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Thursday, August 13, 2009

It's The Credibility, Stupid

The political world looked bleak on April 29, 2009, just after Arlen Specter had announced that he was switching to the Democratic Party. The Democrats, understandably crowing, seemed to be unstoppable. The Democratic agenda to control the most minute aspects of our lives through health care restructuring, cap-and-trade, and other forms of taxation and social engineering, seemed well on its way to fruition.

But I predicted at the time, to some derision and almost complete disbelief, that it would not last:

What history shows us is that a liberal, blame-America-first Democratic President, urged on by a liberal, blame-America-first Democratic Congress, is a prescription for political self-destruction. Leave Democrats to their own devices, and they will screw themselves politically, just when they are at the height of power....

So I'm not depressed about the long-term future of the country, although the next few years will be tough politically. The Democrats will screw up big time, as they did during the Carter years, and the damage they cause will be generational. But the clean-up is worth looking forward to, even if the mess is not.
I was prepared to hunker down for several years before witnessing the Democrats self-destruct. I assumed that the Democratic agenda would sail through Congress and that the disastrous effects of that agenda would pave the way for a political revival.

I seriously "misunderestimated" (note to people who do not understand use of punctuation, this is not a literal term) the capacity of Democrats to self-destruct.

The stimulus package was the beginning of the end, although at the time it appeared to be the end of the beginning. Rather than laying the foundation for the creation of an all-knowing state, the stimulus package revealed the Democratic leadership (and three Republicans) to be know-nothings.

The weekend after the stimulus package passed Congress was the weekend the Obama administration began to fail. Having created hysteria sufficient to cause Congress to pass a trillion-dollar, thousand-page bill without reading or understanding its contents because to delay even a moment further could lead to catastrophic consequences, Obama took the weekend off. And Monday.

So in June and July, when Obama cried that we must pass health care restructuring by the August recess or face catastrophe, the words were recognized by everyone to be just words. A President whose statements are recognized, by friend and foe alike, to be "just words" is a failed President.

The Democratic agenda is failing too because the 2008 election was not about the Democratic agenda. The election was about George Bush and Barack Obama. The failures of the former, and enchantment with the latter. Had Barack Obama run on the current Democratic agenda, John McCain and Sarah Palin would have walked away with the election notwithstanding the October 2008 credit crisis.

The Democrats are not done for, by a long shot. Teaming up with big corporate interest groups (oh, the irony) may get some truncated form of government-based health care restructuring through Congress, but not the types of free market changes that most Americans want. The Democrats haven't figured out what is becoming more and more obvious with each passing day: Most Americans do not want their lives controlled by government. If the stimulus fiasco was the beginning of the end, the recent attacks by Democratic leaders and support groups on health care protesters may just be the end of Democratic hegemony.

While the Democrats are not done for, they are done. It's not just sinking poll numbers for Obama, it's sinking credibility for the Democratic leadership team and agenda.

Credibility once lost, is almost impossible to regain. George Bush's credibility never recovered from the failure to find WMD in Iraq, notwithstanding all the explanations (e.g., all the intelligence agencies got it wrong, etc.). The Democratic agenda never will recover from the stimulus fiasco, Obama's long weekend in February, and the Democratic leadership reaction to health care protests.

It's the credibility stupid. And you've lost it.

Related Posts:
Health Care Ghimmitude
Our Leaders Versus the Un-Americans
Relax, The Dems Will Screw Up
Welcome To The Real World, Professor Obama

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  1. I agree, I thought the Democrats and Obama Administration would take much longer to box themselves in the corner. I thought the wisest move would be to govern from the center despite their super majorities in the House and Senate as the polling clearly showed a country still right of center on the issues. It was truly foolish to ignore that evidence and govern as though the country had suddenly become left of center, let alone far left.

    I know people who believed hook line and sinker Obama was a moderate pragmatist. One gentlemen completely believed he would be getting an insurance plan exactly like Congress, gratis. The evidence was there for any who chose to really open their eyes and see, Obama was as far left as you could find. I will admit though, even I was a bit shocked by the pillaging that took place in the stimulus legislation.

    It is nowhere close to being over. I believe there will be reform because the health care industry has made deals as you noted the ironic deal with corporate interests. I think the insurance companies must have agreed to be the whipping post because they certainly have remained silent as the White House and Democrats attempt to paint them the villains in all this. I can't imagine how they will attempt to turn this around, perhaps they won't and pass it anyway. 2010 will be a bloodbath if anything like HR3200 becomes law of the land.

  2. While I am perfectly in accord with your overall thesis, I disagree that the Stimulus bill was an error.

    Here's why:

    Stimulus spending is back-loaded--that is, much of the money will be spent in (calendar) 4Q09, 1Q10, and 2Q10.

    That timing putatively ensures employment increases during those (and succeeding) quarters, running up to the 11/2010 elections.

    IOW, the idea was to increase employment for election purposes.

    Yes, they are way over-stepping on ObamaCare, the Budget, Cap-n-Tax (and likely on immigration, too.)

    But the fat lady sings in 11/2010.

  3. Perhaps. But, the real pity is the complete collapse of Republican ideas and leadership. So there’s nothing substantive there to turn to.

    The Republicans failed miserably. The Democrats are failing frighteningly. And all we have is a screaming match between the right and left wings in the media.

  4. @Dad29 - Point well taken. But it will not make a difference on the stimulus because any jobs created will be miniscule compared to the economy at large. Related, the health care restructuring is not scheduled to be implemented until 2013, the year after the next presidential election.

  5. We agree that 'stimulus' jobs will be almost irrelevant v/economy at large. Actually, the question is whether the employment picture will improve in time for a favorable (D) breeze by 11/2010.

    It WILL be a pucker-factor at best. Employment, in general, is absolutely horrible; and a jobs-less recovery will be deadly for the (D)s. I'm going short on (D) stocks.

    Nice observation on ObamaCare!

  6. Just replace the words Liberal with Conservative and Democrat with Republican,and this story is right on! What was the Republican government but big business?

  7. "The clean-up is worth looking forward to"

    I'm sure you must be talking about the incredible mile-deep manure the Republicans have tossed our country, as well the entire world into. And not just for the last eight years but beginning with Reagan who turned our country into a debtor's nation, from which we will never emerge.

  8. One the timing of the stimulus...while the rollout of stimulus dollars may be time delayed, the benefits will be outweighed by the inflation that will be required to stabilize the currency we are printing like junk mail now.

    On the comment about Reagan...one needs to do some research, most all economist agree that Reagan's economic policies were good for the country, even dems agree during an election cycle.

  9. I disagree about the stimulus spending - that is I believe that the money has been used on the wrong things - the pork the pet projects. It is the irresponsible way in which the "stimulus" bill was crafted that is the issue. This is the same in my own country. The "stimulus" has been spent in the wrong way.

    If either the Australian government or the USA government was genuine in trying to turn around a flagging ecnonomy then they should have been looking at the economic indicators. In other words looking at where the economy was tanking. The fact the tanking was in the USA because of the bursting of the housing and real estate bubble. This was affecting Australia because there were corporate investors in the USA housing and commercial property markets. However, it is more complex than what I have just written.

    What was needed was incentive for business to hire more people and what we got was money being given to taxpayers, (including in my country overseas backpackers who had returned home) a tax benefit. This was not the correct way to correct the ailing economy. Neither was the pork barrel projects in both countries.

    On the other hand, I do think that it was correct to spend on such things as rail infrastructure. After seeing first hand the state of some of the railway stations in the USA I do think that paying people to fix up a decaying station such as the one at Springfield Massachusetts would be money well spent. It would put money in the pockets of consumers for work that has been completed, as well as in the hands of suppliers for the materials needed to pull down and rebuild that station (it is just an example of the kind of work that could be carried out).

    The thing about this kind of spending though, it is hard to see the short term benefit because it is a benefit that is hard to measure. This is I think one reason why people criticize Roosevelt for his spending on infrasctructure projects where the benefits were hidden. Yet, were long term benefits from a lot of the projects that included the building of dams etc.

    However, getting back to the Springfield station - what I saw was a station that had a waiting room that was too small for the number of people that use the stop as a half-way point. We had to use it because we had to change trains from Hartford to the train for Albany. The connection was late due to an obstruction of some sort from a freight train. There was nowhere to sit on the platform. The wood on the platform roof was decaying and there was nothing suitable to eat and drink at the station itself.

    Train travel is one way to reduce other forms of fuel consumption, yet the way in which the network has been allowed to run down means that fewer people are choosing that mode of transport.

  10. @wolfpost

    would you be referring to the mess that was started by the Carter Administration, made worse by the Clinton Administration, urged on by lobbyist B H Obama who lobbied for changes that allowed the AIG to offer the junk bonds in the first place? Or are you referring to the Democrat controlled Congress who defeated attempts to bring Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac under control due to the excesses of Countrywide?

    The thing is, the Democrats had control of Congress since 2006 and that means that it has been a Democrat budget for the past 3 years. This means of course that if the Democrats want to talk about a mess they need to look at why they refused to allow reforms to that legislation that was allowing people who could not afford to purchase property to get a loan without a deposit. That is a Democrat mess.

  11. Still, are you not at least a little awed by the precipitousness and amplitude of his fall. Graphed, it would look like a marble rolling off a table. It's barely a half-year since they took the oath (hey - are we sure that Roberts flub was an accident?) and CAMILLE PAGLIA!!! is busily doing a search-and replace on some of her old Bushitler pieces.