October 30, 2008

With the Democratic control of Congress, how much traction should McCain get out of the argument for divided government?

TNR presents the debate. On Monday, John B. Judis had a piece in called "Down with Divided Government," and today, we get a response from Jacob T. Levy: "In Defense of Two-Party Rule."

This is a huge question for me, and I've wavered on the subject. Usually, I prefer divided government, but that doesn't mean I need to support McCain. I've seen McCain put way too much effort into pleasing Democrats and flouting his own party, and I can picture Obama standing up to the Democratic Congress and being his own man. What, really, will he owe them? McCain, by contrast, will need them. And we've seen that he wants to be loved by them.

Sometimes, I think that letting the Democrats control everything for 2 years would work out just fine. Let one party take responsibility for everything. When they can't whine and finger-point, what will they actually step up and do? It will be interesting to know. And it will do the Republicans good to retool and define themselves, with an eye toward the 2010 election. I'd like to see this clarification after so many years of obfuscation.

So, that's how my thinking about 2-party rule has supported my decision to vote for Obama.

Now, let's see what Judis and Levy say. Judis notes various examples of successful presidencies under united government and bad presidencies with divided government, and says the evidence proves that "divided government is a curse, not a blessing, and should be avoided, if at all possible." He elaborates:
[In "The Politics Presidents Make" Stephen] Skowronek, a Yale political scientist, distinguishes two kinds of circumstances that have led to crippled government. In the first, a president from an opposing party, but who nevertheless represents the wave of the political future, confronts a congress wedded to the past and determined to frustrate him. You could put Nixon (who was the harbinger of an emerging Republican majority) and Clinton (who was the harbinger of an emerging Democratic majority) in this group. Both these presidencies degenerated into chaos in their second terms.

Then, there are presidents who, in Skowronek’s words, are “affiliated with a set of established commitments that have in the course of events been called into question as failed or irrelevant responses to the problems of the day.” Skowroneck numbers among these James Buchanan, Herbert Hoover and Jimmy Carter. These presidents don’t necessarily have to contend with a Congressional opposition in power, but like Hoover and Carter in their last two years, with a nascent and growing opposition in Congress that constitutes a functional majority in opposition to what they want to do. These presidencies have also proved disastrous.

A John McCain presidency would clearly fall in the latter group, and McCain, unlike Hoover and Carter, would have to face clear and unequivocal majorities in Congress united against him. Rather than promising success, that kind of divided government would promise chaos and failure.
Levy says:
The simple fact is that Republicans never controlled the House during Reagan's eight years....

The last six years of Clinton's presidency, 1995 to 2001, is the other era of divided government that gets held up as exemplary. Judis dismisses it as catastrophic on the basis of the Clinton impeachment. But that misses the wonderful weirdness of the late '90s. The chaos of impeachment coexisted alongside bipartisan legislative accomplishments... Again, I think a good president was made better through divided government....
But he's still not promoting McCain:
The obvious prediction is that Obama will have at least two years of one-party government. That may be, temporarily, for the best--the Bush-era Republican Party, like the Nixon-era Republican Party, needs some time in the wilderness to unlearn some very bad habits. ... [I]n the unlikely event that a healthier, reformed Republican Party is ready by 2010 and able to grab back control of the House, so much the better for American politics--and maybe so much the better for Obama's presidency. And in the meantime, I'm certainly rooting for smart and decent Hill Republicans (admittedly a minority) to hold onto their seats to lead the rebuilding toward another era of soundly divided government.
I don't know if undivided government is always better, but I think it can have some benefits now, and it's not so obviously always bad that opposition to it works as an especially strong reason to support McCain in 2008.

93 comments:

Meade said...

"So, that's how my thinking about 2-party rule has supported my decision to vote for Obama"

O..kay.
It ain't neutral but I have to hand it to you - it sure is cruel.

kengoodsmith said...

"I can picture Obama standing up to the Democratic Congress and being his own man."
Because you can see a future totally inconsistent with the past?

peter hoh said...

Is the divided government an argument for McCain or an argument for down-ticket Republicans?

McCain first, party second.

Triangle Man said...

kengoodsmith said...

"I can picture Obama standing up to the Democratic Congress and being his own man."
Because you can see a future totally inconsistent with the past?


..or because as the President of the US of A he doesn't have to take crap from a bunch of whiners. At least that has been W's approach.

Ann Althouse said...

Cruel neutrality was a vow not to commit until October. I'm still being cruel.

Ann Althouse said...

"Because you can see a future totally inconsistent with the past?"

What past? The man has no experience!

Ann Althouse said...

See? That was cruel.

Simon said...

"I can picture Obama standing up to the Democratic Congress and being his own man."

What if "his own man" is exactly in line with what the Democratic Congress wants to do? Then "being his own man" would involve rubber-stamping what Congress does. What signs of intellectual independence has Obama displayed, other than a position he took in support of the FISA bill at a time when it looked very likely that he would be the one wielding the powers it conferred?

Pelosi recently said that if the Democrats get a bigger majority, the House will be more bipartisan. The idea that, if a Democratic Congress is a given and one likes divided government, one should prefer the Democratic candidate over the GOP candidate seems similarly counterintuitive.

Bob R said...

I'm going to watch Zelig instead of the election returns on Tuesday night. I'll think of Ann and many others.

Simon said...

Ann:
"So, that's how my thinking about 2-party rule has supported my decision to vote for Obama."

The decision to vote for him is made, or you've decided that your thinking about two party rule is no impediment to voting for Obama?

Kirby Olson said...

http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=KxhYampIl7A&feature=related

Now HERE's a guy who can stand up and be his own man.

VERY Maverick-y -- I've seen this guy before, and now he's back. An African American who is a Republican is a person who is his own man.

He says in this vid that he has about a hundred relatives who are all going to vote Democrat, all for Obama.

And here he stands up to them.

I would call THAT being your own man.

Obama AND McCain both come out of their family narratives and haven't significantly departed from them.

Pogo said...

"I can picture Obama standing up to the Democratic Congress and being his own man.
...
Let one party take responsibility for everything."


But...
Ah, screw it.

Southbound Blues said...

"So, that's how my thinking about 2-party rule has supported my decision to vote for Obama"

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NyvqhdllXgU


Two examples of the same thought process.

dualdiagnosis said...

"I can picture Obama standing up to the Democratic Congress and being his own man."

On what issue? Where does he show a stance on any issue that would put him at odds with the Dems?

AllenS said...

Ann said...
"Let one party take responsibility for everything. When they can't whine and finger-point..."

They will blame GW Bush for anything and everything that goes wrong. With an additional gab at Reagan with the trickle down theory doesn't work.

Original George said...

Your position seems predicated upon the belief that the system will self-correct in 2010, returning control of at least one house of Congress to the GOP.

It looks like the Recession is going to last for two years. Minimum. It's global. We haven't reached bottom. The Fed is going to cut its lending rate to zero. Push the wet noodle. Japan kept that rate at zero for five years. Did no good. Talk is that this period of deflation will be replaced in a year or two with inflation. And we're fighting three wars (including GWOT) and bailing out every country in sight. And there's serious talk of a new Bretton Woods conference from which our dollar will almost surely emerge weaker.

A fully Democratic run government is more likely to raise taxes more than a split government, more likely to penalize business with taxes (thus driving investment and entrepreneurship to other countries), more likely to tax capital gains, more likely to try a trickle-up theory of growth, more likely to want to weaken NAFTA, and more likely to strengthen unions, possibly reducing our international competitiveness, more likely to exit Iraq too soon and more likely to escalate too much in Afghanistan, and more likely to reshape the Supreme Court into one less amicable to the interests of business, and more likely to give more authority to the already powerful Sen. Dodd and Rep. Frank who have been less than adequate financial watchmen.

Worrisome.

integrity said...

Simon said...

Pelosi recently said that if the Democrats get a bigger majority, the House will be more bipartisan.




On it's face it is a hilarious statement, but in fact democrats fight more amongst themselves than they do against republicans. It is the same way privately too, I get much more shit from democrats because I am an iconoclast that does not toe the line on everything, than I do republicans.

I was on the homeowner's board of my condo association for 5 years, most of the building is industry(entertainment) and very liberal(with 2 exceptions that I know of). The wars were always, and I mean always, among the liberals. And it was vicious, I would sit there and think how crazy that we were fighting each other over everything and the repubs would just sit there and stay out of it.

Democrats fight one another, while repubs all unite under whatever authority figure has been set up to lead. We question authority and are a far more unruly bunch. Always has been this way. That's why these elections are always problematic for us.

Nancy was telling the truth.

Meade said...

"See? That was cruel."

Meade like-y!

PatCA said...

I see I am not alone in my wonderment. "I can picture Obama standing up to the Democratic Congress and being his own man."

You are picturing this as an artist and not a professor dedicated to reason.

This blog no longer makes sense to me. Sorry.

Doyle said...

The divided government argument: "Don't let Democrats control government or they'll actually be able to do all the stuff you want to see done."

Buford Gooch said...

My goodness, Althouse, you are bending yourself into a pretzel trying to justify your intent to vote for Obama. McCain might accommodate the Democrats from time to time, but, just because Obama "owes" them nothing, you are assuming he will go against his entire (although very short) history and not accommodate them.

How convenient.

Smilin' Jack said...

I can picture Obama standing up to the Democratic Congress...

Me too. In my picture he's standing well to the left of them.

Zeb Quinn said...

I can picture Obama standing up to the Democratic Congress

Those kinds of pictures are called hallucinations. What I can picture is the other way around, i.e., possibly some moderate Dems in Congress standing up to him. Maybe. There'll be enormous pressure for them toe the party line but self-survival will kick in at some point.

Sometimes, I think that letting the Democrats control everything for 2 years would work out just fine.

Depending on how you define "work out just fine." Look at the last two times the Dems ran everything. 1992: two years later the voters were so upset that bang-->zoom they swept the Dems out of Congress, the Repubs gaining control of the House for the first time in 50 years. 1976: the Dems and Carter got themselves the vaunted veto-proof majority. Disastrous enough for you? It did however lead directly to Reagan.

Paul Zrimsek said...

I can picture McCain hanging around Starbuck wearing a Che T-shirt.

I can picture George W. Bush singing favorite Verdi arias before an enthralled crowd at Kennedy Center.

I can picture Bill Clinton infiltrating Dr. Nishimoto's secret ninja training camp and killing each of them noiselessly one by one in their sleep.

I can picture Calvin Coolidge doing a pas de deux with a lemur in a pink tutu.

This game wouldn't have occurred to me, but now that Ann's invented it it's sort of fun.

Andrew Berman said...

First of all, The New Republic has been virtually unreadable for the last few months. The group-think is incredible there.

Second of all, Ann: Can you defend your assertions about McCain and Obama? For example, excluding campaigning for office, can you give us a single example of Obama standing up to any Democrat ever? Whom did he stand up to as a Senator? As a State Senator?


What we have here is a whole bunch of moderates thinking that an extremist is a moderate because he talks like a moderate. This happens over and over again and it's happening today.

junyo said...

On it's face it is a hilarious statement, but in fact democrats fight more amongst themselves than they do against republicans.

Fighting amongst yourselves over how to redistribute wealth and to whom isn't bipartisanship... It's the cannibals debating on whether to eat the explorers in one big feast or one at a time.

Buford Gooch said...

@ Paul Zrimsek: Not just lol, I actually laughed out loud. Startled the cat.

Simon said...

Integrity, I said that it was counterintuitive, not wrong.

It's even more counterintuitive than you're giving it credit for; where is this bipartisanship supposed to happen? One could imagine more bipartisanship if Steny Hoyer were the Speaker, if the dem agenda were much more moderate than it is, and one could form a working majority for that agenda by aggregating the blue dogs and the moderate GOP members, over the objections of hardliners in both parties. That isn't the case. Pelosi leads from the far left of her caucus and has no record of bipartisanship. Moreover, the agenda they hope to steer through is so extreme that it might put off even a few blue dogs, let alone the GOP caucus. Can we envision a theoretical bill that would attract the support of the GOP and the blue dogs in sufficient numbers to pass over the objections of hardliners in both parties? Perhaps so, but such a bill - if it was on a subject of any importance - would not make it to the floor, because the hardliners control the Speaker's chair and the Speaker controls the agenda.

I think it's not only counterintuitive but also very likely to be shown wrong. Time will tell, but looking at the last couple of years, and thinking more generally about how the House has functioned since the days when Thomas Brackett Reed was Speaker, I suspect it will tell that Pelosi is wrong. If the dems get in, they're going to be out for payback like you've never seen before. A wave of incredibly destructive legislation is going to be forced through Congress and rubber-stamped, and if we're very, very lucky, the Senate GOP can delay or stop the worst of it and the courts will throw out some of it.

Doyle said...

What we have here is a whole bunch of moderates thinking that an extremist is a moderate because he talks like a moderate.

What are Obama's "extremist" positions?

Diamondhead said...

I don't know of any issue where Obama's position is to the right of the congressional Democratic mean. So it's difficult to imagine him ever wanting to stand up to his own party. Oh, I'm sure there will be some orchestrated disagreements, but let's not kid ourselves.

Ann Althouse said...

Simon said..."The decision to vote for him is made, or you've decided that your thinking about two party rule is no impediment to voting for Obama?"

There could be some new revelation or new event that would change my mind, but at this point I've decided. I'll put the percentage at 98.97.

peter hoh said...

Doyle, don't forget all the conservatives who think McCain is a moderate because he talks like a conservative.

Ann Althouse said...

Do you want hope like that?

Simon said...

Ann Althouse said...
"Do you want hope like that?"

Hope springs eternal - or at least, until the polls open. Is there anything in particular that is a concern to you - cutting either way - that commenters could address with reason or evidence? Or would it have to be something entirely out of the blue at this point?

junyo said...

What are Obama's "extremist" positions?

Off the top of my head...

That unplanned children are a 'punishment'.

That people should be prosecuted for the defensive use of a firearm.

That DC's gun ban was Constitutional. (oh wait, most Dems think that way, guess that's not "extreme"...)

That an unrepentant domestic terrorist is an okay guy to hang out with/use to launch your career.

That campaigning for Raila Odinga was a good idea.

Also, you're assuming that Obama, unlike every politician in the history of the world, has been 100% honest and forthright about his positions. With a limited legislative record and being in campaign mode, how does one know what he actually believes?

Henry said...

Sometimes, I think that letting the Democrats control everything for 2 years would work out just fine.

Given the great accomplishments of the Democrats the last two years with a compliant, lame-duck president, this is almost defensible. Will Reid and Pelosi stop acting like terrified hamsters when Obama takes charge? I dunno. Let's find out!

Tycho said...

"I can picture Obama standing up to the Democratic Congress and being his own man."

Name one significant or controversial time time he has ever stood up to the Democratic leaders....waiting... waiting.... yeah, I thought so.

The truth is that he voted with Democrats at least 97% of the time.

Classic: "What past? The man has no experience!". Exactly, Anne. Sorry, but he has so little experience and will be relying so much on the advice of others that I cannot see him "being his own man" - no matter how much I wish it was true.

What does Obama owe the Democrats??? How about his nomination? How about all of the donations that liberal interest groups and the Democratic Party have provided him in his quest to outspend McCain $600 million to $80million. If Obama wins, he will have bought the election with their money.... he owes them big.

What will McCain owe the Democrats? They sure as hell didn't vote for him, campaign for him or give him money. In fact, they did just about everything they could to see that he would not be elected.

McCain, if elected, will owe the Republican base.

Yes, he will need them to pass his legislation. However, this means he will have to act in a bipartisan manner (to get legislation that both sides agree upon). However, there is a difference between compromising on legislation and writing outright blank checks. On the contrary, Obama can send any legislation he wants and, most likely, it will be quickly passed.

Look at the Republicans in 2000 to 2002. They rammed through just about anything they wanted. No need for bipartisanship (unfortunately). We all saw how well that worked. Ugh.

So, you use McCain's attempts at bipartisanship to mean that he will not be a check on Democratic overreaching? Makes no sense. There is at least a chance he will veto such legislation whereas, with Obama, there is almost no chance.

Sorry, but if the choice is between a Republican who occasionally sides with the Democrats and a Democrat that always sides with the other Democrats, then how difficult of a choice is it? If you truly value divided government, then you have to vote McCain.

The Drill SGT said...

Ann said...
I've seen McCain put way too much effort into pleasing Democrats and flouting his own party, and I can picture Obama standing up to the Democratic Congress and being his own man. What, really, will he owe them? McCain, by contrast, will need them. And we've seen that he wants to be loved by them.


Ann, if you weren't so irrationally in the tank for Obama you might describe McCain's actions as "bi-partisanship". You know, that illusive political behavior that is nearly extinct? Reaching across the aisle and working with members of the oposition to accomplish something for the common good. And "principled opposition" to his own parties excesses. Fighting the party on campaign reform, taxes, pork, torture...

You have decided now that you have dropped your neurality, that the things that should be McCain's positives (to somebody like you) are now negatives.

And Obama on the other hand? You are "hoping" that he will "change" once you give him and his party complete control of the government. what you will get is:

- abandoning our allies
- raising taxes
- deepening a recession into a depresion
- protectionism
- union corruption
- eco-pork
- higher dependence on foreign oil
- curtailed 1st amendment
- invasion of privacy
- a glassy hole where Tel Aviv stands
- war in the Mid-East
- Russia crushing the Ukraine

PatCA said...
This blog no longer makes sense to me. Sorry.


I'm concluding the same thing.

Tycho said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Original Mike said...

Ann says that the Democrats won't be able to "whine and finger-point" if they control everything.

Wanna bet?

reader_iam said...

Paul, I'm damn near choking with laughter over a couple of those visuals. How am I supposed to drill my kid on his times tables with a straight after that? Sheesh, if he comes away with the impression that I don't take math seriously, it's gonna be all YOUR fault.

Original George said...

Sen. Obama has other little-known policy plans that a Democratic-controlled Congress would help him enact.

For example, the "Veterans Corps to assist at hospitals." Is that for senior-citizens? If an elderly person has a limited time to volunteer and does so through his church, what would be the incentive to work for the government, not a church? Tax benefits maybe?

"The Clean Energy Corps to conduct weatherization and renewable energy projects" and the "Green Job Corps...to create an energy-focused youth jobs program to provide disadvantaged youth with service opportunities weatherizing buildings and getting practical experience in fast-growing career fields." So...some people get free insulation for their homes, and others don't? I like the line "practical experience in fast-growing career fields"...doesn't that sound like one of those late-night truck driving beautician school ads?

"Social Investment Fund Network: Obama and Biden will create a Social Investment Fund Network to use federal seed money to leverage private sector funding to improve local innovation, test the impact of new ideas and expand successful programs to scale." What is that?

"Classroom Corps to help teachers and students, with a priority placed on underserved schools..." "And who's in that Corps?

The NY Times has also written about his prenatal-through-age-18 education reform plans which somehow envisions reshaping how everyone thinks about poverty.....

Paul Snively said...

Dr. Althouse: "I can picture Obama standing up to the Democratic Congress and being his own man."

Dr. Althouse: WTF?

David said...

I can picture it too, but will it happen?

McCain is making a loser's argument, unfortunately for him. He has been letting his ADD show throughout the campaign--a complete lack of consistent focus. He's a good man, but has run a lousy campaign. The notion that Palin is to blame is the last straw. McCain picked her, for goodness sake.

holdfast said...

"I can picture Obama standing up to the Democratic Congress and being his own man."

-I can picture myself getting a BJ from Diane Krueger, and both are equally likely to actually occur. Sigh.


"Pelosi recently said that if the Democrats get a bigger majority, the House will be more bipartisan. "

-I think she means real Dems vs. Blue Dogs, with the Republicans relocated to reeducation camps.

Revenant said...

"Divided government" was the argument a lot of people gave for voting Democrat in 2006. Now here it is two years later and we're looking at Democrats controlling the executive and legislative branches at once. So much for "dividing". If McCain wins, what's the guarantee Republicans won't retake Congress in 2010?

Mind you, I think the country would be better off if they did. It just isn't honest, in my view, to act like that isn't a possibility.

holdfast said...

david - I agree. Obama did a much better job of campaigning and staying on message and disciplined. Of course, GWB was good at that too - better than McCain and Gore.

LarsPorsena said...

"McCain is making a loser's argument, unfortunately for him. He has been letting his ADD show throughout the campaign--a complete lack of consistent focus."

I wish I could hear a McCain argument but with the press round-heeled for BO, and the massive media buys (Thank you, Mr. 'Doodad Pro')
I can't hear or see McCain anywhere.
It's a total wall of sound for, about, and with BO.

integrity said...

David said...

The notion that Palin is to blame is the last straw. McCain picked her, for goodness sake.



They are playing an old school game with Palin, and it's called "blame the bitch". It's been going since time began. Whenever a female and a problem are anywhwere near each other "blame the bitch". Used to be very popular in Hollywood too, but they have to a great extent frozen women out of the star-making roles so there are no bitches left to blame.

Revenant said...

I can picture Obama standing up to the Democratic Congress and being his own man

I can picture Scarlett Johanssen and Angelina Jolie performing all sorts of lewd acts in my bedroom. It just isn't very likely to actually HAPPEN.

Doyle said...

You are picturing this as an artist and not a professor dedicated to reason.

You, a law professor!

This blog no longer makes sense to me. Sorry.

I was led to believe by the conservative commenters here that they considered Ann a Democrat all along. They tended to be very self-congratulatory about how openminded they were for liking this blog.

I think we know the deal now.

LarsPorsena said...

"I think we know the deal now."

What's with WE. Only royalty, pregnant women, and people with tapeworms can use WE.

Recovering Liberal said...

Ann,

It shocks me that you think Obama will stand up to the Democratic Congress. Where do you get the sense that he has any strength of character and conviction? From his Harvard Law Review articles?When he stood up to Rev. Wright and Bill Ayers?

If you cannot intellectually justify your draw towards Obama, that's fine. None of us are as completely logical and empirical as we pretend. But please be careful about just how much you pretzel yourself in order to deal with the immense cognitive dissonance that must occur from voting for "hope and change". It's gonna really hurt when you pull a muscle.

JAL said...

kengoodsmith said...
"I can picture Obama standing up to the Democratic Congress and being his own man."

Because you can see a future totally inconsistent with the past?

10:28 AM


His vote in Illinois committee against the Born Alive Child Act, (same language as passed by the US Senate 98-0?) ?

Doyle said...
What we have here is a whole bunch of moderates thinking that an extremist is a moderate because he talks like a moderate.

What are Obama's "extremist" positions?

11:12 AM


See above.

Sterling character.

The Drill SGT said...

Doyle said...I was led to believe by the conservative commenters here that they considered Ann a Democrat all along. They tended to be very self-congratulatory about how openminded they were for liking this blog.

I think we know the deal now


Ann can vote for whomever she wants, what PatCa and I are complaining about is the utter illogic of the rationale.

Obama was on the far left of a Democratic Senate spectrum when the GOP had control, yet claims to want to work bi-partisan magic after failing to try when it would have worked.

Now with a presumably strong Democratic majority, he will teleport from the Left wing of the Senate to a position in the middle and draw all the Dems to the right to sing kumbaya with the GOP?

what will happen is that Schumer, Durbin, and Reid will pass bills that are as radical as their constituents will tolerate, Nancy will rubber stamp it and the Congress and the NetRoots will challenge Obama to think about a veto. Does anyone think Obama would ever veto something passed by the Netroots and both houses?

Any reason (beyond his gender) that John Edwards, the sort of feeling empathic Judge Obama desires, can't be the next Justice?

reader_iam said...

I can picture Scarlett Johanssen and Angelina Jolie performing all sorts of lewd acts in my bedroom.

Oh, great. Now Revenant's interfering with my ability to teach with a straight face the nominative case vs. the objective case in pronoun use.

What is it with you people? First Paul, and now Revenant. Can't a homeschooling mom get a break around here?

Doyle said...

If you actually think about what people think about various issues, the left wing of the Senate lines up pretty well with the middle of the country.

reader_iam said...

Which people?

Doyle said...

American voters.

Doyle said...

Pro-choice, pro-universal healthcare, anti-Iraq War, etc. etc.

Simon said...

integrity said...
"They are playing an old school game with Palin, and it's called 'blame the bitch'. It's been going since time began. Whenever a female and a problem are anywhwere near each other 'blame the bitch'."

Absolutely right. The idea that Palin - but for whom Obama would have wrapped up this election two months ago - is somehow a drag on the ticket beggars belief. The case against Palin appears to be that in an incredibly tough election environment for the GOP, McCain is still losing even after selecting his veep, ergo there must be something wrong with the veep. This is nonsense; notwithstanding that a few pundits have used Palin as an excuse to deserting a candidate that they already hated (let's not pretend that George Will wasn't looking for any excuse to bolt), Palin has been an incredible boon for the ticket, bringing McCain from an also ran to a real contender. She would have been an even bigger boon but for the press' campaign to destroy her poisoning minds against her.

Doyle said...

The idea that Palin - but for whom Obama would have wrapped up this election two months ago - is somehow a drag on the ticket beggars belief.

Really? She's got a negative favorable rating. Most people don't like her. A lot of people really don't like her.

Maxine Weiss said...

A ConLaw Professor who doesn't really know if divided government is prudent or not.

Is Comparative Gov. a prerequisite for becoming a ConLaw Professor ?

Voting for someone based on what you 'hope' he will do.....when you have the individual's actual record staring you in the face....showing exactly the opposite---

Quite a leap of faith ! Again, what's really irresponsible is for a ConLaw Professor to urge voters to vote based on their hopes and dreams and ignore a pattern of past conduct (the record).

And, then there's that Khalidi question, which Althouse won't address.

I guess when you start talking foreign policy....all of Althouse's "flexible" and "moderate" labels go flying out the window.

Well, "flexible"....yeah, he's flexible all right !!!

Simon said...

Doyle said...
"Pro-choice, pro-universal healthcare, anti-Iraq War, etc. etc."

Saying that the middle is pro choice distorts by simplification. Polling by Pew et al has repeatedly found that there is a continuum between the hardline pro choice brigade and the hardcore prolifers. The middle is pro choice in the sense that they believe that abortion should be legal in at least some circumstances (indeed, in many circumstances), but the moderate middle of the country is far less pro-chice than the left of the Senate when it comes to regulation of abortion. Almost all voters support parental notification laws, and IIRC, a majority support parental consent laws. Huge majorities support a ban on partial birth abortion, and if you could frame an abortion law that allowed abortion for the life and health of the mother but where "health" wasn't a euphemism for abortion on demand, I think the moderate middle of the country would support that. We have to remember that on abortion, the status quo is extremist, and the left of the senate likes it that way.

The country may want out of Iraq, but unlike the left, the middle doesn't want to wave the white flag, stick tail between legs and surrender. And they don't want universal healthcare; they want to have healthcare themselves, but they certainly don't want to pay for that hobo's liver transplant. And - to loop back to abortion - they sure as hell don't want public funding for abortion.

I do honestly wonder - maybe Ann or Integrity can answer this - if the Democrats are stupid enough to try to ram public funding for abortion through. If that happens, violence is going to ensue.

integrity said...

Their mismanagement of Palin will become legendary and used as an example of exactly what not to do in the future. McCain should have made sure they had chemistry and that he actually liked her before the selection. And he seems to not be able to cope with her drawing power. He wilted in her wake. And appears to loathe her for it.

The scene of him campaigning in the diner the other day was sad, without her he had nothing. A tragically bad decision.

The Drill SGT said...

Doyle said...
If you actually think about what people think about various issues, the left wing of the Senate lines up pretty well with the middle of the country.


Doyle is off his meds. Somebody get a nice padded jacket and his helmet.

PatCA said...

"Ann can vote for whomever she wants, what PatCa and I are complaining about is the utter illogic of the rationale."

Exactly, DrillSgt. I keep hoping someone will point out what great rationale I am missing about The One as leader of the free world. Again we hear..."hoping" he will "change."

Simon said...

Doyle said...
"Really? She's got a negative favorable rating."

Subtract from that people who think Bush is the devil, McCain is Bush, or who were otherwise already in the tank for Obama.

"Most people don't like her. A lot of people really don't like her."

As I've said before, if I took out saturation media coverage arguing that a person most Americans had never heard of was a child molester, and paid off the entire media establishment to repeat and amplify the claim, that person's approval rating two months later would look very bad. That's more or less what the media has done to Palin: most Americans didn't know anything about her, and they've been poisoned by two months of relentless smear attacks and slanted coverage by the media.

Still, there's good news: I read something indicating that Newsweek's income has dropped by almost three quarters since last year. So the good news is that at least some of these media vultures are going to be enjoying a stimulating new career suitable to their talents very soon. For my part, I hope that in the new year, a strategy will be formulated for punishing the people responsible for what the media did to Palin. That'll be much easier if McCain wins (the first amendment protects the media only so far; it doesn't guarantee them access), but if he doesn't, we'll have to think of something.

rcocean said...

A McCain presidency and a Democrat congress would be a recipe for disaster.

Since McCain's primary motive is to please his good friend Joe (and I don't mean Joe the Plumber) and the WaPo Editorial page, you would see a lot of bi-partisan reaching across the aisle to enact liberal policy and the policy of the elites.

You'd also see a lot of hotheaded erratic behavior as McCain changes from one position to the next. Every day would be guessing game as who McCain would side with.

Oh, and he'd pass Amnesty as his first bi-partisan triumph. Let Obama and the Democrats have the wheel the 2 years.

Maxine Weiss said...

"....and I can picture Obama standing up to the Democratic Congress and being his own man."

---Althouse

____________________


Where is the evidence of him ever doing that?

Voting for someone based on a "picture" --a fantasy of what you imagine......that doesn't exist in reality !

But then again, this has been a fantasy candidate, from the beginning. A fantasy relationship that his voters acribe all their hopes and dreams to---igoring the grim reality of the actual evidence.

Carousing with terrorists, giving them a "warm embrace" via the LA Times article. Of course Althouse and her 60s Hippie 'University' set aren't going to label that treason or subversive.

But for a ConLaw Professor to question the value of divided government.....???

Now that's surprising!

integrity said...

Simon said...
Doyle said...
"Pro-choice, pro-universal healthcare, anti-Iraq War, etc. etc."

Saying that the middle is pro choice distorts by simplification. Polling by Pew et al has repeatedly found that there is a continuum between the hardline pro choice brigade and the hardcore prolifers. The middle is pro choice in the sense that they believe that abortion should be legal in at least some circumstances (indeed, in many circumstances), but the moderate middle of the country is far less pro-chice than the left of the Senate when it comes to regulation of abortion. Almost all voters support parental notification laws, and IIRC, a majority support parental consent laws. Huge majorities support a ban on partial birth abortion, and if you could frame an abortion law that allowed abortion for the life and health of the mother but where "health" wasn't a euphemism for abortion on demand, I think the moderate middle of the country would support that. We have to remember that on abortion, the status quo is extremist, and the left of the senate likes it that way.

The country may want out of Iraq, but unlike the left, the middle doesn't want to wave the white flag, stick tail between legs and surrender. And they don't want universal healthcare; they want to have healthcare themselves, but they certainly don't want to pay for that hobo's liver transplant. And - to loop back to abortion - they sure as hell don't want public funding for abortion.

I do honestly wonder - maybe Ann or Integrity can answer this - if the Democrats are stupid enough to try to ram public funding for abortion through. If that happens, violence is going to ensue.



I don't think they will. My mother told me a few days ago that she thought it still was being funded, I told her absolutely not. She disagreed, I assume she is still receiving literature from political and religious orgs that are making her think this.

Are you sure people even realize that it is not being publicly funded now?

The wiser dems will prevail on these issues, they don't want to blow it. That issue, among many others, will.

For all we know the dems could be punished on tuesday for signing on to the $700B bailout. This is all speculation.

Pogo said...

For the sake of our nation, I hope BHO becomes Lincoln, but I suspect instead that in 10 years we'll be looking back at his administration in shame, a Kwame Kilpatrick-type chaotic insider-driven backscratching corrupt kleptocracy, a drunken bacchanal of spending and scandal when restraint and parsimony were desperately needed.

Nothing in this cipher's past permits me to suspect he can lead. The man can hardly read off a teleprompter.

I'm mystified and I give up.

Oxbay said...

At 11:44 Tycho wrote:
"Look at the Republicans in 2000 to 2002. They rammed through just about anything they wanted. No need for bipartisanship (unfortunately). We all saw how well that worked. Ugh."

Hey, Tycho you must be misremembering. When Congress organized in early 2001 there were 50 Democrats and 50 Republicans. Republicans got a limited working majority because they had the Cheney vote to break ties. A few months into that arrangement the thief Jeffords switched from the Republican caucus to the Democrat caucus making the dripping grease ball Tom Daschle the majority leader.

Besides that there is something else you must realize. If the majority party in the Senate doesn't have 60 votes then all legislation coming out of the Senate must, I repeat: must, be bipartisan. 60 votes gives the majority party a clear hand to rule. Anything less than 60 votes requires the majority to make deals with the minority.

Every piece of legislation that was passed by Congress during the Bush Presidency was, by necessity, bipartisan.

There's no other rational way to understand it.

Zeb Quinn said...

PatCA said...
This blog no longer makes sense to me. Sorry.

I'm concluding the same thing.


What's making sense to me is that Ann's game is trolling her own blog. For months she trolled to get the lefties all shook up at her. Now she's trolling to get reactions from the righties.

AlphaLiberal said...

Zero. That's brain-dead thinking incapable of filtering the concept with the reality of the times and the parties.

For example, it ignores that the Republican Party is not interested in bipartisanship. I think it was Grover NOrquist who said "bipartisanship is date rape."

If we want deadlock, stalemate and continuing loss of trust then we need a deadlocked system.

Oxbay said...

Hey 1:46, Quinn - I love that name.

AlphaLiberal said...

zeb, you don't seem to know what the term "trolling" means on the internets.

AlphaLiberal said...

Where is the evidence of him ever doing that?

1. Posted at Dailykos telling us we're a bunch of partisans and need to be less partisan.
2. Accepting faith-based government contracting.
3. Politics and religion.

There's more. But you're not really open to evidence-based dialogue anyway.

Cedarford said...

Paul Snively said...
Dr. Althouse: "I can picture Obama standing up to the Democratic Congress and being his own man."

Dr. Althouse: WTF?


Dr. Althouse?
WTF?

The Drill SGT said...

I propose a Poll.

Option 1. It is the sense of the local commentariat that Ann should add the following to her banner to celebrate her voting decision:

and I can picture Obama standing up to the Democratic Congress and being his own man."

---Althouse


Option 2: Opposed

Oxbay said...

I vote option 1

Simon said...

Integrity said...
"Are you sure people even realize that it is not being publicly funded now?"

I wouldn't have thought so, but I must admit to not having researched the issue. Might also be publicly funded at the state level.

"For all we know the dems could be punished on tuesday for signing on to the $700B bailout. This is all speculation."

I wouldn't have thought so, because many Republicans voted for it too. That said, I suppose they might end up being punished qua incumbents rather than qua Democrats.


Cedarford said...
"Dr. Althouse? WTF?"

What do you think "J.D" is short for?

Original George said...

"Obama’s has promised a massive national service program [including the Classroom Corps, the Green Energy Corps, the Green Jobs Corp, and the Veterans Corps, among others] closely allied with the nonprofit sector. In conjunction with this, Obama plans to remove “barriers for smaller nonprofits to participate in government programs.” In other words, Obama plans a massive effort to funnel America’s youth into volunteer work alongside the likes of ACORN. Not only might Obama’s favorite community organizers soon be training your child, the ultimate goal is arguably to bring to fruition [New Party co-founder and socialist theoretician Joel] Rogers’s dream of “popular governance rooted in mass democratic organization.”

Simon said...

Sarge, it was said in Muller v. Althouse that "quoting yourself in your blog's banner is a bit much." Do you agree?

Korla said...

> When they can't whine and finger-point, what will they actually step up and do?

That's baloney (as opposed to bologna).

This is the same reasoning I heard in the last Congressional elections. If only the Dems could be in control of Congress, then they would stop being so [blank]. They only want power; then they'll put the interests of the country first. Once they don't have the GOP to blame for their failures, then...

Well, now we have the worst, least ethical Congress in history. They have the lowest rating ever. It hit single digit approval ratings. And they are as far to the extreme left as ever before.

This is a party that is now run by the fringe. They have painted themselves into a party of earmarks, corruption, political show trials, appeasement, trade protectionism and taxes, taxes, taxes.

Rewarding the last 2 years with a supermajority and the Presidency would only convince them to snuggle even closer to their most unattractive elements.

The Drill SGT said...

when it was "cruel neutrality", that wasn't a quote?

I'll settle for:

-------------Althouse-------------
and I can picture Obama standing up to the Democratic Congress and being his own man.

Donn said...

To see what will happen once the Dems have full control, read this. No, I don't think it will happen in the next four years, but yes, it will happen.

bill said...

It is possible for me to picture -- the phrase, though loose, is helpful -- something which I do not perceive now, or which I never have perceived, or which does not exist. I can picture a red disc on a white background. I can picture toothache felt by me in the past, which did exist, or toothache felt by me in the present, which does not exist. I can picture Cromwell's distrust of Charles I, which presumably existed, or Cromwell's contempt for the Young Pretender, which certainly did not exist.

I propose to call the process of doing this by the name of imaging, and to speak of the mental states involved as imaginings, or states of imaging. That which is imaged I shall call the imaginatum.


The Nature of Existence
John McTaggart & Ellis McTaggart
1927

blake said...

Seems to me that Althouse is saying:

a) Either BHO will stand up to Congress (and, I guess, will be effectively able to do so), and so will temper their excesses;

b) Or he won't, and the Dems, out of power, will be forced to take the blame.

I think this leaves out a lot of important things but that's my take on what Althouse is getting at.

Zeb Quinn said...

zeb, you don't seem to know what the term "trolling" means on the internets.

Odd. I've been online since 1989 and I've always thought I did. It's just a way of using the fishing term in a non-fishing context. No? Hrmmm. Let's go look it up just to see.

According to Wikipedia: "An Internet troll, or simply troll in Internet slang, is someone who posts controversial, inflammatory or irrelevant or off-topic messages in an online community, such as an online discussion forum or chat room, with the intention of provoking other users into an emotional response...."

Yeah. Like that. That's exactly what I'm picturing Ann doing here. First to the left. Now to the right. And, hey, I'm not saying it's a bad thing. It's all part of the performance art schtick.

Revenant said...

Are you sure people even realize that [abortion] is not being publicly funded now?

According to the ACLU, every state in America provides public funding for abortions. One covers only life-threatening pregnancies, 32 more cover rape and incest pregnancies, 13 more were forced by the courts to cover abortion on demand, and the final four voluntarily cover abortion on demand. In addition, the federal government allos federal funds to pay for abortions in cases of rape, incest, or saving the mother's life.

To sum up, the reason people aren't "aware" that abortion isn't publicly funded is that abortion is publicly funded at both the state and federal level in every state in the country.

Zagazig said...

He won't get any traction from making the point. I'm a hardcore liberal and it worries me that a Democratic controlled EVERYTHING has fewer checks and balances.

Unfortunately, though, everything McCain now says is tainted with desperation and cynicism and is, therefore, very easy to ignore.

If he had said it in 2000 it would have been a different kettle of fish. I think he'd now say anything to get a couple more votes. It cheapens the debate.

Kevin said...

I can picture Obama standing up to the Democratic Congress and being his own man.

Like many commenters, I would like to chime in and ask for some specific examples where Obama has done this in the past.