The horizon is not so far as we can see, but as far as we can imagine

Oh hey, look at that: Republicans ahead on Generic ballot

When I wrote that Rasmussen found Republicans more trusted than Dems, the immediate response was “you can’t trust Rasmussen”, ignoring the fact that even Rasmussen hadn’t found such results for years.  In other words, they were a leading indicator.

Now this:

Republicans have moved ahead of Democrats by 48% to 44% among registered voters in the latest update on Gallup’s generic congressional ballot for the 2010 House elections, after trailing by six points in July and two points last month.

The Nov. 5-8 update comes just after Republican victories in the New Jersey and Virginia gubernatorial elections, which saw Republicans replace Democrats as governors of those states.

As was the case in last Tuesday’s gubernatorial elections, independents are helping the Republicans’ cause. In the latest poll, independent registered voters favor the Republican candidate by 52% to 30%

What a surprise.


Meanwhile, we have further stupidity from the “centrists”:

Seven members of the Senate Budget Committee threatened during a Tuesday hearing to withhold their support for critical legislation to raise the debt ceiling if the bill calling for the creation of a bipartisan fiscal reform commission were not attached. Six others had previously made such threats, bringing the total to 13 senators drawing a hard line on the  committee legislation.

The panel, which has been championed by Conrad and ranking member Judd Gregg (R-N.H), would be tasked with stemming the unsustainable rise in debt.

Among its chief responsibilities would be closing the gap between tax revenue coming in and the larger cost of paying for Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid benefits. The Government Accountability Office recently reported the gap is on pace to reach an “unsustainable” $63 trillion in 2083.

The panel would also have the power to craft legislation that would change the tax code and set limits on government spending.

The legislation would then be subject to an up-or-down vote; it could not be amended.

Brilliant.  Now, the purpose of this committee would be to provide cover to slash Medicare and Social Security.  Imagine the reaction if, under a Democratic President, with a Democratic majority Congress, Medicare and Social Security got slashed.  Who do you think would get the blame?

A number of Democratic Senators are strongly backing this.  The hypothesis that Democrats want to be back in the minority is proving to have great predictive power.

A bill stripping abortion rights from women couldn’t pass in the Republican Congress.  It may well in a Democratic Congress.  Likewise a bill allowing Social Security and Medicare to be gutted couldn’t pass under Bush.  Will it pass under Obama?


In Flanders Fields


Rebooting the financial casino


  1. I’d like to see what the motivations for Independents are. Many Independents are really right-wingers who wanted to get rid of Bush. About what exactly are they getting angry at Democrats?

  2. Proof Obama is a weak leader. Bipartisanship as a governing principle is idiotic.

  3. kindness

    ahh…tjfxh longs for his Darth Cheney Emperor days. To hell with the Constitution, away consensus…..let us instead wish for the good old days where no one was allowed to question whether or not the Emperor had clothes on. Do I like what I see so far? I’m not happy with the Democrats who put self above nation, no. But President Obama is head and shoulders better than dubya & Darth were or McCain & Bible Spice would have been.

  4. @kindness

    No doubt that Obama is better than Bomb, bomb, bomb, Iran. During the campaign when people asked me what I thought about Obama, I said that electing him would be a disaster. The response was, of course, “Well, what about McCain? My answer was, Oh, electing Obama would only be a disaster. Electing McCain would result in total catastrophe.

    Oh, why can’t we have a decent choice?

  5. S Brennan

    “…electing [Obama] would be a disaster…Electing McCain….total catastrophe.”

    I think the reverse is true, TARP was going nowhere until Obama sided with it, same with FISA, Obama’s stimulus was largely tax cuts to Bush supporters and as pointed out above:

    Paraphrasing “A bill stripping reproductive medical services from women medical insurance couldn’t pass in the Republican Congress, but can in a Democratic Congress. Likewise a bill allowing Social Security and Medicare to be gutted couldn’t pass under Bush, but it can pass under Obama’s rule.”

  6. @ S Brennan “I think the reverse is true,”

    If McCain did what he said he wanted to do and I understood him correctly, I am pretty positive that if he were elected the US would be at war with Iran already, the financial system would be frozen, the economy would be in a debt-deflationary spiral due to liquidationist policy, U3 unemployment would be 20% instead of 10%, U6 would be 25%, health care would be off the table, and the administration would be calling for massive cuts to “entitlements that the country can’t afford.” That’s what I meant by total catastrophe.

  7. Yeah, but I think that the claim is that Republican presidents are constrained in what they can do by political calculations in the presidency that differ from what constrains a Democratic president.

  8. My read is that the GOP is united and a GOP president can count on everyone lining up, while the Dems are disunited and the GOP can rely on peeling off conservative Dems on important issues relating to things like so-called fiscal responsibility, national security, right to life, etc. The GOP can even count on a few Dems to undermine or at least water down Democratic proposals even with a Democratic administration and congress. Obama’s focus on bipartisanship as a governing principle further weakened Dems ability to achieve policy objectives without major compromise from the start, meaning that it was all downhill from there, the momentum being established in the wrong direction.

    The upshot is that the GOP is opposed to government in principle, and the Dems are disunited. This effectively makes the country ungovernable other than in the minimal sense, which is the GOP’s intention. So if we get anything at all, it is guaranteed to be bad.

    Obama’s support for Wall Street grew largely out of Wall Street signals that they were ready to support Democrats in exchange for their supporting a rescue, when the GOP Congress resisted on free market principles. Now the Dems are caught between the desire to retain WS donations and populist anger at the perceived favoring of Wall Street interests over Main Street needs. This probably accounts for a lot of independents switching generic preference.

    Obama’s continuance of Bush policies was foreseen by political analysts who pointed out that presidents never relinquish powers once gained.

  9. S Brennan


    It’s hard to argue with the certainty of your unsupported conjecture, but if true it would be because Democrats having gained power…chose to support the opposition. So really what you are implicitly arguing is…all modern Democrats are pussies under all circumstances. You are probably right on this matter, history supports you, which means we probably see the same result regardless of party…but there’s the conundrum.

  10. @ S. Brennan

    Politicians are motivated chiefly by money and power. Statesmen (and women) act on principle. There is a wide grey range between the extremes. But, in the end, it all comes down to personal calculations. Raising money for the next election, getting appointed to influential committees, raising one’s profile through powerful relationships, etc.

    Parties know that political calculations are largely individual, and they attempt to enforce discipline. Punishments include assignment top irrelevant committees and reduction in earmarks for one’s district.

    Parties gain and maintain power based on loyalty, which underlies party discipline and unity. Republicans understand this and are willing to punish and even purge those that cross the line and buck the leadership. and Dems aren’t very good at this,as we see with Joe the Traitor, for example, who retains his powerful chairmanship even as an independent. S0 it is difficult for Dems to accomplish policy objectives without dilution when there are so many freelancers in the caucus. (Thank Rahm Emmanuel for recruiting the Blue Dogs.)

    This is why trying to be bipartisan with the GOP is handing them your power. All that will happen is that you will lose your most conservative members, who use “bipartisanship” to further their personal agendas at the expense of the party. Then the president and party leadership look weak and ineffective — which is the basis for “spineless Dems” and “girlie men.” Or, as you say, pussies.

  11. Interesting comment by Warren Mosler on Obama a disaster. McCain. a total catastrophe.

  12. Politicians are motivated chiefly by money and power. Statesmen (and women) act on principle. There is a wide grey range between the extremes. But, in the end, it all comes down to personal calculations. Raising money for the next election, getting appointed to influential committees, raising one’s profile through powerful relationships, etc.

    Just so. That is why—unless one explicitly intends revolution—attempts at the exertion of activist power in politics must involve not only sticks, but carrots.

    I think that a lot of the recent history of the development of the US progressive blogosphere has been the understanding and creation of the carrot (we already knew about the stick). What’s missing now is the ability to coordinate carrot and stick effectively.

  13. By the way, dKos has a poll that tells a different story. Again, it totally depends on how you ask the question.

    So what does it mean that one poll gives (R) the edge on a generic ballot, but another poll says that (R) has more unfavorables than (D)?

    Who knows?

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