Mid-terms: What Goes Around…

3 11 2010

In light of the results from the mid-term elections, I direct your attention to a post I made in May last year.

What goes around…

But, in the same spirit, the Democrats aren’t out for the count. They’re just winded. They’ll be back, or a bunch like them.

This is further guaranteed by a fundamental difference between this pendulum tip compared to the one that thrust Obama into the White House: this is not only an election about values, it’s an election driven by ignorance.

Values differ, and it’s to be expected that some people will favour one set of values over another, and each set will probably have its merits.

But facts are facts, and this lot who have swept into both houses of Congress are weak when it comes to their grasp of the facts. As a result, despite any actually good values they might possess, this bald ignorance and intellectual sluggishness will inevitably result in poor policy, and that will hasten their departure.

Let’s check back at the next election and see how this prediction fares in the light of history.



4 responses

4 11 2010

I’m not sure that your prediction is really correct. Remember that racism runs very deep in the U.S., as do a whole lot of other divisions, which politicians and pundits cannot talk openly about, due to the fear that it will cost them their job. Hence, almost all of political speech in the U.S. is in a certain sense a secret language, which if not decoded, leads one to believe that politicians and voters haven’t grasped the facts. Really, Republican voters did grasp the facts, and so did the Republican party.(And I am saying this as someone who voted for Democrats.) Older, wealthier white people do not like it when the government spends money on poorer people, on minorities, or on people who they do not view as part of their in-group. Needless to say, New Yorkers and the finance/banking sector is not part of their in-group. So, when Republican voters say they want to rein in government spending, keep Obama’s hands off of medicare, and lower the deficit, they are really saying that they want the government to spend less money on poor people, minorities, and anyone else who isn’t part of their in-group, and they want to preserve all of the government programs that benefit their in-group. This is exactly what Republicans have been promising for a few decades, and they have had plenty of success in curbing government spending on minorities, the poor, and on the left coasts, while increasing spending on the military, and on old white people(Medicare Part D, which was passed by a Republican House of Rep., Senate, and signed by Bush.) So no, everyone more or less has their facts straight. Also, Republicans are weak on those facts because climate change legislation would be bad for their donors and their constituents. Most of the U.S. energy industry in located in Redland(Texas, the Great Plains, abd the Gulf States i.e. the deep South.) You can always count on a man to be ignorant when his livelihood depends on that ignorance.

4 11 2010
Tim Dean

I think there’s an element of truth in what you’re saying, Paul, but I’m not quite as cynical as you. I do believe there is a great deal of self-interest disguised as values – democracy rewards such stuff – but I also think there’s a great deal of general ignorance about how the world works and how good government works, particularly in the mid-west and south – the agrarian/frontier states.

There are facts about whether tax cuts self-fund by stimulating the economy, about the benefits of welfare for all citizens, about climate change and simply about the way the world is as described by science. Ignoring those facts – perhaps by choice in the leaders (although Tea Party folk seem never to have taken a science or economics class in their lives) – will lead to policies that do more harm than good, particularly in the long term.

4 11 2010

I agree that there are facts, and that policy makers ignore them to the detriment of citizens. Politicians will pay a price if they support blatantly ineffective and unpopular policies; the Iraq war eventually got the Republicans kicked out of office. However, that example should give one pause; a political party needs to do something that is as manifestly harmful to the nation as the Iraq war for voters to punish them for implementing policies that do more harm than good. If climate change is clearly responsible for some catastrophe in the U.S., Republicans will pay the price. If the Republicans do something that unambiguously is the sole cause of another recession, they will pay the price. However, if it is not unambiguous, well then, there isn’t much price to be paid. The Republicans have had a fine run of form at the polls running on a platform to shrink the U.S.’ already stingy welfare state, statistics about the successes of the European welfare state in reducing childhood poverty be damned. Republicans, after claiming 30 years ago that tax cuts were self-funding, are still running on a platform of reducing taxes and cutting the deficit. I’m sure one can find examples on the Democratic side. The point being that policies that do more harm than good have a funny way of sticking around in U.S. politics, perhaps because in many ways the U.S. economy and U.S. society are still so much more flexible and adaptive than other countries that it can bear a much higher load of social disorder without the entirety of society having to pay the price for it.

4 11 2010

Thanks for letting me vent about the politics of my nation on your blog. I might be too close to have any sort of accurate view of it; but in every single election I’ve lived through, there has always been a subtext of questioning the validity of the claims of non WASPs to be really and truly American, and it thoroughly disgusts me that the most backwards and unproductive members of society can have their representatives more or less slander the most intelligent, successful, and valuable members and groups of society, as well as those worst off, without shame or consequence. Though they have no charity or reverence, White Christian nationalism is the message that the Republicans have been selling for decades, and for people who believe that the nation rightfully belongs only to white Christians, it matters not one bit what the facts are. That is why I am so cynical. Long term, thankfully, that is a losing proposition, but the long run requires an awful lot of time to come to pass.

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