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Election 2010: Quick Thoughts

donsutherland1

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Having seen all the polling, I have little disagreement that a big political change is coming to the Congress. As many have ventured specific guesses about which party will win what number of seats, I'll throw in a guess, as well.

House: Republicans: 235; Democrats: 200
Senate: Republicans: 49; Democrats: 51

The more interesting questions concern (1) whether the change in House leadership will be strenghtened in the next election (with Republicans possibly gaining control of the Senate) or pared back and (2) whether the election will have much impact on the 2010 Presidential election.

The outcome of the first question will depend, in part, on various factors, including:

1. The economy's trajectory from 2011 to the 2012 elections. The economy remains the nation's foremost issue. The still recent financial crisis and severe economic recession amounted to the most significant and profound (lasting impact) event for the nation in at least several decades.

2. How the Republicans use their majority. Simple obstructionism won't be sufficient. Strategic obstructionism on policy issues that diverge from the broader national interest (not the same thing as ideology) and strategic cooperation with the White House on issues that enhance broader national interest will be important. Ironically, such an approach could enhance President Obama's re-election prospects, as all parties would receive credit for partnering on issues that benefit the country. The final mix of pragmatists and ideologues will shape the possibilities of such an approach.

3. Avoiding the temptation to overreach. Although recent victorious parties have preached a willingness to cooperate, the temptation to overreach has often proved too alluring to pass up. Overreach that attempts to push policies away from what the general public can support is a recipe for political reversal in democratic societies. In the long-run, sustainable policies require public support.

4. Internal cohesion. Once parties move from opposition to governance, the challenges they face are transformed. Such challenges can create internal fissures.

The solution to the second question depends, in part, how President Obama will govern. If he seeks cooperation on areas of benefit to the public and limits confrontation to areas that do not enhance the public interest, his prospects for re-election will be maintained or even strengthened. Indeed, he faces a situation that confronted President Truman (1946) and President Clinton (1994). In both those cases, the President was re-elected.

In the euphoria of the sweeping Republican landslide, Senator William Fulbright even urged President Truman to appoint a Republican Secretary of State, to resign, and leave the Presidency to that person. By the 1948 election, the Republican congress had maintained a policy of general opposition to President Truman for the most part. Furthermore, the economy was heading back toward recession on the waning days of the 1948 campaign. In a brilliant tactical move, Harry Truman called the Congress back into session in July 1948 and presented it with a package of proposals. None of those proposals were adopted. The President then pointed to the exercise as proof of the existence of a "Do Nothing Congress" and argued that its obstructionism was hurting the nation. In the resulting election, President Truman prevailed, and the Republicans who had gained 12 Senate seats and 55 House seats in 1946, lost 9 Senate seats and 75 House seats.

More recently, after a bumpy start punctuated by two government shutdowns, the Clinton Administration and Republican Congress found a way to cooperate on select issues e.g., welfare reform. Ahead of the 1996 election, the economy was growing strongly. Voters rewarded President Clinton with re-election. Credit was also shared with the Republicans. As a result, Republicans who had gained 8 Senate seats and 54 House seats in 1994, held their ground (gaining 2 more Senate seats and losing only 2 House seats).

Early next year could present the first serious test of the new relationship between the Obama Administration and an all but likely Republican-led House. With the debt ceiling issue coming up, there will be opportunity for the sides to tie the increase to a credible fiscal consolidation plan, even if the plan is weighted to have its greatest impact in the future (so as to avoid undermining the modest economic growth now underway). At the same time, the temptation for muscle-flexing, either for the Administration to try to appear strong following what would be a substantial electoral setback or for the new Republican majority in the House to demonstrate that it means business (possibly led by more ideological Tea Partiers) could lead to confrontation, possibly even a government shutdown. With economic growth weaker than it was during the Clinton-era shutdowns, such a development might well provide a fresh shock to the economy that puts the current modest economic growth at risk. Without meaningful economic growth by the 2012 election (sufficient to begin materially reducing the unemployment rate), voters could bring about a big 1948-style reversal.

In the end, the only conclusions that can be drawn is that a Republican majority in the House (and perhaps even the Senate if some of the more aggressive predictions are accurate) is not assured to be long-lived. Among other things, governance outcomes and economic growth will prove critically important. At the same time, the 2010 electoral outcome does not assure a change in leadership at the White House.
 
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soccerboy22

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Without question it will be interesting to see how President Obama handles the Republican-led House. I think that obviously President Obama will have to shift right when it comes to policy, but not as right as some people will like to see with the Senate (most likely) still remaining in a very small Democrat majority. If the Senate still does remain a Democratic majority, I think policy wise, The President will move right a little, but also the House may have to move a little left in order to get things passed.

You raise a good point about how it is different from going from minority to majority and becoming the ruling party. And with this shift you will begin to see a split, similar to with the Democrats, where you will have moderate Republicans not always willing to vote the party line. Especially, in the House it is fairly cut throat since you do not have a lot of time between actually being elected and then having to go out and campaign again. House members know this and so it will be interesting to see when a Moderate Republican will toe the Moderate line and how the GOP and Speaker of the House will respond. I imagine that it would depend on the bill and things like that.

I have more thoughts, but alas I have like 15 events to go today as a PO major so we can study the elections and stuff like that. Fun fun.
 

disneydude

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donsutherland1

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Their entire strategy as evidenced by Mitch McConnell is simply to continue to be the "Party of No'.

Unless the GOP can be sure that the majority of policies it would be opposing run counter to the public interest, that would be a highly risky strategy. Aside from not helping the nation address its major problems/pursue its major opportunities, such a strategy would make a 1948-style reversal quite plausible in 2012.

The Republicans have no ideas.

Different ideas is not the same thing as no ideas. Of course, ideas can range from bad ideas to good ones.
 

disneydude

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Unless the GOP can be sure that the majority of policies it would be opposing run counter to the public interest, that would be a highly risky strategy. Aside from not helping the nation address its major problems/pursue its major opportunities, such a strategy would make a 1948-style reversal quite plausible in 2012.



Different ideas is not the same thing as no ideas. Of course, ideas can range from bad ideas to good ones.

For the sake of our Country....I hope that you are correct. However, I have my doubts. I don't think that the Republican party is really interested in solving this country's problems as much as they are interested in getting the whitehouse in 2012. I truly believe that the GOP's sole focus right now is to get the whitehouse and an improving economy will pretty much eliminate any hope that they have for that.
Their "Party of No" gamble has paid off for them...and I suspect that they will continue with it for another two years.
 

donsutherland1

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For the sake of our Country....I hope that you are correct.

I make no predictions on how a new Republican majority in the House and strengthened Republican status in the Senate would govern. I only note that a path aimed simply at "saying no" would be hazardous if policies that the public understands would improve its welfare were automatically rejected.

I truly believe that the GOP's sole focus right now is to get the whitehouse and an improving economy will pretty much eliminate any hope that they have for that.

If the economy improves, President Obama will receive a share of the credit from voters unless, in the unlikely occurrence, Republicans can make an effective case that Republican policies, alone, led to the recovery. On the other hand, if the Republican Congress takes a leaf from the 1946 Congress and the economy remains relatively stagnant or worse in 2012, Republicans could face a voter backlash as happened in 1948.

Their "Party of No" gamble has paid off for them...and I suspect that they will continue with it for another two years.

It has, but largely because Republicans were seen as the opposition party. They were not held accountable for governance outcomes. But once a party gains a majority in one or both Houses of Congress, it becomes responsible for governing, as well. An all blame rests with the other party approach no longer is viable. Hence, automatic opposition that coincides with bad outcomes would leave Republicans with a share of the blame given their governance responsibilities. Given voter expectations that a change to the Republicans would improve things (otherwise, voters would not have made the switch in the first place), Republicans would likely bear the brunt of that outcome as they did in 1948.
 

Erod

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I make no predictions on how a new Republican majority in the House and strengthened Republican status in the Senate would govern. I only note that a path aimed simply at "saying no" would be hazardous if policies that the public understands would improve its welfare were automatically rejected.



If the economy improves, President Obama will receive a share of the credit from voters unless, in the unlikely occurrence, Republicans can make an effective case that Republican policies, alone, led to the recovery. On the other hand, if the Republican Congress takes a leaf from the 1946 Congress and the economy remains relatively stagnant or worse in 2012, Republicans could face a voter backlash as happened in 1948.



It has, but largely because Republicans were seen as the opposition party. They were not held accountable for governance outcomes. But once a party gains a majority in one or both Houses of Congress, it becomes responsible for governing, as well. An all blame rests with the other party approach no longer is viable. Hence, automatic opposition that coincides with bad outcomes would leave Republicans with a share of the blame given their governance responsibilities. Given voter expectations that a change to the Republicans would improve things (otherwise, voters would not have made the switch in the first place), Republicans would likely bear the brunt of that outcome as they did in 1948.

Note how Wall Street has crept higher and higher as the inevitably of a GOP victory today grew closer and closer.

The economy will improve with a Republican or split Congress just because Obama's agenda will be squelched. Will he do like Clinton and go along for the ride and try to take credit, or will he dig in and fight it?
 

disneydude

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I expect that the Republicans will continue with their "Party of No" obstructionist tactics and then hope that the electorate simply blames Obama for the failure.
I truly believe that this is the GOP strategy. They are willing to risk losing the house, if they can possibly gain the Senate and the Whitehouse.
 

donsutherland1

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Note how Wall Street has crept higher and higher as the inevitably of a GOP victory today grew closer and closer.

It will be interesting to see how Wall Street closes tomorrow. How Wall Street sees the actual results to what it expected will be interesting. FWIW, in 1946, the Dow closed sharply lower. In 1994, it closed somewhat higher.

FWIW, I am reasonably confident that the economy will be growing at a more robust rate in 2012. Whether the nation is on a stronger fiscal course remains to be seen. Republicans have campaigned on the fiscal issue. There will be pressure on them to deliver if they are to achieve crediblity on that issue.
 

snbl11225

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With the House & the Senate becoming even more conservative, I think the outcome will be even less willingness to find constructive solutions. The tenor has been one of this is what we believe and will settle for nothing less. That yields continuing gridlock.
 

Lord Tammerlain

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Note how Wall Street has crept higher and higher as the inevitably of a GOP victory today grew closer and closer.

The economy will improve with a Republican or split Congress just because Obama's agenda will be squelched. Will he do like Clinton and go along for the ride and try to take credit, or will he dig in and fight it?

Wall street has crept higher because of the probability of qualitative easing occuring
 

Lord Tammerlain

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I dont see the US econonmy improving by 2012, in fact I believe it will enter a second recession. Especially if government stimulus is blocked as it most likely would be by the republicans. Local and state governments are on the ropes financially, the federal government has a huge budget deficit (making actual stimulus difficult to afford). The US does not have the foundation of a good economic recovery ( as none of the reasons for the current problems have been resolved, and others are being created).

2012 will depend on which party can blame the other for the economic malaise. Will the Republican policies be viewed by the public as causing more hardships, or will Democratic policies be viewed as continuing the hardship. It will depend I think on how much policy the Republican congress can either block or get enacted.
 

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REJECTION!!


AFP
ELECTION ALERT: Republicans Take Control of House of Representatives
 

randel

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just finished watching the Boehner victory speech, and he spoke of working 'with the President, so far as he will work with us'...i would hope that both sides would be able to find some common ground, and actually do the work of the people....what i expect will happen will be the republicans going on a witch hunt, and not much being accomplished...the one damper on the republican party tonight, is it looks like they have failed to take out harry reid...
 

obvious Child

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Note how Wall Street has crept higher and higher as the inevitably of a GOP victory today grew closer and closer.

Lord T pointed out another reason. Furthermore, market behavior is not always indicative of the economy. The stock market this year has seen some of the largest rallies in the past 30 years. March was a great month. That was 6 months ago. Do you see the economy doing the same?

The economy will improve with a Republican or split Congress just because Obama's agenda will be squelched.

So really the GOP will be stopping their own proposals?

Healthcare reform was little more then the original Republican idea
Bush Sr and Reagan created cap and trade
The legislation on business deductions came straight out of the Bush Administration
 

PeteEU

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First thought is that the Tea Party is a failure. It screwed over the Republican party and allowed the Dems to keep the Senate.

Second thought is that money aint everything thing.. look at California. The two biggest spenders both lost.

This Republican "victory" seems very hollow in many ways. Sure they have the House, but they need to compromise big time to get anything done, which is something they refuse to do (they have said this many times). This means utter grid lock for 2 years, which pretty much hands the White House to Obama again since he can blame the House and the Republicans for the gridlock.

As for the tea party.. Sure you got Rand Paul and Rubio, and a few house seats, but in reality you cost just as much in the over all power battle. Angle, O'Donnell and possibly Miller in Alaska, all were freaks and the Republicans could easily have won two of the 3, if all not all 3 if it was not for the Tea Party.
 

TOJ

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It will be interesting to see how Wall Street closes tomorrow. How Wall Street sees the actual results to what it expected will be interesting. FWIW, in 1946, the Dow closed sharply lower. In 1994, it closed somewhat higher.

FWIW, I am reasonably confident that the economy will be growing at a more robust rate in 2012. Whether the nation is on a stronger fiscal course remains to be seen. Republicans have campaigned on the fiscal issue. There will be pressure on them to deliver if they are to achieve crediblity on that issue.
Buy the rumor. Sell the fact. I would expect to see stocks hold steady or even go lower for a while.

.
 

Conservative

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First thought is that the Tea Party is a failure. It screwed over the Republican party and allowed the Dems to keep the Senate.

Second thought is that money aint everything thing.. look at California. The two biggest spenders both lost.

This Republican "victory" seems very hollow in many ways. Sure they have the House, but they need to compromise big time to get anything done, which is something they refuse to do (they have said this many times). This means utter grid lock for 2 years, which pretty much hands the White House to Obama again since he can blame the House and the Republicans for the gridlock.

As for the tea party.. Sure you got Rand Paul and Rubio, and a few house seats, but in reality you cost just as much in the over all power battle. Angle, O'Donnell and possibly Miller in Alaska, all were freaks and the Republicans could easily have won two of the 3, if all not all 3 if it was not for the Tea Party.

Now that is interesting spin and pretty funny. a few house seats? LOL, Nancy Pelosi "YOU'RE FIRED!" is hardly a few house seats. What yesterday's election message was, Democat Senators who are on the ballot in 2012 it is your job to implement the will of the people, not the will of a leftwing President. The only compromise will be Democrats compromising with Republicans to keep their seat in 2012. Better check the seats up for re-election in 2012 and when you do you will see states won big by Republicans, more than enough to control the Congress.
 

jdebate

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I think that this is a bad day for intelligent people in America.I'm disapointed for all you good Americans .

It struck me watching Jerry Springer last Night( We get re-runs in Europe) ,when a guy stood up in the Audience and shouted some abuse at one of the contestants ,after which he stated that he was a proud American and Proud Republican. This Guy looked like he just got out of prison.
I wondered if this is the real constituency of the Republican Party. If it is God Help America.
 
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jdebate

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I would agree with you the Republicans are only interested in getting into power, so they can look after their cronies.But it's worth remembering that America is no longer the economic superpower it once was.

China Just developed computer that is faster than anything that is made in America. As the U.S.
A falls behind in the technology race, I wonder why America still thinks it's the best country in the world.

The damage done by the Texans in the White house will take 20 years to put right, if the democrats are still in powere in 20 years time!!
 

jdebate

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REJECTION!!


AFP
ELECTION ALERT: Republicans Take Control of House of Representatives

China Just developed computer that is faster than anything that is made in America. As the U.S.
A falls behind in the technology race, I wonder why America still thinks it's the best country in the world.

The damage done by the Texans in the White house will take 20 years to put right.
 

Conservative

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I would agree with you the Republicans are only interested in getting into power, so they can look after their cronies.But it's worth remembering that America is no longer the economic superpower it once was.

China Just developed computer that is faster than anything that is made in America. As the U.S.
A falls behind in the technology race, I wonder why America still thinks it's the best country in the world.

The damage done by the Texans in the White house will take 20 years to put right, if the democrats are still in powere in 20 years time!!

LOL, what third world socialist country do you live in and tell us all about your country's successes. This ought to be good
 

jdebate

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LOL, what third world socialist country do you live in and tell us all about your country's successes. This ought to be good


I'M in Ireland, do you really think Western Europe is Third World .I notice you didn't address any of my points. Just like the trailer trash on Gerry Springer you come out fighting-typical Republican. God help America.
 
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