We have two competing "true believer" theories about the 2010 midterm elections.
First, the Democratic theory, as articulated by President Obama and demonstrated by Speaker Pelosi. There was no repudiation of liberal policies, just the natural result of a terrible economy and an inability to explain their successes, particularly the benefits of the health care legislation. Before the 2012 elections the economy will improve, so what is important is to protect the landmark health care changes which will eventually be appreciated.
Second, the (Tea Party) Republican theory, as articulated by John Boehner and Paul Ryan, that the public wants a dramatic return to smaller government, balanced budgets, and belief in American exceptionalism. It is not about communication or significantly about anger from having seen how sausage is made in Washington. It is about policy.
Amid the cacophony, some good analysis will be presented. For three, I would suggest this Weekly Standard article which demonstrates that voter behavior correlated quite closely with attitudes on Obamacare (not just jobs), this American Thinker article which chronicles the demise of support for Paul Krugman's "deficits are good; huge deficits are better" mantra, and even Maureen Dowd channeling her conservative brother. People get the policy angle, and there are plenty of substantive spokespeople.
But, what if the economy does improve and and in 2012 people are not so worried about 10% unemployment and 5 pending million foreclosures? In the interim, it is important on the substance that Republicans really do have policies that drive the economy forward - clarity on a tax structure that encourages investment and hiring; a committed plan to get close to balancing the budget in a few years; courage to put Social Security on a sustainable path; an energy policy which fosters global competitiveness; and, yes, containment of health care costs. The Debt Reduction Commission offers a framework which should dominate discussion for the next couple of years.
The stakes are not just who will win the next election - Pelosi seems dedicated to doing all that she can to help the Republicans on that. The task is to build a set of private sector economic policies to get us out of the ditch; policies which will be clearly more effective than the failed Obama/Reid/Pelosi public sector policies. Lets hope.
This week's hilarious video, courtesy of reader Themis Michos, conveys a German leader's response to the midterm elections.
And a thank you for those who have purchased my nuclear terrorism thriller, The Target. Please tell a friend and write a review on Amazon.
bill bowen - 11/12/10