Skip to comments.Blue McCain, Red Obama?
Posted on 07/12/2008 11:12:50 PM PDT by Reagan Man
Both candidates are predicting an election of change. Strangely, they both are correct--but the change will be almost the exact opposite of what either expects. The law of unintended consequences is one of the most important in political science and America is headed for a dozy.
It all has been so predictable. Red state conservatives supporting limited government, traditional values and strong defense battle blue state liberals for big new government programs, government-guaranteed libertine lifestyles and diplomacy over military force. President George W. Bush has mixed things up a bit with his spending spree but the political divide of red and blue states has seemed so normal for so long we ignore it. Anyway, the Bush tenure adds to the reasons why everyone is for change.
Predicting the future is hazardous, of course. Even assuming that either John McCain or Barack Obama will be formally nominated is not one hundred percent since either could die or be incapacitated and the conventions do not take place until later in the summer. We do not even know the vice presidential selectionsand they will be very important this year. Still, the future looks very clear to these old political science eyes and, like the reaction to Cassandras bad news, no one is going to like it one little bit.
The incumbent president sits with among the lowest approval ratings ever collected for a chief executive, in the midst of a recession people at least partially blame on him, with rising inflation including out of sight energy prices, and in a war that most Americans say was his mistake--and which they want to end sooner rather than later. The people tell pollsters by large majorities that things are going in the wrong direction and they are in a foul mood generally. Republicans have lost a string of off-year elections in normally safe GOP districts. Under these circumstances, Barack Obama should win in a landslide.
Even under these horrific conditions, the polls still find Sen. McCain within a few points of the Democrat. State-by-state, it looks even better for McCain to run a close race. Indeed, my gut tells me McCain will win narrowly. But conservatives should hold the champagne. It will be a disaster for their philosophy and their party over the long run. Why? It is even more obvious that Democrats will increase their majorities in both houses of Congress in this election. And afterwards, liberals will be so angry flubbing the White House for the third slam-dunk election in a row they will make President McCain pay dearly.
Democrats already have the most effective House of Representatives majority in years, obvious in the American Conservative Union congressional voting scores for last year. The Democratic leadership there has not lost a single important vote since regaining control in the 2006 election. If not for the Senate, the GOP would be out of the legislative game altogether. They will be out after the 2008 election results even if McCain wins, maybe especially if he wins. It is even very likely the Democrat victory will produce a filibuster-proof Senate in 2009, with the support of a few weak-kneed Republicans it is a virtual certainty.
Well, a President McCain would have the veto. But he would be trapped by the same dynamics as George W. Bush. To get anything accomplished, ultimately, he needs Congress. Legislatorsformer and current--are congenitally unable to get along without results so they typically give in to a determined majority. The Democrats will be unwavering in their determination to make McCain fail to prepare the way for veto-proof majorities in 2010. Presidents almost always lose seats in the off-years and a frustrated McCain and a quietly reactive Congress will make it inevitable. Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Leader Harry Reid have already demonstrated in the last two years that they know how keep a low profile and play legislative defense, learning from the disastrous tenure of Newt Gingrich.
So the cost of a McCain victory would be overwhelming Democratic control of Congress and the inability of the president to overcome it with even constant vetoesin the unlikely event he would pursue them in the first place. Two years later, a do-nothing Republican president is easy pickings even for your typically hapless progressive Democratic presidential nominee. But the liberals should hold the bubbly too. What if they win in 2008? It is all undone! And, as we have noted, all the objective evidence says the Democrats should prevail.
What happens if Sen. Obama wins? Here he comes into office with all his ideas of reforming Washington and adopting an agenda of change to save the American people. The only problem is that he only offers the same old liberal programs the Democrats have been pushing in Congress for generations. There was not a sliver of difference between the 2008 Democratic contestants on the issues. They have no other ideas. So what happens? He submits all his new ideas and the Democrats in Congress immediately recognize them. But they know one thing he does not. These cunning politicians really never wanted to pay for them!
There are no geniuses in Congress but there are few fools either, especially in the Democratic leadership and on the key committees. They pushed all of these expensive programs when they knew the Republicans and their president would defeat them. That way the Democrats got credit for passing the great programs and the GOP received the blame for killing them. With an Obama, the Democrats would have to come up with the moneyand it isnt there, and they know it better than anyone. The entitlements are ready for bankruptcy now and there are even bigger bills to be paid a few years further down the roadand do not forget about inflation. This is how the Democrats lost control of the House for the first time in forty years in 1994--after big plans and controls for health care and big taxes to pay for them.
These wily pols are not about to let a president, even a Democratic one, turn them out of leadership again. Ask Jimmy Carter. Why do you think Bill Clinton had to triangulate by proposing big liberal programs that cost and amounted to almost nothing? Only the Republicans could get away with a big prescription drug plan and it was President Bush who did the big discretionary spendingtwice Clintons levels. It might even occur to Obama as it did to Clinton before him that to have funds for his favorite programs, much less for any new ones, it might be necessary for the Democrats to begin reforming entitlements.
And forget about getting out of Iraq too quickly. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer is not going to let Republicans blame him for last minute helicopter exits and American soldiers dying in a precipitous troop withdrawal. Obamas advisors are already whispering that withdrawal will take years. Sen. Obama himself has already retreated on gun control, campaign finance, supporting telecommunications firms immunity from prosecution for assisting the government in eavesdropping on terrorism suspects and even abortion!
Q.E.D. Conservatives will be annihilated by a McCain victory and liberals will be enraged by an Obama win. The only rational solution is for red conservatives to vote for the Democrat and blue liberals for the Republican. Conservative columnist Bruce Bartley has already collected a short list of conservatives who are for Obama. Perhaps it is the beginning of a trend. Or perhaps it is another political science law at work, first set by the Marquis de Condorcetfor which he was guillotined by the Paris mob--that elections based upon opportunistic stands on individual issues rather than coherent philosophies are only incidentally related to voting rationality. Maybe we can get it right the next time.
A more in-depth look at a familiar theme: Obama might be dangerous, but a McCain win would destroy conservatism in the Republican Party.
From the ACU no less.
I 2nd that. Baloney.
“Democrats already have the most effective House of Representatives majority in years”
“Effective” may be a poor choice of words. Congress has a historically all-time low approval rating of 9%.
To the losers belong the spoil.
I also believe McCain will destroy what little is left of the conservatives in the GOP.
We knew way back in 2000 that “compassionate conservatism” was poison. Yet we ignored it to stay true to the “bigger issues” of the day and now look where we are... We won some important battles but at the end of the day it looks like we lost the wider war.
The sum won’t win 9 senate seats.
Red=communists, socialists, labourites and democrats
What if they gave an election and no one came?
“With McCain, it’s much more than 50-50 that we get a conservative judge.”
I don’t think so...
I respectfully disagree. McCain is a disaster for conservatism in almost every way. And that is very bad for America in the long term.
He's not quite as much a short term disaster for America as Obama. And he'll probably be better on Supreme Court appointees-we can expect Sandra O'Conner and Kennedy-like appointments from him. Both second rate, weak-kneed justices but sometimes they got it right. Bot would be better than the left-wing ideologues we will get from Obama who never get it right. So on that one count, McCain would be better long-term for America and conservatives.
The real problem is that the next 4-8 years are going to be really rough in America no matter how the presidential election turns out. We will have a socialist congress and a liberal president, either way. Both McCain and Obama, with a socialist congress, will tank the economy and we should look forward to something like the Jimmy Carter economy, when we had a similar situation.
But with McCain as president, the public will blame Republicans for the problem, when the real problem is socialism. That gives us another eight years of socialism after that. Not sure the country can recover from 16 years of socialist governance. Socialism has a way of locking itself in institutionally so that it is very difficult to dislodge. Kind of like cancer.
The balance is whether the long term damage resulting from almost complete destruction of conservatism is less harmful to America (minus the difference in the Supreme Court) than the short term damage of an Obama-lead jimmy carter economy coupled with proper assessment of the blame by the public in the next election.
Frankly, I think the balance is very close. I lean very slightly to the McCain is a little tiny bit less harmful position. But it is without doubt the worst choice America has had in my lifetime.
A failed ideology doesn’t get to claim a primary color in perpetuity. Red is a color of action and boldness. Blue is passivity and weakness. Libs are blue.
I don’t agree with McCain on some issues but before anything else we are voting for America.
There will not be a next time after Marxist Obama.
The Third Party folks, especially the Chuck Baldwin Anti War, Truthers are in a ritual posting mode against McCain.
Though I want a secure border, against amnesty and stop the handouts to the illesals.
The Third Party folks especially Chuck Baldwin who is using the border issue to latch on to his bigger agenda which is against the war, the Michael Moore minde set re 9/11 and even Far Left Janeane Garofalo has used Chuck Baldwin’s writings against the war and Truther 9/11 views
on her on line forum.
The Third Party folks are being reved up by Chuck Baldwin
re the border and illegals to sell them further into his
far left agenda.
There are many comments on line by Baldwin that sound right out of the Michael Moore, George Soros, play book.
The whole “blue” and “red” thing is a screw up in American politics.
Everywhere else in the world Red is the color of the left (Red China, Russia, Britain’s Labour Party, etc) and Blue is the color of conservatism.
Only is America is it Bass Ackwards...
> Effective may be a poor choice of words. Congress has a historically all-time low approval rating of 9%. <
Exactly. The author “lost” me there...Congress couldn;t even IMPEACH W. 35 times in a row. How’s that for effective?
Blue Boy was one of my favorite Dragnet episodes.
My brother-in-law, the idiot who voted for Perot, warned me not to vote for either party. “We need to teach them a lesson.” I thanked him for eight years of Clinton. He ‘sat down and shut up’.
The U.S. Senate alone has a fairly impressive list of room temperature IQs and fools-- Patricia Bin Murray still tops the list. But Barbara Boxer, Bob Casey Jr., Claire McCaskell and the new freshman from Minnesota (what's her name?) are giving her pretty stiff competition.
Without a genuine conservative candidate running in the next election, the only choise is to vote for the one who is the least liberal.
Prior to 2000, there was no pattern to who got which color on the state maps. If anything, Republicans were blue, more often than not. It looked weird when we got the “red” color.
The commies don't want to be tarred with their natural color. The media all goes out and marches lockstep to bring it about, even Fox. They're a sham too.
“It will be a disaster for their philosophy and their party over the long run.”
Baloney. What will losing do? What if Obama causes a liberal realignment in America? McCain will veto spending left and right and hold the line on conservative issues because he knows who brought him and he will have ample evidence from the new media and liberal attacks on him.
“From the ACU no less.”
Dang! Do they even pay attention to their own ratings system? I have no use for this once revered lobby anymore.
It is a fluke Red came to be associated with the GOP and blue the rats. The rest of world left-of center parties are red.
Personally I think leftists should use ugly brownish olive green.
Yet, most of the Dems running for re-election will probably be re-elected, and most of those losing their seats will be Pubbies.”
yes, Tom - a huge concern. Ironically, all those seats won by Dems in these last three special elections resulted from the dem candidates running on a “conservative agenda”, therefore wresting those seats from their repub opponents. The message couldn’t be clearer.