Archive for November, 2010

A Transformational President

November 15th

Two weeks later the political engine that drives public policy continues to serve up one of the most interesting moments in memory.

Returning to Washington on Sunday after a 10-day Asia trip that was marked by a pair of key setbacks on international economic issues, President Obama said that even though the U.S. has gone through a tough two-year period, America’s preeminent position on the world economic stage has not been forgotten. (Scott Conroy, Real Clear Politics, “Returning to Washington to New Domestic Reality”)

Two years ago when Barack Obama was elected President, there was a widely shared sense that he would be a transformational President.  Indeed, in the sense that he might have meant that, he has been.  Passage of Health Care Reform and recovery from the financial crisis (along with the new Dodd Frank financial regulations) were remarkable legislative achievements.  They are filled with policy change that will reshape core American industries.  At this point it would appear that the green agenda has been challenged and certainly a Cap and Trade and does not appear to be possible in the near future.  So the pattern is not uniform.  Isn’t that to be expected?

But the election of 2010 has conveyed the message that these were not popular historic changes in direction.  Returning from Asia President Obama still stands at a critical crossroads of transformational choices.  But the way forward is not at all certain.

Democratic Coalition Crumbles, Exit Polls Say

November 3rd

Writing in the Wall Street Journal Peter Wallsten and Danny Yadron pointed to one of the stories coming out of the election of 2010 that will be reported again and again in coming weeks.  This may be worth a deep dive.  There are going to be broad implications, not to mention puzzles.  In the aftermath of the 2008 election.  Among seniors 65 years and older Republicans now hold a “large advantage.”  And among white women there is a significant pro-Republican divide and yet after 2008, the two parties were even.  As Wallsten and Yadron write:

Amid deep pessimism about the economy, the coalition of voters that gave Democrats control of Congress in 2006 appears to have fractured.

Preliminary exit polls showed that the party lost ground to Republicans in Tuesday’s midterm elections among women, middle-income workers, whites, seniors and independent voters.

Driving the shift: broad anxiety over the economy, as well as skepticism of big government and opposition to signature Democratic Party policy achievements, such as President Barack Obama’s economic-stimulus package and the health-care overhaul.

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