Shangri Lost

Hopeychange died at 8PM [Boston time] on January 19 2010, one day short of one year old, and we’ve been spared a trillion-dollar energy fiasco and a trillion-dollar healthcare fiasco. So the questions now are, what do the Democrats do?, and what do the Republicans do?

This same sort of rude awakening greeted Bill Clinton in ’94, and he surveyed the landscape, adjusted to the new reality by moving toward the center, governing all of the people (instead of just the Democrats), and was re-elected (in spite of serial sex scandals – or “Bimbo Eruptions” as Hillary called them). Actual healthcare reform is still salvageable during Mr Obama’s first term if he goes about it piecemeal rather than throwing away the car because he didn’t like the hub caps. The more civil the Democrats are, the better for their case.

For the Republicans’ part, they, too, can learn from ’94. Newt Gingrich had a carefully researched list of legislative items (the “Contract for America”) that all polled above 60% approval ratings among likely voters of both parties. In other words, the loyal opposition has to have a clear idea of what alternative agenda it would like to pursue, or they will be correctly perceived as merely obstructionist. Congressional Republicans do have alternative proposals for healthcare – over forty bills were introduced but never allowed out of committee. Maybe now they will be, at least as a basis for discussion. The more civil the Republicans are, the better for their case.

It will be interesting to see if the West Wing is really listening to what the people are telling Washington, or if they are just going to try to shift the focus to something (anything) else. The major problems with healthcare are two – a complete overhaul of 1/6 of the American economy is simply too much government interference into the private sector (the same reason HillaryCare failed); and, this shouldn’t be done before the economy is stabilized.

The nullification of healthcare reform takes an enormous amount of pressure off of the dollar – nobody really believed that this monstrosity was going to be deficit-neutral – so the next thing to address should be an honest attempt to energize job-creation – as opposed to just more political payoffs. There are two keys to job-creation that will alert us to Mr Obama’s seriousness about the subject – government doesn’t create (real) jobs, it allows them to be created; and, small business creates over 70% of net new jobs.

The thing to remember is that job-creation follows wealth-creation (those dreaded profits). We’ll see what happens.

7 thoughts on “Shangri Lost

  1. You are exactly right, and may I say very perceptive. The Obama Admin.’s agenda of Change [or as you prefer to call it, Hopeychange] has been soundly rejected by the “restless masses” of voters. And I wouldn’t argue that obvious point. I might argue the “why” of it with you, though.

    My argument would be that things are not good in America for the average American citizen-voter right now. And every time that happens the good citizen-voters [aka] restless masses look to Washington and the federal government as their scapegoat. And they blame whichever administration is in power for their problems. They all cry en masse, “You need to fix this!”. Which is what happened in 2006 and 2008. The consequences of which we are currently living with. And the restless masses are once again unhappy with the solutions offered since those solutions have not solved their problems [within the period of one year minus one day as you have pointed out] as promised. So now the hue and cry is, “Throw the bums out! Get some new bums in there! And if those bums don’t fix things soon,well then, we’ll throw them out too!” In other words, new bums are the answer.

    And Obama “Messiah” has been supplanted by our new Sen. Brown “Messiah” in the minds of the restless masses. He now has all the answers to our problems. His way will lead us out of the wilderness. I say good luck, Scott Brown. Let’s see if your Superstar status and the agenda that you purport is indeed the solution to “our” problems. Let’s see how long those restless masses give you and your Party to solve those problems. If you’re lucky it will be longer than one year minus a day, but I wouldn’t bet on it.

    And in conclusion, I think your “wise” advice to both political Partys to reconcile their differences and work together (adopt the ‘Publican party’s solutions to those problems) will be as soundly rejected by the opposing Party as the Dem.’s solutions to the problems have been for a year–minus one day. If perchance Washington decides to accept your advice and be conciliatory now that the ‘Publicans have won such a resounding victory and are clearly savoring their moment of triumph; then there will be no need to “throw the bums out” in Nov. In which case you will have to face the unpleasant prospect of Nancy Pelosi being Speaker of the House and Harry Reid being Senate Majority Leader for a few more years…Your worst nightmare come true, I think! LOL.

  2. You’re right, Leah, that the public is impatient with the lack of progress.  But the resounding implications of the Massachusetts election is that they are impatient because they perceive the administration has taken its eye off the ball (jobs, healthcare never polled above the 3rd or 4th concern of the American people) – and is doing so in a particularly ugly way.  Massachusetts (and the public at large) hasn’t turned against healthcare reform, it’s turned against this reform at this time.  I think that was made clear by the signature claim of his campaign – that he’ll stop the madness by being the 41st vote against ObamaCare (not that he had an alternative).  

    I agree that the Democrats aren’t happy about this turn of events, but facts have changed.  If they want to give President Obama his signature issue, they are going to have to accommodate the concerns of the rest of the country (no poll now shows a plurality of Americans favoring what they were doing).  Notice that I only called for civility on both sides, and to scale back the process into incremental changes that can be understood by the people before they stuff it down our throats.  

    I do think that Ms Pelosi will return as the representative of the People’s Republic of San Francisco, and may be re-elected by the Membership as Speaker.  I also believe that the Senate will remain in Democrat hands (though I have revised my estimate upwards to a 6-8 seat net gain by the Republicans), but Mr Reid is toast – Nevada will not send him back to Washington.  

  3. Great news on Reid. If anyone needs to stay home, it would be him. Too bad we can’t give Nancy the boot too.

    I like to think positively. I wouldn’t be all that shocked to see the house turn over in 2010.

  4. You’ve alluded to the House turning over in 2010 before, TV, and I would like to believe that, but I just can’t see the Democrats blindly continuing to march after Massachusetts.

    For one thing, individual Members have taken Massachusetts seriously – I have heard more than one say “if it can happen there, it can happen anywhere” (read: my district). Just Thursday, Ms Pelosi came out and said that she didn’t have the votes to pass the Senate bill – the easiest way to place something on Mr Obama’s desk. And the Senate now doesn’t have the votes to pass whatever the House produces in conference.

    Scott Brown actually provides an opportunity for Democrats to save some of their jobs by actually listening to their constituents.

  5. I won’t be sorry to see Reid go. I think he’s been a lousy Majority leader. I don’t know who the Dems would pick as his replacement. Give me some names and possibilities would you EW?

  6. Much of it depends entirely on what attitude the Senate wants to take going forward. Dick Durban is next senior (Deputy Majority Leader) and would continue the combative approach. Someon like Lamar Alexander would represent a more accommodating approach (and no, I don’t mean “do it our way”, I mean open to listening to non-liberal ideas).

  7. Thanks, EW. I like and respect Lamar Alexander and I wouldn’t be averse to his being picked as Majority Leader. But I would prefer that the position go to Dick Durban–his positions on most things more closely correspond to mine.

    I’ve watched a couple of his Senate speeches on C-Span and was impressed by his ability to refute several of the ‘Publican’s charges made against the Healthcare debate. His explanation as to why the Bill included a provision to eliminate the private Medicare Advantage insurance plans was brilliant and the truth, IMO. Also, his defense of why John McCain’s attempted bid on the Senate floor to vote against the final version of the bill on the grounds that it would be unconstitutional was also convincing.

    Last weekend Durban was on Face the Nation and when Schieffer asked him how he would reply to the ‘Publican charge that the Dems. had shut the ‘Pubs out in the debate and wouldn’t consider any of their proposed Healthcare solutions, he made the point that in the Senate the ‘Pubs had introduced 144 amendments to the Bill and every one was debated and voted on. That was one of the reasons that the bill took so long to finalize in the Sen.

    Just some of the reasons why I’d like to see Durban get the job if it comes to that.

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