That Election Thing

I haven’t really been talking about the election much, partly because I’ve been busy with real-life stuff and partly because I don’t have much to say that I haven’t said already about the Tea party. It’s hard to argue policy with people who occupy a fictional universe. As for last night, yes, I’m disheartened. I find it especially ironic that Republicans are winning on economic issues when the biggest threat to the economy is a return to Republican policies. I truly fear for the future of this country.

I’ll add that any discussion of whether Obama should have moved more to the “left” or “right” is setting up a false binary. Obama should have pursued a clear and consistent moral argument. Instead, it seemed like his wires were always crossing; he was sending mixed messages, and he allowed Republicans to claim the traditional position of “the left” — that is to say, the underdog, the representatives of ordinary people. Which they most certainly are not. Put that in your pipe and smoke it, pea-headed pundit class.

[Update: Also, I'd say lockstep Republican obstructionism in Congress, which went largely uncriticized by the media, was highly successful at dampening the enthusiasm of Obama supporters. Let's not forget that. I watched the Frontline episode "Obama's Deal" on PBS last night, which really put the ugliness of legislating into perspective.]


  • rina

    I just don’t understand what it is that Americans want. Also, it seems as though peoples’ memories don’t extend as far back as the last administration.

  • Michael Welle

    I think Americans have a real patience problem. I believe, like many other (sensible people) that Obama saved the country from financial ruin. But too many people are still out of work, and apparently want to give the keys back to the guys who drove us into this ditch (who are very effective, along with the tea party at brainwashing the American people–if I hear the word Obamacare one more time…). Anyway, the silver lining to this shellacking is that the Repubs didn’t win the senate–thank God.

  • Paul Healey

    As usual, you sum it up perfectly. I love your clarity as much as I hate the truth of your conclusions.

  • James

    Well, I think acting like folks are a bunch of morons and throwing a temper tantrum is _always_ a good way to get them to see your point of view.

    We have elections every 2 years for a reason. This was a course correction. You can like it or lump it, but you pretty much can’t dispute that the people in about, oh, 60 Congressional districts just gave a pretty resounding “*BLEEP* YOU!” to the President and Democrat Party. Sort of how they did the same thing to the Republicans in 2008.

    Now you can subscribe to the George Carlin theory (i.e., that it really doesn’t matter, there’s no such thing as the American Dream, etc., etc.), the “The American people are idiots! IDIOTS!” theory, or the “Wow, maybe we should’ve figured out something to do with the economy _before_ we lost in places we just shouldn’t be losing in.”

    Personally I’m an independent who thinks we’re doomed anyway (too much mountain filling the windshield, not enough engine power to clear it) so I don’t particularly care which you choose. I would submit, however, if you go with Option Idiot then the combat math of 2012 says you’re going to get a GOP House, GOP Senate, and President Whackjob whose basically going to make that Healthcare “Victory” a Pyhrric one by defunding the whole thing.

  • Jen Sorensen

    James, I don’t think anyone here called the American people “idiots.” I do think we live in a propaganda state that causes people to make idiotic choices. Also, as a reminder, it’s not like the Tea Party doesn’t engage in name-calling.

  • James

    No one used that exact phrasing, no. Stating that the American people are “impatient” or “brainwashed” is, at best, only a couple of degrees off. I would also say the coverage (especially on election night, which I stayed up until 1 AM to watch) and Democrat leaders’ statements before/after had a definite vein of “How could so many people be so stupid?” to it.

    As to the Tea Party does it too, as I say to both sides of the spectrum, “They do it also…” has been the justification for countless atrocities since time immemorial. Yes, there are idiotic Tea Partiers (birthers, I’m looking at you), but I’d say Tuesday is pretty clear evidence that more people agree with their views than the Dems.

    The stimulus, like TARP before it, was a dumb move. I personally think nationalized health care wasn’t a bad idea. However, I think the way the Dems did it (especially with the Nancy Pelosi, in your face gavel walk and “does not take effect until 2013) all but guaranteed the other side was going to be able to demonize it. Add to that the fact that the bill is, quite frankly, a pile of pooh due to all the drug deals made to pass it and I think that the Dems better get a lot better at using persuasion or it’s done. I think Slate said something about winning the Battle of 2010. Let’s just say I think that victory is turning out to be more Coral Sea (tactical victory whose outcome led to a shattering strategic defeat shortly thereafter) than Trafalgar (shattering victory which basically ensured the ongoing war could not be lost).

    Now, thankfully the Dems are opposed by the GOP which has demonstrated a remarkable ability to get amnesia about it’s “principles” whenever it’s in power. This is why keeping the Senate may not necessarily be a great thing for the Dems. Sure, it’s functionally a GOP Senate (really, you think anyone from an even slightly red state is going to follow Harry Reid?) but the fact remains the Dems still have control–and that’s going to lead to even more “Well we tried to pass things, but the Dems wouldn’t let us…” come 2012.

  • Michael Welle

    -GDP growth has been positive for several quarters rising from -7 to +2.
    -Stock market has come back 68 percent since March 9, 2008
    -Admittedly, the jobs are holding steady, but can Democrats fix everything and in 2 years…where is the patience?


    -GOP and Tea Party candidates distorted the benefits of health care:

    Frankly, I would love to see how conservatives would rub it in the faces of Democrats if they unseated Harry Reid. The fact of the matter is that the Dems held the senate, and you can try to twist facts around all day (e.g. “keeping the senate may not necessarily be a great thing for the Dems”) but at the end of the day our party held it’s turf in the Senate. We got hammered in the House, and undesevedly so.

  • Steve Fisher

    I think I’ll go with Idiots here.

    A Bloomberg poll a week before the election revealed that two thirds of the peole polled thought that –

    The economy hasn’t been growing. False — albeit too slowly. But still growing.

    Taxes have been raised on the middle class. False. And that’s not even in the cards.

    TARP money has been permanently lost, and will never be repaid. False –most of it HAS been repaid already.

    James — you say that the stimulus – and TARP — were “dumb moves.” Um — just why?

    TARP — to refresh your memory — was initiated under the Bush administration, NOT under Obama. And, while the idea of bailing out the entities that caused this whole mess to begin with is indeed repulsive, it was necessary to keep the entire goddamn economy from cratering. (Says a lot — not in a complimentary way — about our financial system these days.)

    Stimulus did the same thing. Most reputable economists (even conservative ones — not just Paul Krugman, whom I think is one of the few who truly have a handle on things) agree that without it, we would be in a full-blown Depression right now. (Thanks a lot, President McCain. Fortunately, NOT.)

    But — like Jen — I fear for what’s coming. Once again, we seem to have stepped on our own dicks. (Certainly not the first time.)

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Jen Sorensen is a nationally-published political cartoonist. She is a 2017 Pulitzer Finalist and recipient of the 2014 Herblock Prize and a 2013 Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award.