So the pendulum has swung back to the Republican side, right? The Democrats had their moment of glory in 2008 and now the President and Congress are as popular as anal polyps. The American people have abandoned Obama and the only thing that remains is to sit back and wait for the Republicans to pick up 150 seats in Congress next fall.

This is what the right believes, which is the surest possible indication that it won't happen. The left, accustomed to being to American politics what the Luftwaffe is to the History Channel, is starting to believe it too. My, how rapidly all that optimism from a year ago has faded. Jeebus. Obama has a rough spell eight months into his presidency and we can hardly hear over the hysterical pant shitting.

The false equivalency of giving 50% + 1 of the airtime and column space to ratings-magnet conservative nutbars (not to mention radio, which is essentially 100% wingers) creates the deceptive impression that there is an army of teabaggers ready to conquer the nation from within – and that untold millions more fully support them from the safety of their suburban castles. As usual there is only one problem. The facts bear little resemblance to that "reality" that Beck and Hannity are working so hard to create.

Generic Democrats are still beating generic Republicans in House 2010 races. Obama's favorables exceed the negatives by a good margin. 78% of the public (78%!!!) believes that the health care system needs "fundamental reform" or a "complete rebuild." Glenn Beck's favorables are a whopping 24% Some kind of health care reform package – most likely a toothless one that will upset liberals far more than get-the-guns-the-gubmint-men-is-comin' conservatives – is virtually assured of passing at this point, denying the talking point of the President's dramatic failure. But keep talking about that Olympics thing like it represents the utter collapse and humiliation of the President and his presidency; it's really working!

Is 2010 going to be wine and roses again for the Democrats? I doubt it. It would be absolutely unprecedented to have a third consecutive election with gains similar to 2006 and 2008. It's far too early for any predictions to be useful, but history tells us that the President's party will have some House losses – 20? 25? – but the Senate landscape is such that the GOP will have trouble making headway in the best of circumstances (more to come soon!). Sure, we know that generic polling and public opinion on specific policy proposals are unstable creatures and we shouldn't be calling Vegas to bet the house on another Democratic rout. But while Glenn Beck and your drunken Uncle Jim and your asshole coworkers are kicking back and waiting for a repeat of 1994, the rest of us can kick back and wait to hear the excuses they'll hurl at us when it doesn't happen.

9 thoughts on “THE SURGE”

  • Republicans are essentially like 60% of Yankees fans these days: Obnoxious, loud-mouthed blowhards who pine for the past but know little of the facts. They are living in 2000. A lot of them are simply overwhelmed by the seismic shift in voting recently. How many Cons thought North Carolina, Colorado, or Indiana would go blue last year? My Republican uncle pines for the days of W. Why? Because he watches Fox News 5 hours a day. All of his points are recycled garbage that anyone with a passing interest in politics has heard 688 times. It's the same shit, different day. I've heard opium hallucinations with more sense and clarity than anything I have heard coming from my uncle's mouth in the last 6 years concerning politics. Until these people read a fucking book not authored by creatively bankrupt losers, these wingnuts are going to be stuck in their deranged version of the good old days of the early aughts.

  • Aslan Maskhadov says:

    Obviously the republicans need to find new candidates; I don't believe that Palin will help them in 2012. But one cannot discount the effect of progressive disillusionment with politics. While the right gets politicized, the left is going to be justifiably pissed off. Like I often say, when Republicans win, they win- what they want happens. Democrats now have a bulletproof majority yet they pretend to be just as powerless as they were pre-2006. There will definitely be effects from this.

    That being said, the GOP's courting of the insane lobby will also have the unintended effect of driving a good deal of their base toward nutcases like Ron Paul, thus splitting their votes in 2012.

  • I was just thinking about this this morning. I think the notion that the President's party looses seats in the midterms has become so ingrained in common political wisdom these days that it becomes a self fulfilling prophecy.

    Moderates have been hesitant to embrace the President's agenda for fear of the pendulum swing. This contributes to the current situation where everyone says "Obama isn't getting anything done". The reality is Congress isn't getting anything done because moderates are slowing down and weakening everything. Then at midterms, you have frustrated voters on an anti-incumbency bent because of the lack of progress.

    Instead of being afraid of the big gains Dems made last November, moderates should have embraced it and take the approach "you may not agree with everything we do, but you can't disagree that Congress actually got something done for once".

    I'm tired of all the pussies in Congress. Embrace an issue, and argue for it, rather than running afraid from the batshit crazy teabaggers.

  • The dems are just like the rethuglicans- they have to balance their need for public support with their need to placate their corporate backers. They aren't being pussies, just doing their job as corporate lackeys.

  • You leave out the worse part: that Lefties act like it's true too often, too. Nobody knows how to relax.

    P.S. Is the tiny print a statement of some kind? It's killing me.

  • I'm with Aslan. Any republican gains will be more about Left-wing apathy than right-wing gains in popularity. I'm about as plugged-in to politics as anyone I know and I'm totally disgusted with the Dem leadership and disappointed with Obama's performance. There's a big difference between "not having enough time to fix Bush's mess" and "actively seeking to continue failed Bush policies", which is what I see.

    Too much more of this will lead people generally to believe what the cynics already say… there's really no difference between the parties and they're all equally bought and paid for by the corporations.

  • The Republicans have figured out how to energize their base in a similar fashion Obama did during the 2008 presidential election. That is to appeal to the emotions of their followers, rather than their logic. When you anger a Republican, they are unable to process information that is counter to their current position and discredit it.

    Glenn Beck has angered the right-wing and has led them to become brainless zombies against Obama at any cost. It doesn't matter what Obama says, they are against it. No matter how many leading scholars, advisers, and prominent officials support Obama's proposed policies, the followers of Glenn Beck will not listen. This has essentially secured their vote in the next cycle of elections.

    Liberals look to facts to make their arguments more concrete, while Conservatives look to their past experiences and their images of "America" to make their arguments. This is just how people think. It is psychological, not necessarily political.

    But unlike conservatives, liberals don't hide behind the flag while spouting lies and crying on national television.

  • I think we're in a lot of trouble if 24% of people actually agree with Glenn Beck. I'd be a lot happier if there were just 24 _people_ who agreed with him.

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