The final numbers are almost beside the point. Whether Democrats lose one or both houses of Congress, the 2010 congressional midterms will almost surely be an epic rebuke to the party and President Barack Obama. Two years ago, Democrats actually thought they would probably gain seats during these elections, just like Republicans did in 2002. What happened? This, politically and economically:
Let’s assume the Republicans take the House and the Democrats hold the Senate. What will it all mean and what will happen next? My two cents: I think it will be response by voters who think Obama hasn’t done enough to boost the economy and that the stuff he has done has been ineffective and off-point at best, harmful at worst. Here’s what are some other folks saying:
National Journal’s Ron Brownstein’s chat with President Obama last week:
It was clear that Obama has started to think seriously about how he will navigate a Washington with many more Republicans in it. But nothing about him suggested that he viewed the impending arrival of those Republicans as evidence that he needed to radically rethink his presidency. Obama sounded neither shell-shocked nor defiant. He seemed entirely focused on the practical: where he might work with Republicans, and where he expects confrontation (education, infrastructure, and energy in the first group; taxes, health care, and Social Security in the second).
There’s a brewing debate among conservatives over whether they should favor some tax increases to close the budget deficit. Some Republicans on Obama’s deficit panel are talking about cutting various tax breaks for individuals. Possible presidential candidate Governor Mitch Daniels of Indiana recently spoke favorably about a value-added tax and an energy tax. And here is Kevin Williamson of the National Review Online’s Exchequer blog:
I’m a big fan of Michelle Caruso-Cabrera’s analysis and insight on CNBC, so I was delighted to hear she was writing a book. And “You Know I’m Right: More Prosperity, Less Government” doesn’t disappoint. It’s a straightforward, highly readable argument in favor of fiscal conservatism and limited government. Like me, she spent her childhood in the 1970s and 1980s and experienced firsthand the impact of economic policy gone awry and economic policy done right. During Ronald Reagan’s presidency, she writes:
Some fascinating numbers from longtime Democratic pollster Doug Schoen (via U.S. News & World Report). Among them: Voters prefer Bush over Obama, want the GOP to control congress, favor extending all the Bush tax cuts, don’t favor another term for Obama and would give Palin nearly 20 percent of the vote if she ran as a third-party presidential candidate.
Will President Obama get re-elected in 2012 if his party suffers a crushing midterm defeat? His political team likes to point to the example of Ronald Reagan. Congressional Republicans were crushed in the 1982 midterms, but the Gipper cruised to victory two years later.