28 November 2010

Thoughts On The Midterms II

So the midterms came and went, with predictable results. As much as I support Obama and what he is trying (emphasis on trying) to do in DC, it's hard to see the election results as anything other than a referendum on how Democrats have been handling things since they took over. But I'll give it a shot.

I think the prevailing theme of the midterms was widespread dissatisfaction with what is viewed as runaway government spending, a slow recovery and high unemployment, not an overall sense of disdain for Obama and the Democratic agenda.

Consider: Any economist will tell you that in a recession, if the government doesn't spend money, no one will. Since the continuous flow of money was necessary to keep us afloat, this is exactly what any candidate who won in 2008 would have and should have done. It's just a matter of where to spend the money. Since Bush approved the bailout, voters couldn't have, or shouldn't have, blamed it on Obama. Since most in government supported some sort of economic stimulus at a time when very little money was being pumped into the economy, we can't really blame that solely on Obama either. And who would honestly argue that voters took Obama and the Democrats to task this month for trying (emphasis once again on trying) to reform the financial industry?

The only major issue that I can see as the possible impetus for an anti-Obama, voter-driven congressional facelift is healthcare. Although I know this issue is divisive to say the least and a popular one with older generations, many of whom voted, I don't see this as a satisfactory overall explanation for the red tidal wave that overtook the House. So I think that many Americans who voted this month did so because they expected us to be closer to digging ourselves out of this hole than we currently are and a scapegoat was needed: the party in power.

Democrats lost because they failed to articulate how their efforts have helped or will help average Americans, not because average Americans disagree with what Democrats are trying to do. Mark my words- if consumer spending picks up and unemployment drops by November 2012, all the Tea Party/healthcare/anti-Obama rhetoric in the world won't stop the guy from cruising to reelection.