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December 2012


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Sunday, February 12th, 2012 03:38 pm

I've been noticing a trend in polls over the last few months. President Obama's approval rating hasn't been climbing, and in any poll of Obama vs. "generic Republican" for the uncoming Presidential election, Obama loses solidly.  But plug in the names of any of the current Republican candidates in place of "generic Republican", and the result flips; now Obama leads by a solid 8-10%.

I predict that Obama will get a second term in this election, and that he will take it as a mandate to continue and ramp up his agenda.  But I posit that this does not in fact represent a real success of Obama, of his policies, of his administration, or of the Democrat party.

What it represents is a complete failure of the Republican party to show the slightest sign of any awareness of the mood of the electorate or the state of the nation, and in particular how tired the voters are of a Congress owned lock, stock and barrel by megacorporations and megabanks.  Obama may not be doing anything tangible to change this, but he at least made a few of the right noises in his State of the Union campaign speech; and that's good enough for a large number of voters — even when he then turns around and brokers a mortgage settlement with the banks that amounts to slapping them lightly on the wrists and handing them a Get Out Of Jail Free card.

Sunday, March 18th, 2012 06:45 am (UTC)
Well, you know, I don't think Obama administration has any agenda. From my viewpoint, Obama looks like a brown-skinned Ronald Reagan, more focused on "messaging" than policy. The Obama administration is pretty conservative--what these days is called "centrist," but that's the center between the middle-right and the true center. That's all of American public discourse, except for Tea Party Republican (far right) and Occupy (hasn't figured out what, yet.)

So I don't expect things to get a whole lot worse. But they aren't going to get a whole lot better, either. The job market will slowly improve. Congress will continue to push for pointless austerity. Krugman expects us to be back at a reasonable employment level (but not pre-depression wages) around 2014, when the health care mandates will kick in. I've yet to see a macro-economic analysis of the health care mandate, but I suspect it could knock us right back into depression.

Internationally...I wish the USA would stop digging in the hole it is has made in the Middle East and Central Asia, but I don't see that happening. I don't see a sudden turn to civil rights activism, either, but I could be wrong.
Sunday, March 18th, 2012 09:34 pm (UTC)
I'm not sure of that number, but you're right that there aren't real cuts in the works. From strictly the viewpoint of cutting long-term debt, that bete noir of the radical right, the PPACA is actually likely to be the biggest success. As to the so-called austerity budget, it's not about saving money; it's about hurting people, and cutting programs the authoritarian right doesn't like. A secondary problem is that austerity programs in a depression deepen the depression, leading to a deeper shortfall in revenue. So they're doing most of the wrong things, and the administration is helping them along.

Wednesday, March 21st, 2012 05:59 am (UTC)
It seems to me that the Wall Street Republicans have formed a coalition with the conservative Democrats, and that is what is currently in charge. I do ding the far right wing of the R's for exceptional incompetence and malice, however, and they're in control of the House right now.

Congress has access to the people who can solve the problems. They have any number of experts at their disposal, if they want them. There are even some Congressmen and Senators who know the right questions to ask them. But none of it matters if there's no agreement to make use of the knowledge.