Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

It’s Not Just the Jackson Disco Revival that’s Reminding You of the late 70s

Andrew Busch writes a interesting piece in which he argues that the potential for electoral mischief for President Obama may be coming at him in more than one direction. The first and most obvious source of re-election woe is, of course, the still faltering economy. But, as Busch argues, "the economy will likely recover at least a bit by 2012, even if not by the midterm elections in 2010. The picture is less likely to be unambiguously bad than it is to be mixed." And, in any event, the "blame Bush" phenomenon appears to have a long "half-life" while getting voters to understand the complexity of economic cause and effect and vote accordingly is notoriously and frustratingly difficult. There’s no guarantee that the blame for any future difficulties will fall squarely on the shoulders of Obama. I would add that this is particularly true given the current state of GOP "leadership" on the issue.

But looking back to the Carter years, Busch argues we may see parallels in the coming years:

"It should not be forgotten that it was not the economy alone that made Jimmy Carter a one-term president. Rather, it was the deteriorating economy in combination with a series of foreign mishaps and crises that made the president look weak, naïve, and vacillating."
Busch seems to think that it will be much more difficult for Obama to blame Bush if things turn sour for him on the international stage--and the potential for biting into some lip-pursing pickles is all around Obama at the moment. Read the whole thing for a more thorough discussion of where these pickles might sour according to Busch’s thinking.   

Discussions - 11 Comments

On what insight does one think the economy will likely turn around? Its not loosing or mishandling the wars that will anger people as much as still being in them after promising to get out in the election cycle.

The idea that the economy will "turn around" by 2012 is very much faith-based. The Democrats can be expected to increase the burdens of the private sector; they are not likely to alleviate them. How much will the lagging impact of the first "stimulus bill" avail against 13% unemployment? I don't see how Obama isn't going to go into 2012 without double-digit unemployment numbers.

If present trends continue, and all evidence suggests they will, and if Obama continues with his unbalanced lurch to the left, and again, all evidence suggests he will, we're looking at an economic disaster, and we're looking at a one-term President.

Obama is in serious trouble, and the thing is, he's surrounded by such a pack of lefties and groupies, that none of them is likely to see it, or understand it.

So it comes to this: the strategy of the Right is to hope that Obama fails, and the nation suffers. Great plan.


But then again, this strategy was announced by Rush Limbaugh within a month or so of the inaugural. I'm afraid this has been the only real game plan of the Republicans all along - hope for the other team's failure, and that the electorate will forget the failures of our team. A real winner.


I'm not saying that the Dems have been any better - that's effectively how they one the last election. It's just pretty sad, all around.

It's not "hoping," for there's nothing faith-based about it. Since it's entirely empirical, it might be better to describe it as COUNTING on him to screw-up. And screw-up BIG TIME, as Cheney might add.

Nor do I understand the looking down the nose at a strategy that worked for Reagan. How did Reagan sum up his debate with Carter? He asked America: "Are you better off now than you were four years ago?" That question was a crushing finale and ended up bringing Reagan 44 states. Why not plan on using the same method against Obama, who can be counted on to damage America even more than Carter.

Elections aren't won on C-SPAN, and the American electorate doesn't spend time leafing through position papers from the Heritage Foundation. You play the cards that you were dealt. And right now, and for the foreseeable future, Obama is playing a hard left hand, which can be counted on to cause absolute havoc.

Obama's reelection will, as Dan say, turn on the voters' answers to the question about being better off than they were four years ago. If the economy is worse--and the Republicans can tie the mess to O's policies, he might well lose. The same is true, of course, if he seems dangerously weak in foreign policy. Neither of these outcomes can be predicted. of course. And neither, as RT says, should be wished for.

All of this is obvious common sense. What's not as obvious is what's also true; this president will be given the benefit of the doubt more than Carter or Bush (when he barely won in 2004).

It also seems quite unlikely that the Republicans will put up a more attractive leader and better campaigner than the incumbent (as they did with Reagan--and the Dems did w Clinton in 1992). Bush the younger got reelected, in large part, because Kerry was a fairly bizarre stiff; Gephardt, for example, could have taken him.

Two other reasons Dubya won,

1. A great GOTV operation.

2. Demographics were a little more favorable to the GOP in 2004 that 2008.

It is possible that the GOP will have a better GOTV operation than the Dems in 2012, but given Obama's skill at POLITICAL organizing, thats not the way to bet. The GOP will have to make inroads into groups that have leaned Dem in the last election (the young, nonwhites)and/or have a huge turnout from its older, whiter, constituency groups to win if Obama is not already perceived by the majority to be a failure. If Obama is seen as a failure then the GOP has a decent chance even if it is mired in mediocrity and confusion. Of course that means the next three years will pretty much stink for the rest of us, since things will have be or stay pretty ugly for the public to have that view of Obama.

The current crisis of AIG stock after its 20-1 reverse split is probably the most predictable and profitable short play going now...

I am quite certain that the question of the predictablity of Katrina, AIG and 9-11 is quite central...in fact predictability is central.

I enjoy reading what Dr. Busch has to say...but instead of statements to this effect:"Third—a factor not unrelated to the other two—the chain of causation from cause to effect in economic policy is not always easy for voters to untangle." It would be nice of him to enter the fray and untangle it.

At issue is the chain of causation in ocean currents and meterology, that help breed hurricanes that are either A: exceptional (global warming induced)or B: simply par for course (thus those who didn't predict that in the long run New Orleans can't exist are just foolish.)

In some sense the discussion between Lawler and Arnhart has to be full of academic irony as it would seem to me that a proper read of the times is both darwinian and heiddegerian(in so far as we are thinking of a crude sort of futurism/historicism in regards causation)...I digress. Those who fail to account for future risk die, or they buy into a large insurance company that dies.

Not having lived in the 1970's I suppose I might as well be reminded of the 19th Century: at issue is the chain of causation, the broad moral arc of historicism, futurism, and everything implied in recollection of the 1970's. It may well be that neither the GOP nor the democratic party lacks leadership, in any way that is not tied up with the difficulties inherent in putting together a broader macroeconomic visionary world view.

2008-2XXX AIG failed and subsequently there was a crisis of outlook, vision and forward guidance, Libertarian perma bears like Brutus drove the market down to the march lows with some aid from fickle bull-bear pushme-pullyous, but because the prema-bears have an ideological dispensation for absolute zero they can only be the friends of Goldilocks when the poridge is hot.

So goldilocks is a bear when the poridge is hot and a bull when the poridge is cold, because she likes her poridge just right, but the temptation of leadership when one cannot find a factual basis for an opinion is to fall back on ideology.

The hardest thing to be is goldilocks, but Obama in many ways is goldilocks. So the opposition to Obama is ideologically bearish, which in many ways reflects the fact that this same oposition can honestly say that it was not pro-bush.

Strange stuff, but I think Busch is right in his timming...the technical guys are talking a head and shoulders pattern and the california theses sound oversold...but the market is still slightly above the level where I missed the run up...so I have no ideas other than shorting AIG.

Actually, I want a Republican ticket that has Cramer(a quite likeable democrat, for president) paired with Kudlow(for the VP...because Cramer is just plain smarter, but the pair are quite good together)

Maybe a T Boone Pickens Donald Trump match up.

While many would find these names unserious, I have no prejudice in favor of counting being governor of Alaska as more relevant.

The pot needs stired, and those who can provide guidance need to emerge. If the global economy energy/commodity trade thesis makes a run in conjunction with Reagan legacy questions put forward Hayward...in some way Deenen reminds me of what an academic Carter might have sounded like...in this sense also if Deenen is potentially conservative then what hapens to the notion of Carter(so much for untangling the chain of causation in history?)...

Put foward a Hayward/ Deenen ticket, a Cramer/Kudlow ticket or a Trump/Pickens ticket...

At least Busch times the pending Obama "katrina short" to an emmerging technical head and shoulders pattern...but this is why Deenen is interesting in his discussion of chain of causation. To be fair Busch gives some "fundamental" macro-foreign policy outlook...but it is an abstract debate just how abstract/fundamental the outlook is.

Kate, Obama is going to be so bad we won't need a Reagan. When Reagan ran, he had the entire backdrop of the '70s against him. And I say against him because it had been quite some time since the American electorate had known and experienced prosperity. What he was selling hadn't any precedent, except to a limited extent in the Kennedy tenure, {"a rising tide lifts all boats"}. That's why GHW Bush branded what Reagan was selling as "Voodoo economics."

Now flash forward, since 1983, Americans have experienced an unprecendented prosperity. Which Obama, through his policies, is bringing to a sharp cessation. How do you think that electorate is likely to react to Obama, especially when they can easily recall the prosperity of the Bush and Clinton tenures?

Do you think they're likely to be more or less patient with Obama? Now add in the fact that America's patience has dwindled to that of a nanosecond.

Obama on his own, without any help from the GOP, is going to change the face of American politics. And not for the better.

Kate, his "date nights" with his creepy wife, the help he receives from a media that has prostituted itself, none of that is going to shield him from the attentions of Nemesis.

He's in trouble, and the Democrats along with him. And some of them, --------- just some of them yet, ------------- are beginning to sense it.

the strategy of the Right is to hope that Obama fails, and the nation suffers.

If Obama succeeds, the nation suffers. That's what the track record of left-wing policy tells us. If you want America to succeed you'e better hope that Obama fails in his attempt to transform it into Chicago writ large.

Dan, I shifted my comment to another thread, both because it was related, and mostly to avoid the spam.

As I more direct response, yes, I think the American people, or at least those influenced by American media, will forgive Obama just about anything and that for a very long time. Bill Clinton was not nearly such a phenomenon, and he got by pretty well, creepy wife and all.

Dan, Obama is no Carter and we don't have a Reagan. Without a credible alternative to Obama, the GOP has nothing to offer, but words and its words are not taken seriously. It is ugly to think that we have to hope that Obama fails, and he will have to fail big, because he has a lot of good will behind him, now. At least he does in America and in Europe; I am not so sure about the rest of the world.

I think we don't know anything about 2012. Any darn thing could happen in the meantime, domestic or international, and we will have a whole new game. Consider 9/11, Katrina, AIG imploding, all unforeseeable and highly influential. The world is an uncertain place, and while Obama's version of realpolitik seems pretty unrealistic to me, he could suddenly get sensible and look pretty good in 2012. Or not, which, yes, does seem more likely.

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