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Thursday, November 5, 2009

Spin

While channel surfing last night I got to listen to several Democratic spin artists discussing the previous day's elections.

On Fox News Nancy Pelosi was shown declaring election day a huge victory for the Democrats since they had won two Congressional seats. (She didn't mention the two resounding victories by Republican gubernatorial candidates.) Pelosi even willed her Botoxed face into a grotesque caricature of a smile.

On MSNBC Markos Moulitsas said that what he took away from the election was that NJ gubernatorial candidate Jon Corzine, who received Obama's help, was defeated by a smaller margin (49-44) than VA Democratic candidate Creigh Deeds (58-41), which meant that the election results were not a repudiation of President Obama's policies at all.

Earlier on MSNBC, Chris Matthews had on Michael Steele, the Republican Party chairman, yet would only discuss the results of the upstate NY Congressional race, which Matthews felt illustrated the disorganization of the Republicans. (That particular race did, but Chris, wasn't there a larger message the voters sent?)

It's not as if Republican spin artists are any better.

The day I hear a party operative (usually identified as a Democratic or Republican "strategist") say, on TV, "Yes, the electorate sent us a strong message yesterday. We really have to take a long, hard look at our policies and think about what we're doing wrong," I'll be a happy man.

But it would be a fleeting happiness, because hearing that would probably give me a heart attack at the same time.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

I went through a similar process and saw the same thing. What worries me is that an increasing proportion of Americans (who probably represent a majority) seem to be disenfranchised as the major parties retreat to their increasingly polarized dogmas and political base. In the absence of a centrist party, perhaps we will have a more volatile process of politics and policy swings as we go forward.

My sense as an "outsider" to US politics is (perhaps because I am sitting in northern New England) that the majority can be loosely described as:
1. Fiscally conservative. EG "I want the government to borrow, tax and spend less"
2. Socially tolerant, if conservative.
3. Pragmatic. EG "I'm not a fan of big borrowing/spending, but we needed some stimulus." OR "I'd prefer to keep the government out of health care and finance, but the ways things are working badly in health care and Wall Street, I can see that we need some new regulation."

In that light, I see the recent elections as an independent electorate voting against the extremes and dogma of the parties and in favor of common sense and competence.

I look forward to your views.

G

Anonymous said...

John,
Great post,along with "G"s response. Both parties better get their head and ass wired together. The majority of us have finally started to wake up and pay attention to what is going on. The next set of elections will be interesting and possibly entertaining to say the least.
Mad Dog

John Craig said...

Guy --
Thanks for your comment. You've just outlined the basic problem with a two party system: there's only room for two parties, and the leaders of those parties can do whatever they want, unafraid of third party challenges, all of which have failed miserably in this country. All John Anderson ('80), Ross Perot ('92), Ralph Nader ('00 and '04) ever accomplished was to tip the balance in favor of one of the major party candidates.

I do think you're right about your #1 and #3, I suspect that your impression of #2 is a function, as you say, of being in New England. Outside (inside?) the coasts I think there is less social tolerance. But I have to disagree with you, at least partially, about Tuesday's election. Yes, it was a vote against an extreme, but it was the Democratic extreme it was voting against, not the Republican extreme (otherwise the result wouldn't have been as it was).

I think the electorate, at least the independents, have discovered that what they thought they were getting in Obama -- a moderate, post-racial President who would work with the Republicans -- is not what they got, at all. He is, at heart, a radical leftist, and the only area where he has departed from that is his support of Wall Street, and I suspect that's because Goldman and JP Morgan donated so much money to his campaign.

John Craig said...

Tom (Mad Dog) --
Thank you. (The comment above was a response to Guy, not sure why they get printed in the order they do sometimes.) My guess is, the 2010 elections are going to be a reprise of 1994, a blowout for the Republicans. But we have a whole year till then, if Obama gets us out of Afghanistan and the economy is back on track by then, maybe not.