder?

    I have to shake my head. The recession ended last summer (ha!). Wall Street just had it's best September in 70 years. Tarp ends Sunday. It's boom time! Geitner says TARP was a good investment for tax payors. If he's talking about banks he is right. The banks made 21.6 billion the last three months and paid out 1.6 billion in exec bonuses this year. Banks are not lending or investing in America. Why should they? They can gamble or lend to China. In crisis -- this country -- the President -- appointed Geitner and Summers who are insider Wall Street types who constructed the policy that has helped banks reap huge rewards while the rest of us are left dangling in the wind. Obama is Wall Street's best friend.

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  8. Maybe all of the conventional wisdom is wrong. Maybe too big to fail was never the problem. Maybe the problem was that Lehman Brothers was allowed to fail. That could be what caused the biggest crisis of confidence on Wall Street. Maybe there really aren't grounds for too many prosecutions because most of what caused the financial crisis was totally legal. Maybe TARP was in fact the greatest government program ever, and when Geithner says it was a good investment for taxpayers, all that means is that taxpayers are going to get their money back. I suppose we could have bailed out homeowners instead, but we would have never gotten our money back from them. Instead the people who cautiously refrained from buying houses at the peak of the market would have ended up subsidizing a lot of people who did very risky and foolish things. Maybe it was a good idea to put people who understand the system in charge of fixing it. Maybe we should think it is great that Wall Street is making money, because the alternative of Wall Street losing money would actually be way worse. and maybe the president and his economic team were just doing what they thought was best for the country, which also happened to be good for Wall Street too.

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  9. Those are good questions, Joe. I don't expect you believe them all but doesn't detract from the fact that they should be asked. You haven't changed parties have you :-)

    It is all going to take some time to sort out and will be an interesting part of history. Too bad so many Main Street Americans feel so much of the discomfort.

    My view, one of the essential problems facing America right now is the view that if Wall Street is doing well that's good for America. Who is America? Is it Wall Street or Main Street? Right now it's Wall Street at 65% of our GDP. But Main Street gets to do all the heavy lifting. In my opinion that is wrong.

    I have a question: what if Obama had spent 18 months focused on how Wall Street uses money to rob Main Street instead of Health Care Reform? Maybe we would have some lending and job growth.

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  10. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/arianna-huffington/replacing-summers-will-ob_b_742140.html

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