James Pethokoukis

Obama’s lost year

November 5, 2009

Rahm Emanuel famously said that you “never want a serious crisis to go to waste.”  And certainly the sense of crisis earlier in the year helped the White House pass the $787 billion stimulus package. But where stands the rest of the Obama legislative agenda?

What the polls say about Obama, one year since being elected

November 4, 2009

Scott Rasmussen crunches the numbers:

As president, Obama lost the support of Republicans in February during the debate over the stimulus package. Over the summer, economic concerns and the health care debate cost the president support among unaffiliated voters. By October, a month-by-month review showed that Obama’s overall job approval had slipped to 48% among Likely Voters.

‘Permanent Democratic majority’ begins to unravel

November 4, 2009

America’s “permanent Democratic majority” ran smack into the economy’s apparent “new normal” of high unemployment and big deficits. Score one for the economy — and for Republicans.

Elections in Virginia, New York and New Jersey show shift in political landscape

November 3, 2009

First, a few obsevations:

1. Democrats are getting hammered in swing state Virginia. It’s not just Bob McDonnell, down ticket, too.

A tale of two economic recoveries

November 3, 2009

Which one do you believe? John Hussman sketches them out:

1) One possibility, which is clearly the one that Wall Street has subscribed to, is that the recent downturn was a standard, if somewhat more severe than normal, post-war recession; that the market’s recent strength is an indication that it is looking forward to a full “V-shaped” recovery, and that the positive print for third-quarter GDP is a signal that the recession is officially over. Applying the post-war norms for stock market performance following the end of a recession, the implications are for further market strength and the elongation of the recent advance into a multi-year bull market.

Obama’s bad economic bet may ruin Democrats

October 29, 2009

The anemic third-quarter U.S. GDP report is another indication that President Barack Obama’s economic gamble may yet fail to pay off. And that could be terrible news for Democrats heading into the 2010 midterm elections.

A VAT danger for Democrats

October 7, 2009

A good point on the political dangers of a VAT from David Henderson of EconLog:

But here’s what’s not a quibble: what happened to the political fortunes of the Canadian government that imposed that tax, something that Leonhardt doesn’t mention. Brian Mulroney, the Canadian prime minister at the time, imposed the tax at an initial whopping 7%. It’s true that it replaced a narrower hidden 13.5% tax on manufacturing and that it was designed to be revenue-neutral. But precisely because the GST was visible, it generated enormous opposition. The Liberal Party made repeal of the GST one of its main issues in the 1993 election. By then, Mulroney’s party, the Progressive Conservatives, had kicked him out and replaced him with Kim Campbell. Granted that Campbell ran one of the most incompetent campaigns in Canadian history and granted that there was a recession on at the time. But do you care to guess what happened to the number of seats in Parliament that the Progressive Conservatives won in that election? Let me give you a hint. They started with 169 out of 295 seats. And they ended with a number that can be counted on the fingers of one hand. To be precise, they ended with 2 seats, a 99% drop, and, a few years later, the Progressive Conservative Party disappeared via merger.

Noam Scheiber: Be happy with 8 percent unemployment in 2012, America

October 7, 2009

Over at his TNR blog, Noam Scheiber wonders what unemployment will be when Obama runs for reelection, noting that IHS Global Insight predicts it will be 8.1 percent:

Charlie Cook: 33-50 percent chance Dems lose House in 2010

September 30, 2009

I was at a Center for American Progress conference on the deficit this AM where respected political analyst Charlie Cook talked about the 2010 congressional midterms.  He said he thought there was a 1-in-3 to 1-in-2 chance that the Dems could lose the House of Representatives. Among his reasons:

Sarah Palin speaks! Some thoughts on her speech in Hong Kong

September 23, 2009

So Sarah Palin gave her big speech in Hong Kong. She talked about eliminating cap gains and estate taxes, giving people tax breaks to buy their own health insurance, and took a few shots at the Fed. That section was particularly interesting. (A bit of video here.) Here is the WSJ’s take: