"All that is good should also please us, always and everywhere and in every creature. We must protect and support goodness with solicitude, and resist boldly those who combat it."

- St. Thomas Aquinas
Strange Days

Regardless of your political persuasion . . . you have to wonder at the strange times we live in.

Who would have thought that a Republican would win the Senate seat long held by Teddy Kennedy, in bluest of blue Massachusetts.

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Comments on "Strange Days":
1. Roy - 01/19/2010 11:59 pm CST

foreshadowing

2. Maripat - 01/20/2010 1:37 pm CST

It really seemed like an impossibility only four weeks ago. Not even something to imagine in my wildest dreams.

3. Quaid - 01/20/2010 3:18 pm CST

Unless Obama messes this up, he'll be our President for the next seven years.

The control of the Congress (and, therefore, its negative visage) will no longer be the Democrats' albatross come November. That means that Barack will have two years to begin and cement his status as the forager of consensus and diplomacy. He won't be the leader of inefficiency, as he is now, he'll be the "voice of reason" contrasted with the inefficient Congress who both Republicans and Democrats love to hate.

If someone's earlier prediction about Romney winning the GOP nom is right (and I don't think it is), it won't matter because he won't stand a chance in the general election. (Since this is the case, however, I'm content to let him go ahead and lose so we never have to hear from him again).

The only President to have lower ratings at this point in time during their Presidency was Ronald Reagan, from what I've heard from historians. Ronnie went on to the biggest election blowout in the history of the Presidency, excepting Washington, three years later. While I realize that 1982 and 2010 are two very different times (not to mention I was only three years old during this time of Reagan's Presidency), the GOP must begin to strategize now if they have any hope to win in 2012.

Their best bet is Huckabee or someone who we've never even thought of. (Like Senator Brown?)

4. Bill - 01/20/2010 4:45 pm CST

Re Senator Brown. I don't want another 2 year Senator to be President.

Regarding the Reagan comparison - are you sure about that? I was a young adult at the time (the first time I voted was for the Gipper in 1984) and I don't remember any kind of negativity toward Ronnie in 82. I know the economy was still in a slump, but I don't recall anything like this.

You may or may not be right about Obama's triangulation of a Republican congress (for what it's worth, I don't see the Republicans taking control again - do you? - in 2010). Obama is a talented man, but when it comes to politics, he is no Bill Clinton.

I don't know who will win the Presidency in 2012. It may very well be Obama (and if he does I hope it's because the country is happy and strong and not more socialistic than today and etc). But it might not be as well - he could go the way of Carter or Bush 41.

5. Quaid - 01/20/2010 9:02 pm CST

FTR - I don't want Brown to be Pres, either.

Here's a link for Reagan's ratings.

I don't think Republicans will take control, but they'll pick up a bunch of ground in both the House and the Senate to the extent that they'll be largely deadlocked with the Dems. The winner in that situation is usually the President (but maybe because the Dems still hold the majority, the GOP can still stick "you own both of these branches of govt. and it still stinks around here" to them).

Also, if/when Obama wins in 2012, the house/Senate usually follows suit and Dems gain back seats lost this year.

6. Bill - 01/21/2010 6:02 am CST

"The winner in that situation is usually the President"

?

I don't recall the Democratic resurgence in the congressional races in 2006 helping Bush much.

The only recent example I can think of when a minority party made great gains and it actually ended up helping the president was in 1994, when the republicans didn't just make gains, but actually took back control of the house and senate, and began doing the Contract with America.

And it helped Clinton because he is a non-ideologue and an amazing politician and he triangulated the congress (and worked with the Republicans for some real reform) and got the credit.

Obama is a true believer. I don't see him compromising with the Republicans. And his political strategies thus far have not been working very well. So, unless he has had a change of heart, I see him doubling-down on the liberal agenda.

I don't think it's usually seen as a good thing to lose or significantly reduce your party's control on Congress. It's usually a disaster.

Doesn't mean Obama won't win in 2012, of course. It all depends on who runs against him.

7. Bill - 01/21/2010 6:08 am CST

Oh, and thanks for that ratings link. Interesting, and you are correct sir.

8. Quaid - 01/21/2010 7:01 am CST

You may be exactly right . . .

I think 2006 was an aberration in politics because Bush was almost dead in the water from day one of his second term. From the getgo, he was being dogged from all sides and he couldn't survive. The war and the economy sealed the deal for him in 2008.

If the economy stays in the pooper, then he's definitely stuck - I just don't think it will, and I think he'll pit himself against the Congress. If he can set himself apart from Pelosi and whoever is the next Reid, he'll look like the good guy. Pelosi might be the least popular politician of the last ten years, not counting those involved in political scandals. Her approval ratings are consistently lower than Bush's.

Even if she manages to remain the speaker eleven months from now, I think she's all but politically dead weight.

But you're definitely right about Obama being a "believer". I just think he values his political backside more than his ideals. What he believes will be sacrificed for his political life/potential legacy.

9. Andrew - 01/21/2010 9:00 am CST

And it helped Clinton because he is a non-ideologue and an amazing politician and he triangulated the congress (and worked with the Republicans for some real reform) and got the credit.

Obama is a true believer.


It worked for Clinton because he doesn't have a principled bone in his body. The man never stood for anything that wasn't supported by polls.

I still don't see Obama as a "true believer," though every conservative pundit (save, I guess Brooks, Douthat, and Frum) tells me that he's continuing to push a far left agenda. On Health Care, he caved on the public option before many believed it was dead. The left-wing blogs went nuts over this. Some of them said it was an absolute betrayal. He agreed to send more troops to Afghanistan despite immense pressure from the left to do the opposite. He has not even broached the subject of a second stimulus, even though liberals like Paul Krugman and Johnathan Cohn have been crying about it every time they get a chance.

Obama is a liberal, yes, but I just don't see him playing along with every point of the progressive agenda. Compromising on the public option before it was actually dead got him amazing fire from the left. If Obama was an uncompromising progressive socialist, he would not have done that.

Criticize Obama for what he has done, but to say he get through what happened on Tuesday is, I think, to underestimate him. I still think the fact that he defeated the Clintons without a single misstep shows that the man has dangerous political instincts.

That's my opinion. :-)

10. Bill - 01/21/2010 10:18 am CST

Good points, Andrew. I guess I should have stated it more accurately - compared to Clinton, Obama is a true believer. But, of course, Obama has a large pragmatic streak. But he wouldn't have, I don't believe, gone anywhere near supporting NAFTA or Welfare reform if he had been in Clinton's shoes.

I agree he ran a great campaign. But, until he shows me something different, I think that as President he has been a not very deft politician. He's squandered amazing political capital and a supermajority all in his first year.

Hillary isn't a very good politician either. Beating her was big, but it wasn't the same as beating Bill (which no one could do). In fact, most of Bill's first term problems stemmed from the foolish decision to give Hillary power. Once they got whacked in the 1994 election, she had most of her clout quietly revoked and became more of a traditional first lady.

We'll see. I'm notoriously bad at political predictions, as you all well know :-)

11. Bill - 01/21/2010 10:20 am CST

Also, I don't want anything I'm saying to be taken as underestimating Obama. I don't - he still controls his destiny and can turn things around. He came this close to a massive reform of healthcare (which, of course, still might happen, though chances of that are less after Tuesday night).

12. Quaid - 01/22/2010 8:58 am CST

In the words of Gene Wilder in Blazing Saddles:
"Hey Boys, Lookie at what I got here . . ."

Great minds think alike???

13. Bill - 01/22/2010 2:52 pm CST

Well, if Mike Huckabee says so . . .

14. Quaid - 01/22/2010 5:30 pm CST

;)

Seriously, though. Huckabee has to be one of a handful of people whose only thoughts are what the political climate will be about two and a half years from now. Not three years and not ten months, but two and a half years from now. I can't imagine Huck not throwing his hat in the ring - if I remember correctly, he was ahead in the last Rasmussen poll of Republicans who were asked who they would nominate for President if they had to choose today.

Don't you think that his opinion deserves a little validity? It doesn't necessarily mean that he's the greatest analyst of our political climate, but you know he's thinking about one thing when it comes to Presidential politics more than almost anyone else - Barack Obama's potential of succeeding in 2012.

15. Bill - 01/22/2010 7:09 pm CST

:-)

Of course his opinion has validity. He may even be right. I admit I didn't watch the video, just read the title, so the following point is uninformed. But here it is anyway.

Coakley wins: vindication for Obama, he's on his way to re-election.

Brown wins: wake-up call for Obama, he's on his way to re-election.

See my point? People can interpret things anyway they want. I just fall back to the general principle that losing is, almost always, a bad thing. Especially in war and politics.

Losing can teach you lots of things. But it's rarely a substitute for winning.

For my part: if Obama learns from this and starts governing more as the thoughtful, bipartisan moderate he campaigned as, that's a good thing. Even if it helps him politically.

16. Quaid - 01/23/2010 8:54 am CST

"Losing can teach you lots of things. But it's rarely a substitute for winning.

For my part: if Obama learns from this and starts governing more as the thoughtful, bipartisan moderate he campaigned as, that's a good thing. Even if it helps him politically.


It's funny you didn't watch because you pretty much re-iterated exactly what Huckabee said he thinks will happen. He thinks that this election will be the official we-can't-explain-this-away-on-something-other-than-us wake-up call to his administration.

Having said this, I'm wondering already if I'm right.

I can't believe he introduced that bank bill. I'm not saying the bill is bad or good (frankly, I'm intrigued by it) - I'm saying the timing is horrible. That's a bill you introduce when WE'RE BACK ON OUR FEET, not while the economy is still trying to pick itself up. Why step on the fingers of the kid on the ground?

Stop saying/doing/thinking anything that might hurt our economy if it isn't an essential thing to say/do/think. Don't hide the truth from us, of course, but DON'T INTRODUCE A BILL THAT KILLS WHAT MODICUM OF MOMENTUM THE STOCK MARKET HAD.

So, now we can add the banking sector to other major industries who are scared of Obama:
-Pharma
-Healthcare
-Insurance
-Banking
-Airline

But - hey - I sure do want to buy GM now . . .

17. Bill - 01/23/2010 10:32 am CST

"It's funny you didn't watch because you pretty much re-iterated exactly what Huckabee said he thinks will happen"

I understand, and I knew that's what he was saying, even though I didn't watch it. The difference is, it's not what I think will happen. I disagree with Huck on this one.

Doesn't mean I don't think Obama will get re-elected (I have no idea - 2012 is an eternity away, politically speaking). Just means that I don't see Obama as a guy who's going to shift away from his agenda just because he's getting whacked in the polls and his party is suffering astounding (and that's the only word that works for what happened in Mass) defeats. He'll adjust and soft-pedal, but he's not going to give up trying to get something passed on healthcare, and his basic economic philosophy is one of more government control, not less, and I don't see that changing either.

18. Bill - 01/23/2010 10:35 am CST

Also, regarding what you said about what Government should be doing right now vis-a-vis the economy: you're making way too much sense, Quaid :-)

I'd vote for you.

19. Bill - 01/23/2010 10:36 am CST

Also, you forgot "energy" in the list of industries Obama has demonized.

20. Quaid - 01/24/2010 8:58 am CST

George Will weighs in on the implications of the MA Senate election for Barack Obama.

He doesn't necessarily say anything regarding 2012 like Huck and I have, but he points out how this election could be a "blessing in disguise."

As I was reading, I thought to myself - how could Obama not win in 2012? With as bad as everything is right now, he is still hovering between 45-50% approval in the polls. Certainly, he is still in victory range with the ability to capture the election, if he falls on the high end of his current approval spectrum. Bush and Clinton both won re-election with about 49% of the popular vote, if memory serves.

(Although, Gore lost his election with over 50% of the vote, so what do I know?)

With as bad as the domestic agenda has gone, the economy in the toilet and everything from wars to the environment getting pinned on Obama/Biden, for him to be where he is in the polls is pretty nice. If just ONE of those things turns to his favor in the next two years, he'll get the election relatively easy.

21. Quaid - 01/24/2010 9:07 am CST

I apologize for bombarding this post with comments, but I saw this and thought it was very well-stated. Note that it runs counter to my argument above, and more in line with Bill's comment in #6 - towards the end of the comment. From Sherman Frederick at the Las Vegas Review Journal:

If [Democratic leaders] could find a moment of clarity to examine why Americans are so drawn to genuine figures -- Ronald Reagan and Harry Truman come immediately to mind -- they might yet find political redemption and begin to understand the American longing for honesty over intellect, straightforwardness over arrogant subterfuge. You know, something like that "hope" and "change" thingy.

But that's a hard road few travel in American politics. Redemption requires a contrite heart and true respect for the American voter, neither of which seem readily apparent in the White House or among top Democrat leaders today.

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