Opinion

Opinion

Political punishment coming on Nov. 2

October 29, 2010

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— In a radio interview that aired Monday on Univision, President Obama chided Latinos who “sit out the election instead of saying, ‘We’re gonna punish our enemies and we’re gonna reward our friends who stand with us on issues that are important to us.’” Quite a uniter, urging Hispanics to exact political revenge on their enemies — presumably, for example, the near-60 percent of Americans who support the new Arizona immigration law.

This from a president who won’t even use “enemies” to describe an Iranian regime that is helping kill U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan. This from a man who rose to prominence thunderously declaring that we were not blue states or red states, not black America or white America or Latino America — but the United States of America.

This is how the great post-partisan, post-racial, New Politics presidency ends — not with a bang, not with a whimper, but with a desperate election-eve plea for ethnic retribution. Nice.

Yet press secretary Robert Gibbs’ dismay is reserved for Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell and the “disappointing” negativity of his admission that “the single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president.”

McConnell, you see, is supposed to say that he will try very hard to work with the president after the election. But it is blindingly clear that nothing of significance will be enacted. Over the next two years, Republicans will not be able to pass anything of importance to them — such as repealing Obamacare — because of the presidential veto. And the Democrats will be too politically weakened to advance, let alone complete, Obama’s broad transformational agenda.

That would have to await victory in 2012. Every president gets two bites at the apple: the first 18 months when he is riding the good will honeymoon, and a second shot in the first 18 months of a second term before lame-duckness sets in.

Over the next two years, the real action will be not in Congress but in the bowels of the federal bureaucracy. Democrats will advance their agenda on Obamacare, financial reform and energy by means of administrative regulation, such as carbon emission limits imposed unilaterally by the Environmental Protection Agency.

But major congressional legislation to complete Obama’s social-democratic agenda? Not a chance. That’s why McConnell has it right. The direction of the country will be determined in November 2012 when either Obama gets a mandate to finish building his “New Foundation” or the Republicans elect one of their own to repeal it, or what (by then) remains repealable.

Gibbs’ disapproving reaction to this obvious political truth is in keeping with the convention that all things partisan or ideological are to be frowned upon as “divisive.” This is pious nonsense. What is the point of a two-party democracy if not to present clear, alternative views of the role of government and, more fundamentally, the balance between liberty and equality — the central issue for any democracy?

The beauty of this year’s campaign, and the coming one in 2012, is that they actually have a point. Despite the noise, the nonsense, the distractions, the amusements — who will not miss New York’s seven-person gubernatorial circus act? — this is a deeply serious campaign about a profoundly serious political question.

Obama, to his credit, did not get elected to do midnight basketball or school uniforms. No Bill Clinton he. Obama thinks large. He wants to be a consequential president on the order of Ronald Reagan. His forthright attempt to undo the Reagan revolution with a new burst of expansive liberal governance is the theme animating this entire election.

Democratic apologists would prefer to pretend otherwise — that it’s all about the economy and the electorate’s anger over its parlous condition. Nice try. The most recent CBS/New York Times poll shows that only one in 12 Americans blames the economy on Obama, and seven in 10 think the downturn is temporary. And yet, the Democratic Party is falling apart. Democrats are four points behind among women, a constituency Democrats had owned for decades; a staggering 20 points behind among independents (a 28-point swing since 2008); and 20 points behind among college graduates, giving lie to the ubiquitous liberal conceit that the Republican surge is the revenge of lumpen know-nothings.

On Nov. 2, a punishing there will surely be. But not quite the kind Obama is encouraging.

My prediction: The Dems lose 60 House seats, eight in the Senate. Rangers in seven.

— Charles Krauthammer is a columnist for Washington Post Writers Group. letters@charleskrauthammer.com

Comments

Tom Shewmon 4 years, 6 months ago

Obama, Pelosi and Reid are a joke. The left called the Tea Party this and called them that. Words and phrases were freshly minted by the left who are angry---still---words and phrases like "fear-right" and "racists" and "bigots" and "teabagger" and "rednecks". The left-tilted media was nicer---said America is angry.

No, America is disgusted---purely and simply----disgusted. Disgusted with this socialist who was anointed by the media who fell absolutely head-over-heels in love with him. An idiot like Pelosi got the speaker job. An arrogant old man like Reid became the senate Democratic party majority leader. The perfect storm.

Yep, America is disgusted.

Scott Drummond 4 years, 6 months ago

Tea Party people being those disgusted and unwilling to support mainstream, right wing republicans, correct?

jafs 4 years, 6 months ago

Wasn't that a quote from Ronald Reagan as well?

jafs 4 years, 6 months ago

I seem to recall him using the "enemy of my enemy" quote when dealing with the Soviet Union.

Let's look it up.

Seth Peterson 4 years, 6 months ago

Yes, most political leaders have used it at some point in time over their careers. It is a common phrase pick any president and they will have said it - Regan included (specifically when working with the Middle East during the Cold War).

Corey Williams 4 years, 6 months ago

Time must be shorter in your world. But LMFAO that you got so upset that you start arguing semantics over whether it was "his" quote.

grammaddy 4 years, 6 months ago

We're disgusted alright. Disgusted that people have forgotten who drove us into the ditch. Disgusted that the right thinks it is so much better and smarter than everyone else. In 2008 we voted to change the guard, this year we will vote to guard the change. Don't count your chickens before they hatch.We may all be disgusted, but it's not necessarily with Obama.

Liberty275 4 years, 6 months ago

Not necessarily with Obama who seems to be a nice enough fellow. Necessarily with everything the left wing represents.

texburgh 4 years, 6 months ago

Yes, call him out for chiding Latinos for not voting and letting the xenophobic tea baggers win. But don't go after the republican operative who produced and tried to air ads telling Latinos not to vote at all. Yet another glaring example of extremist republican hypocrisy.

Flap Doodle 4 years, 6 months ago

This winter I will salt my food with the bitter tears of defeated Democrats.

Frederic Gutknecht IV 4 years, 6 months ago

That spiked koolaid has been taking its toll on your brain function, man.

bad_dog 4 years, 6 months ago

Yes, Tom. I understand that is what Fox told you happened. I listened to Meeks state emphatically again this morning that yes, he had spoken to Clinton on numerous occasions, but had never, I repeat NEVER, been asked or told to drop out of the Florida race. He further stated he is in the race to win it. Perpetuating and disseminating this BS in addition to your pseudo voter fraud whining insinuations is what is pathetic, deperate and disgusting.

ENGWOOD 4 years, 6 months ago

In a dramatic turn of events, former President Bill Clinton confirmed reports Thursday night that he had talked to Meek, a longtime political ally, about leaving the race and endorsing Charlie Crist. "He was trying to determine what was the best thing for him to do," Clinton told CNN's Susan Candiotti. "I knew it was being discussed, people had discussed it on and off… it was no secret… He was trying to think about what was the best thing for Florida!!! http://news.yahoo.com/s/yblog_upshot/20101029/el_yblog_upshot/bill-clinton-urged-meek-to-quit-the-florida-senate-race

Hummm

slowplay 4 years, 6 months ago

Well, the Rupubs didn't do anything positive during the Bush years and with a split faction of moderates and far-rights, combined with a fairly balanced Congress there is not going to be anything substantial occurring during the next 2 years. If the economy and job market do not improve drastically (which it will not) , the Repubs chance at the White House in 2012 is gone.

slowplay 4 years, 6 months ago

Don't know. I'll weigh his entire body of work when he's up for re-election. For what it's worth, if the Presidential election were held today, I would not vote for him, but nor do I see a qualified challenger out there. I do like Charlie Crist and Hilary Clinton. Who knows, we may see that match up in 2012. But the Repubs will only have an 18 month window of opportunity to make some drastic changes. History has proven that this is very difficult and rarely has had an impact on the Presidential race i.e. both Bush and Clinton were re-elected for 2nd terms despite opposition gains during the midterms. And, despite some very heavy criticism during their first terms.

jafs 4 years, 6 months ago

The search for an honest politician is a noble, but perhaps, fruitless one.

ndmoderate 4 years, 6 months ago

"Come 2012 they'll have a very thick stack of Republican initiated corrective legislation"

Like what?

jafs 4 years, 6 months ago

How would those policies be different from the ones that got us into the mess in the first place?

grammaddy 4 years, 6 months ago

So you're willing to go back into the ditch Bushco drove us into and Obama has been working to get us out of.

JayCat_67 4 years, 6 months ago

Um that was "National Socialist". And last I checked, there are no concentration camps here in the US. The "Hitler" references regarding either party have always been assinine drivel and simply cheapens what the Jews, Slavs, and many other ethnic groups endured during the late 1930's and early 40's. Your ignorance is insulting to humanity.

Frederic Gutknecht IV 4 years, 6 months ago

Cold, clear koolaid...served in a mason jar...mmm...+

Liberty275 4 years, 6 months ago

November 2nd needs to be just the beginning. On the 3rd, while they are down, we need to go for their throats and do everything we can to put the liberal/progressive/socialist party out of business forever.

Scott Drummond 4 years, 6 months ago

I am sure that is the plan, Liberty, I am sure that is what big business, big media and big military have planned. This is still a country in which the relentless propaganda being issued over the media airwaves can only produce a 45-51% majority for the right wing agenda in heavily gerrymandered Congressional districts. The right wingers are going to have to produce results, or they will be the 2012 bloodbath.

Liberty275 4 years, 6 months ago

Big Populace too. Business, media and military doesn't vote, the populace does. The democrat dump in a few days needs to be just be the beginning for the voting populace. They will need to follow through and rid the country of the lying democrat party that has no interest besides taking money from hard working men and women and giving it to lazy bums, drunks and crackheads. In time we will force the republicans to drop their stupid war of morality. Then we can actually have real elections between republicans and libertarians.

Don't make the mistake of thinking I have any love for the "big" scumbags you rattle off. I don't need your opinion of them. I loathe them as much as I loathe big government. I'm not voting for them, I'm voting to return control of the government to the sovereign, that being the populace.. Your red herring is ineffective and dumb. We aren't listening to your excuses and strained rationalizations for fat sloppy government anymore. Don't bother.

Yes there will be a bloodbath in 2012. I am looking forward to it.

Liberty275 4 years, 6 months ago

The only two things our new houses will need to do is block everything obama tries and formally investigate everything he and his allies have done. I expect them to be relentless.

Scott Drummond 4 years, 6 months ago

I disagree. The corporate media has spent much of the last three months trumpeting a Democratic bloodbath. It is hard to believe they will reverse course the day after the election.

They do, however, need to create competitive races for the next election cycle and therefore I do think that you will see more evenhanded treatment of corporatist Democrats (those with $$ to spend on media advertising) in the next few years.

Flap Doodle 4 years, 6 months ago

“…4 days to go and the Democrats are spending it explaining why their party heads are trying to get a black man off the ballot in Florida...” http://minx.cc/?post=307549

JHOK32 4 years, 6 months ago

Yeah, let's go back to Mr. Bush who along with his GOP stogies started this war because there were "Weapons of Mass Destruction" which we all know now was a blatant lie & which has killed over 4000 of our kids (& maimed thousands who now have no legs, no arms, no sight, etc.). Yes, he & the GOP are really wonderful. How about the $Billions of dollars that Cheney's buddies made off this war - Halliburton, Blackwater & Co) at the expense of killing our kids. Let's all return to that unGodly way to run a government!! Or how about all this stomping & cussing about Obama giving out bailout money? Do all of these idiot's brains really have that short of a memory span? It, again, was Bush who granted the FIRST bailout money - NOT OBAMA - to the tune of $700 Billion dollars - & he did NOT even require ANY conditions on all that (OUR) money!!! So take all your misguided gripes to Dallas where you'll find Bush living in his $2 Million dollar mansion writing his memoirs on how he completely WRECKED our entire economy!!!

Frederic Gutknecht IV 4 years, 6 months ago

I encourage everyone to read these two articles. Gosh. It's hard to find three brands of insanity in ONE COMMENT!~) I try to stick to one.

lilygrace 4 years, 6 months ago

I think it is interesting how certain people bash President Obama and the Democrats, whining and complaining about how the current government, in a mere two years, hasn't been able to right the destruction of the United States perpetrated by Bush, Cheney, and company over eight years. Must be the "fast food" mentality that seems to have permeated our society in the last 30 years. I want what I want when I want it and not a moment too soon. What a bunch of spoiled, ignorant brats!

Flap Doodle 4 years, 6 months ago

"...there were "Weapons of Mass Destruction" which we all know now was a blatant lie..." Except we don't know that. The jury is still out on this one. http://blogs.villagevoice.com/runninscared/2010/10/wikileaks_war_l.php

beatrice 4 years, 6 months ago

No, the jury isn't still out. Even your hero George W. Bush admitted to being wrong about WMDs.

Of course, maybe they really are little green men on Mars, too, but they just keep hiding each time we try to look for them.

BrianR 4 years, 6 months ago

Wallace and Gromit clearly proved that the moon is made of cheese so there might be green men (and women) on Mars.

beatrice 4 years, 6 months ago

Wallace / Gromit 2012! The Cheese Party

jayhawklawrence 4 years, 6 months ago

Imagine you are wanting to buy a new car and there are only two dealers in town. Since the last guy sold you a lemon, you go into the other car lot to look around. The salesman comes out and instead of selling you a car, forces you to buy the one he recommends even though you complain that you might not like it and don't know anything about it.

Meanwhile the other dealer is yelling at you from across the street that you bought a lemon.

That is essentially what Americans face in this election. They know they didn't like the last guy, but they don't think they should be forced to trust the new guy either.

Scott Drummond 4 years, 6 months ago

And in your analogy the correct answer is to find a third dealer, not return to the one you know will screw you.

JayCat_67 4 years, 6 months ago

Referring to Ross Perot and his fiscally conservatism syphoning off votes that may have otherwise re-elected Bush Sr. and then elected Dole? Too bad he turned out to be a bit of a crackpot.

beatrice 4 years, 6 months ago

I just hope that if the Republicans make their much anticipated big gains on Nov. 2, they will stop whining already! Two years of victimhood is long enough, don'tcha know? Crocodile tears are tough on the tear ducts ... time to give them a rest.

We will have a balance of power, and then both parties will be able to work together to rip apart the country.

BrianR 4 years, 6 months ago

Having the Right back in charge will be punishment.

yourworstnightmare 4 years, 6 months ago

I could be wrong, but I think the GOP will gain seats but will not retake either the house or the senate. There is so much hype and feverish anticipation on the part off the GOP that it is hard to know what will happen for sure.

We shall see on Tuesday

Scott Drummond 4 years, 6 months ago

Excellent reminder. The Battle Hymm of the Republic - harkens memory back to a great example of the righteous and progressive spirit of this country's people. Abolitionists suffered scorn for their progressive views, but ultimately prevailed. As has most every group that has struggled in this country against conservative and right wing forces.

The arc of history is long, but bends toward justice. Today's moneychangers and their supporters will not fare well in that evaluation.

jafs 4 years, 6 months ago

Is this your true self?

I had thought you were more intelligent and balanced than that, even if you were a bit conservative.

Scott Drummond 4 years, 6 months ago

And these are the likes that would be put in control of the future of our country.

Scott Drummond 4 years, 6 months ago

Actually, Born, I didn't do any such thing in response to this line of posts & that is clear for all to see. Your false accusation doesn't change that.

And my conscience is clear, so I don't fear the Almighty. As I noted, plenty on the right should and we'd all be better off if they started living by Christian principles, rather than faking them for political advantage.

jafs 4 years, 6 months ago

It's really not true that the left wants to remove any and all religion from our culture.

I haven't seen any left wing posts advocating the destruction of churches, or the forbidding of synagogues, etc.

jafs 4 years, 6 months ago

You said get religion out of the "culture".

Liberals may wish to make sure that religion doesn't take over the government, but that's not at all the same thing as removing it from the culture.

jafs 4 years, 6 months ago

No.

They're attempting to stop religious belief from taking over the government, and trying to keep our society as a constitutionally based one, rather than a biblically based one.

People can still think whatever they like, and are still free to maintain whatever religious belief and churchgoing habits they have.

The fact that people have strong feelings about gay marriage is irrelevant if prohibiting it is unconstitutional - they can have those beliefs, but that doesn't give them the right to legislate in that manner.

jafs 4 years, 6 months ago

All interpretations are biased - liberal ones in that direction, and conservative ones in the other direction.

Many changes have been made in our country from the time of the founding, by different groups, and as a result we have a very different country than we started with.

How far back do you want to go? If we go all the way back to the beginning, black people and women didn't have equal rights.

So do you think that the government has the right to legislate against gay marriage? If so, on what grounds?

The founders clearly didn't intend for this to be a "Christian nation" and even said so at various times.

I posed this question on another thread - in what way do you think religion can/should influence government?

NoSpin 4 years, 6 months ago

Good article except for the Rangers prediction. Odds of that happening are much less than your Senate and House predictions.

Don Whiteley 4 years, 6 months ago

The worst thing about punishing the Democrats is that it rewards the Republicans. Both parties need to be taken to the wood shed in a big way! The only thing that has been more harmful to the United States of America than the Democratic party is the Republican party. With the Democratic party now coming closer to representing the Communist party and the Republicans coming closer to representing the Nazi party, neither offers a choice for Americans. Until the US voter wakes up and realizes that neither party represents their interests, we will continue our downhill free fall.

beatrice 4 years, 6 months ago

Whew! For a second there I thought you were going to be out of line and call the Democrats Nazis and the Republicans Communists.

Richard Heckler 4 years, 6 months ago

George W. Bush's presidency cost the country about $11.5 trillion, if we estimate liberally.

During Bush years we've suffered calamities that were bound to damage the nation deeply: two recessions, the most lethal terrorist attacks ever on U.S. soil, the invasion of Iraq on dubious grounds, the near destruction of NY city & Wall Street meltdown.

http://articles.moneycentral.msn.com/Investing/StockInvestingTrading/cost-of-the-bush-era-11-point-5-trillion.aspx

Richard Heckler 4 years, 6 months ago

Tax cuts and deficit spending: $2 trillion

In 2001 and 2003, Bush signed legislation that cut taxes, much to the benefit of the affluent. The first cut was designed to help the economy after the Internet bubble collapsed. The second was to boost growth after the 2001 recession ended.

Kogan estimated the tax cuts have cost the Treasury $1.7 trillion in revenue to date. Of course, that may not be one bit disturbing to the taxpayers who've watched their tax bills go down. The only problem is, the cuts have been critical in opening up the gargantuan budget gap that Obama will face.

Because Bush did not reduce spending, Washington has paid about $265 billion in interest on loans to cover the lost revenue. So the $1.7 trillion in tax cuts really cost around $2 trillion.

Meanwhile, Bush increased deficit spending, incurring more debt service. Bush's expansion of Medicare drug benefits for the elderly, for example, cost around $130 billion, of which $10 billion was debt service between 2006 and 2008, said Kogan, of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

"If some of this spending had been paid for by tax increases, then there wouldn't have been interest costs," he said. "But none of it was. We had tax cuts and spending increases."

In an e-mail, Treasury Department spokeswoman Brookly McLaughlin said Bush's tax cuts had helped the economy by allowing people to keep more of their wages and other earnings, increasing incentives to work, save and invest.

McLaughlin also cited an Office of Management and Budget/Haver Analytics study that compared federal spending as a share of gross domestic product under Bush and Franklin D. Roosevelt. Under Bush, spending grew from 18.4% of GDP in fiscal 2000 to 20.7% in fiscal 2008, the study said. FDR increased spending from 6.3% in fiscal 1932 to 43.6% in fiscal 1944.

grammaddy 4 years, 6 months ago

In 2008 we voted to change the guard. This year we will vote to guard the change. Don't count your chickens before they hatch. I remember a few of you declaring this country "not ready to elect a Black man", but we did it against all odds.Bushco screwed us all BIG TIME and I'm sure he's pretty pleased to see a lot of you blaming it on Obama. Why would you give his party the keys to take us back into the ditch? Social amnesia?

grammaddy 4 years, 6 months ago

Profiling? It's in quotation marks, meaning I was quoting one of our other fear-right-wingnuts. Get a clue Corky. I think I hear a lot of Nancy-Tom and Tinky Winky in your posts. Why don't you all sit down for a nice bowl of tubby custard and watch something besides Faux Noise. You might learn something.

beatrice 4 years, 6 months ago

I'll bet Corky thinks you need to exchange money and get a passport to visit Hawaii.

grammaddy 4 years, 6 months ago

"rampant voter fraud"..Really??? Fear-monger much?

fuel_for_the_fire 4 years, 6 months ago

What!!! 400 hundred pounds of yellow cake uranium was [sic] found and shipped to Canada! OMG!!!!!!!!!!!!! Canada has weapons of mass destruction!!!!!!!!!!!!!! We must invade Canada!! Quick! Dipsy! La-La! Po! Everybody! Follow me!!!!

I'm reminded of a comment by username 1029: "The average American just isn't very smart, and it's important to always be aware of that fact." 23 October, 2009

Flap Doodle 4 years, 6 months ago

In other news: "...Indeed, Obama is conducting himself in a way alarmingly reminiscent of Nixon's role in the disastrous 1970 midterm campaign. No president has been so persistently personal in his attacks as Obama throughout the fall. He has regularly attacked his predecessor, the House minority leader and - directly from the stump - candidates running for offices below his own. He has criticized the American people suggesting that they are "reacting just to fear" and faulted his own base for "sitting on their hands complaining." Obama is walking a knife's edge. He has said that the 3.5 million "shovel-ready jobs" he had referred to as justification for the passage of the stimulus bill didn't exist - throwing all the Democratic incumbents who had defended the stimulus in their campaigns under the proverbial bus..." http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/10/29/AR2010102905966.html?hpid=opinionsbox1

Frederic Gutknecht IV 4 years, 6 months ago

In still other news: Winkie Stank, a.k.a. Skankeekee Wanks, Tom Stewed, Thomas Cubed and Tom D. Boob, has been disappeared for being so very Tommy. Eh? Oh...

And this just in: Political punishment is a result of electoral petulance, omnidirectionally flowing...a flatulent spate of anger, arrogance and ignorance...oozing across the gentry's electric realm of monetary majesty.

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