Tuesday, November 04, 2008

2 bonus points on the '08 election

I've been wondering now for several months: with all of the macro indicators pointing towards Obama and the Democrats, why does Obama support such liberal economic policies? I think the election was won by Obama (or whoever was to be the Democrats' candidate) before it even started. Running against Bush, a bad economy, and a war is a dream scenario, one where any candidate could have channeled Bill Clinton by making a balanced budget a priority.

Instead, Obama's seeks to expand spending by $4.3 TRILLION, and the rest of his economic policies are also an abrupt departure from centrist policies, such as raising the cap on social security taxes, which hasn't changed in decades. (Not to mention the redistributionist tax policies.)

Obama has good lines in his election ads - "most people will pay lower taxes," but every policy analysis that i've read says otherwise.

I disagree with the Obama policies, but my point here isn't whether his policies are good or bad - I'm asking why with such a favorable election setting did Obama adopt such radical (and bad) economic policies?

Along the same lines, I'm seeing that Obama is projected to win 52-46, which is a nice, solid, no-doubt win, and notable for the margin of victory when compared to the last two elections (and really the last 3 out of 4 have been very close.)

However, I'm stunned that the margin isn't much greater. (And maybe it will be tomorrow.) With the dismal opinion polls of Bush and the Republicans, an economic crisis, several thousand Americans killed in foreign wars, and terrible, unpopular policies in place anywhere you look (from No Child Left Behind to stem cell research), why isn't the margin of victory likely to be larger?

The answer, I believe, is that the Democrats still represent dismal, fringe policies driven by dismal, fringe people.

In my lifetime, the Democrats did best when governing from the center, as embodied by Bill Clinton's adoption of centrist policies such as NAFTA, a balanced budget, and welfare reform. (This agenda was really set by Newt Gingrich and the Republican Congress, but credit Clinton for abandoning left-ish roots to jump on a good, centrist thing.)

Today, we've got Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid shelving centrist opportunities like the Columbia free trade pact, and pursuing a very liberal agenda.

Perhaps the Democrats will take the relatively small margin of victory for what it is and make the changes necessary to govern from the center, but I suspect they won't. Instead, I expect to hear later this week what a mandate for Democratic policies was delivered on Election day, and then I expect to see exactly what happened between 1992 and 1994 - the Democrats focused on very liberal policy priorities with little chance of success (like the Hilary Clinton-led heath care plan, and endorsing gays in the military). Between these new policies, and the efforts to overturn Reagan-era decisions and reward key constituents, the Democrats quickly fell out of touch, and were absolutely murdered in the 1994 mid-term elections.

All of the signs point to a repeat, with obviously liberal policies lined up that will naturally offend a good portion of the population. Just like Clinton's campaign promise that his first official act would be to permit gays to serve openly in the military, Obama is promising to enable partial birth abortions. (Or something like that - I really don't pay much attention to reproductive rights. Nevertheless, I understand that such a change would be a very liberal one.)

Following the abortion change, we'll be seeing the Employee Free Choice Act, a new law to overturn decades of Union/management practices to facilitate greater union representation.

Following this script, you'll see a big gain for the Republicans in the 2010 elections, unless Obama tunes out his fringe constituents and very liberal nature and rushes towards the center.

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With my new friends on the Great Wall of China

With my new friends on the Great Wall of China
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Uncommon Man's Creed

"I do not choose to be a common man. It is my right to be uncommon -- if I can. I seek opportunity -- not security. I do not wish to be a kept citizen, humbled and dulled by having the state look after me. I wish to take the calculated risk; to dream and to build, to fail and to succeed. I refuse to barter incentive for a dole, I prefer the challenges of life to the guaranteed existence; the thrill of fulfillment to the stale calm of utopia. I will not trade freedom for beneficence, nor my dignity for a handout. I will never cower before any master, nor bend to any threat. It is my heritage to stand erect, proud, and unafraid, to think and act for myself, to enjoy the benefit of my creations, and to face the world boldly and say, "this I have done." All this is what it means to be an American." -- Anonymous