Administration Expectations

I’m more interested in what happens after Inauguration Day than what happens on Election Day. As much as I want Obama out of office, I wonder how much it would really matter if he loses. My own sense is that his election is all about who is going to be holding the bag of shit when it finally breaks.

As I’ve said in another thread, I think Romney is going to win on Tuesday (assuming that the ballots are all counted and there aren’t any court challenges to deal with). I like Romney and even favored him in 2008. Not that I had any special love for anti-gun, big capitalist, Mormon governors from liberal states. I simply thought he was the best qualified because of his executive experience. His positions are a bit (to put it mildly) flexible and I can easily see him being a Bush-style disappointment on the domestic policy front. But I’m not here to give reasons to vote for or against him. Hal has done an utterly thorough job of it already. Obama could win too, sure. Sometimes my foresight is blinded when I confuse what is happening with what I hope will happen. It’s why I try to stay emotionally unattached. Maybe enough people believed Bill Clinton when he said at the DNC that nobody could have reversed the damage in four years and Obama will pull it together if we just give him another term.

One of these two assholes is going to win, that’s all we know. If Romney wins, he comes into office with a Democratic Senate Majority (or Minority, not sure what to expect here) Leader who has already vowed not to work with him. He will also have a hostile press that will suddenly start noticing again how jacked up our economy and foreign policy are. The potential for a quagmire is limitless. What can he do?

Obama will suffer with an uncooperative House and maybe a Senate. Reid has been, at best, unhelpful to Obama so I have to wonder how much good it would do for Democrats to hold the Senate with an Obama win. Worse, if he wins, it will because of the angry, fearmongering campaign he ran. The divisiveness is not going to fade away just because he squeaks by in a narrow win. Bush made this mistake in 2004 and paid for it dearly the minute he tried to accomplish anything. He was right that something needed to be done, but the other side found that it was better and safer to reject compromise. They turned out to be right–for their own political gain.

Traditionally, presidents in their second terms face scandals and don’t seem to accomplish much. Reagan had Iran/Contra, Clinton had his privates made public, and Bush was simply ground down by Iraq and Katrina. Obama already has Benghazi percolating, even though most of the news media is helpfully keeping the story quiet and not asking a lot of pesky questions until the election is safely over. Obama will do what what he has been doing for the past two years: throwing up executive orders with zero permanence beyond 2016. I suspect that if he wins, he’ll leave a hollow legacy and ultimately destroy the Democratic brand for at least 12 years (to the extent he hasn’t already; we’ll know soon enough).

That’s not a reason to want him to win, but it just highlights the impossibility for either one to accomplish anything with his bag of shit. That bag contains the long-awaited double-dip recession, more credit downgrades, the possibility of inflation, rising threats overseas, and on and on and on. Gridlock is great when we want to avoid the kind of populist overspending that drives us further into debt, but when the government is so dysfunctional that it refuses to pass a budget for four years even as credit agencies continue to warn it about its recklessness, we should worry.

The questions I have are:

1. Are Americans just too divided and partisan to work with those on the other side of the aisle to solve major policy problems? If so, we are well and truly fucked.

2. What sacrifices does each side need to make to effect a Great Compromise to seriously address the economic and debt crisis? I say that the GOP needs to allow some of the Bush tax cuts to expire since they’re clearly not having any stimulative effect at this point while the Democrats need to give up some of their sacred cows.

3. What the hell is it going to take to get away from this 47% vs 47% nonsense where both parties favor their base and win elections by lying to independents? Are we really that divided or is there common ground somewhere?

Recently, Matthew Dowd wrote a fantastic article about the need for a “peace accord” after the election between divided Americans and I like his thinking. We are way too obsessed with seeing points scored against the other side while ignoring the fact that nobody is driving the bus. This isn’t going to change just because Romney or Obama wins and will only get worse if the outcome is seen as questionable. Somebody needs to win BIG and it just isn’t in the cards.

But how do we do this peace accord thing? Are there any people in government/media/anywhere who have the credibility and know-how to even negotiate this? We can’t seem to quit looking past getting our team into office to realize that the people we elect aren’t governing.

I’ll do my part and turn out to vote, but I’m keeping my expectations safely low until I see evidence that the electorate even wants leadership. Right now, I’m not seeing it and that’s why we’re going to be stuck with nothing but the fool who wins.

Rahm Emanuel was right about not letting crises “go to waste” and it’s obvious that nothing is going to happen until disaster is staring us in the face. In the end, I guess I’m only voting for Romney because I’m less afraid of what he’ll do with it. Anyway, sorry to fill your weekend with darkness!

Comments are closed.

  1. richtaylor365

    This “peace accord” stuff is over rated. Being accommodative to the other side as they drive this nation over a cliff, all for the sake of amity, is foolish. If you have a clear vision and a plan for restoring fiscal health, throwing your lot in with that group which is working against those ends regardless of their intentions is counterproductive. I get being respectful and courteous, but if they are wrong (and they are), colluding in their folly, all for the sake of getting along, phooey on that.

    Expecting Romney to change the culture of Washington (exactly what Obama said he was going to do) will only disappoint. Here is what I want Romney to do in his first term;

    Repeal Obamacare
    Reform the tax code
    Lower marginal and corporate rates for all except the ultra wealthy
    Get the federal government out of the oil/car/banking business; get them out of the picking winners and losers business
    Implement a hiring and wage freeze for all government organizations
    Provide incentives to all government heads who can reduce year over year budgets
    Expand drilling on all lands, period, and build that damn pipeline
    Stop printing money willy nilly, ease up on the QE stuff, and get the fed on board to stabilize our currency

    I’m sure I’ll think of more later but let’s get this stuff done right away.

    Thumb up 5

  2. Kimpost

    I wouldn’t count on anything of that to happen. Unless the Republicans get the predidency and the senate, which isn’t very likely (again, looking at polls). Perhaps some kind of deal could be made on taxes, though, but I’m not seeing anything revolutionary.

    Thumb up 2

  3. Thrill *

    I get being respectful and courteous, but if they are wrong (and they are), colluding in their folly, all for the sake of getting along, phooey on that.

    I’m not talking about manners. I want everyone to be adults and work things out by understanding that compromise is not a dirty word. You have a great list there of OUR agenda items, but you’re not going to get a tenth of it without the other side demanding something in return. Nothing is getting done on the budget because both sides have dug themselves in over taxes.

    You’re accusing the other side of running us off the fiscal cliff, but OUR side was doing that just fine by itself up until 2007. If we’re going to make the serious reforms you want, it will have to be popular and bipartisan. Otherwise, we’re going to end up with a one-sided policy like Obamacare itself.

    Thumb up 5

  4. Shiftuser

    II am just waiting for the total collapse, really. It is a matter of time and degree more than if and what. Inflation is already eating away at what tiny bit of economic security remains for those of us fortunate enough to have remained employed. When I go to Wal-Mart and buy a couple of small bags of necessities and it costs me $65.00, I ask what the hell do I have here that is worth over 2/3 of a $100.00?!

    Anyone who is not stocking up or who has not developed a plan for surviving the second great depression is really going to be caught in the maelstrom of out of control circumstances. We are all caught in the gravitational pull of consequences that have been attaining mass for the last 80 years or more. We are at the edge of the event horizon and we do not have the thrust or power to accelerate our way out of the void. Eventually the fiscal/social/political pull will not be able to be overcome and we are going to plunge into the crushing maw of a black hole of our own design.

    What everything looks like when we come out on the other side is anyone’s guess…but my suspicion is that it will be a world where liberty and freedom are ideals of an alternate universe and mankind reaches back into its nightmare nature of self-hatred, self destruction and warring genocide.

    Neither Romney nor Obama can prevent what is about to happen, the only difference is which one has the moral certitude to lead us to a better place after it does happen.

    Thumb up 6

  5. richtaylor365

    What the other side demands is really of little consequence to me. You said it yourself, Harry Reid is not giving an inch, ever, to think you can work with folks like that, ridiculous. No, right now (and maybe it’s more personal then it should be) I want our side to adopt the Barack Obama method of government as illustrated in the health summit when he bitch slapped McCain with ,”Look John, I won, you lost, we are going to do what we want”.

    Romney is not going to get an ounce of cooperation from the dems, that is obvious. It would be nice if we could get the super majorities that Obama had so we could just lock their ass out of Washington all together, like he did with us. But since this is not going to happen, sure, compromise on some issues, but do it from a position of facilitating what we want, not that we should be nice to them, they would cut our throats in a second.

    Obama got elected and got a mandate from the people because he was the antithesis of the last guy, it can work again. All that redistribution crap, the class warfare, the out of control spending, the people want and deserve better. Stuff like energy independence, tax relief, putting the brakes on governmental spending, most people see the wisdom of these things, tapping into the sentiment to get it done should not be all that hard even without the likes of Harry Reid.

    Thumb up 4

  6. Seattle Outcast

    The senate will likely remain Dem controlled, the house is still going to be GOP territory – I think the level of disgust and hatred aimed at the WH will diminish on BOTH sides of the aisle in both houses once adults finally take over from Obama/Jarrett and their little coterie of amateur Marxists.

    What I do expect to see is a repeat of Clinton’s exit, where the outgoing assholes did their best to be juvenile delinquents and vandalize things. Actually, I expect Obama/Jarrett to be much worse – this group of assholes seems particularly petty, thin-skinned, and petulant. Getting ousted is going to drive them to the point of screaming.

    Thumb up 6

  7. Miguelito

    You know, I hope Romney wins (not that I think he’d be a great president, but anything is better then Obama at this point) but unless it’s a big win, it probably won’t happen. I bet that any close races will be stolen through boxes of ballots being ‘found’ and through shenanigans like we saw in FL in 2000, just a lot worse.

    Along with what SO says, if Romney does win, I don’t doubt Obama will likely pull some really bad shit in the last days. I’d bet some crazy pardons and possibly trying to pull off some stuff via exec orders, basically in a tempter tantrum.

    Thumb up 2

  8. Thrill *

    Shiftuser says: November 3, 2012 4:06 pm at 4:06 pm (UTC -4)

    This expresses what I see coming too and you expressed it well. It’s a bag of shit ready to burst.

    Thumb up 0

  9. West Virginia Rebel

    Romney is a competent guy and that has shown in his campaign. IMO the best we can hope for is a kind of caretaker presidency, with Romney as a benign CEO who doesn’t get too involved.

    Repeal Obamacare: Probably won’t happen unless there’s a Republican Senate and that won’t happen until at least the next midterms if at al. Romney will most likely focus on getting rid of the mandate if it isn’t revisited by the Supreme Court first.

    The Great Divide: This might actually be easier for Romney to deal with-Romney is not George W. Bush or Obama in thinking that he can automatically get everything done by virtue of a win. Again, Romney might be served best by not getting too involved and leaving parliamentary fights to the Congresscritters and taking credit when things go his way.

    To top it all off, there’s this to ponder.

    Thumb up 0

  10. Thrill *

    What the other side demands is really of little consequence to me.

    I hate to bring generational theory into it, but that is the baby boomer “politics as war” mentality that’s brought us to the current stalemate. We’re all locked up and I don’t think we can win until a new, great coalition is formed. One side or the other is going to have to relent on some things to make it.

    We can choose it or be forced by circumstances.

    I want our side to adopt the Barack Obama method of government as illustrated in the health summit when he bitch slapped McCain with ,”Look John, I won, you lost, we are going to do what we want”.

    WHY???? It was a terrible idea and he flushed his message completely down the toilet with it. In 2010, he was repudiated because he scared the Right to death and brought the full force of the TEA Party onto his own head.

    Obama got elected and got a mandate from the people because he was the antithesis of the last guy, it can work again.

    But he governed just like him. Is this what we want more of? The GOP needs to be more than just the anti-Democrats.

    One way or another, Majority or Minority Leader, we’re stuck with Harry Reid for four more years. I don’t see how we manage with nothing coming from the Senate for Romney’s entire term. I think we have to negotiate or brutally force everything through and accept the same consequences the Democrats did.

    Thumb up 1

  11. Thrill *

    IMO the best we can hope for is a kind of caretaker presidency, with Romney as a benign CEO who doesn’t get too involved.

    Like Obama.

    Romney will most likely focus on getting rid of the mandate if it isn’t revisited by the Supreme Court first.

    That would destroy the health insurance industry. To knock out Obamacare, you have to kill the coverage for pre-existing conditions. That will be a nightmare.

    Again, Romney might be served best by not getting too involved and leaving parliamentary fights to the Congresscritters and taking credit when things go his way.

    Again, like Obama. I don’t agree with this. A president has to lead his own party, carry his agenda through Congress, and use his big microphone to get the team in line.

    Thumb up 2

  12. Thrill *

    I’d bet some crazy pardons and possibly trying to pull off some stuff via exec orders, basically in a tempter tantrum.

    DEFINITELY some EO’s. He’ll leave Romney with something that he’ll have no choice but to rescind and then Romney will get hammered for it. Clinton did this to Bush with his last-minute EO’s on environmental protection.

    He’ll be a bastard in defeat, like Predator detonating a suicide bomb to kill Dutch.

    Thumb up 3

  13. richtaylor365

    WHY????

    Because we need to right the ship NOW, nibbling around the edges just ain’t gonna cut it. I already admitted that Romney will not get the majorities needed to implement what I want, but I can still want it and hope for it in the future. I (and Romney by proxy) have a vision for what I want this country to look like. Obama got to go “all in”, I wish Romney the same opportunity.

    The GOP needs to be more than just the anti-Democrats.

    No worries there, they have been all along. The ideas of smaller government, lower taxation, the entrepreneurial spirit unleashed, and self reliance have been around before Obama was born, to say that this message is reactionary to what the dems have done misses the mark by a mile. If anything it makes the message even more salient.

    Thumb up 1

  14. dbaggins

    Speaking as a Canadian watching this US election process from the outside, I would say that this has been a fairly interesting couple of months. I myself would like to see a Romney victory given that my leanings tend to fall more on the socially liberal, fiscally conservative side which I feel describes him in a nutshell rather accurately (even though I think the reality is that social issues have never been a huge deal for Romney and he’s completely fluid on them which means you more or less default to a liberal stance in a place like Massachusetts).

    I dislike the fact that Romney has had to adopt the party’s line on social issues to get the nod because I think the man could have run a much better race simply on the platform of cleaning up your domestic economy and restructuring it properly to be competitive on the global scale, especially given his credentials in the private sector. This really leads to my biggest issue with the current US political process which is that under the existing two party system, it seems impossible for someone to get come in on a platform focused purely on the economy without having to adopt either party’s line on social issues even if their past conduct and current beliefs stand completely in contrast of those views. The parties should be flexible enough to nominate people who don’t see eye to eye with it on certain issues especially when their area of expertise and focus may be exactly what the country needs in a very trying time.

    My question is, if the GOP had a candidate who was well articulated in economic issues and well suited to enact much needed reforms in that area, could he/she still run a meaningful campaign and gain the necessary support in the party base to win even if they differed with the party on key social issues like abortion, birth control and gay marriage? Keep in mind that I think the democratic party suffers from the same exact issues but I’m only framing the question this way because the site is called right thinking.

    Also rich, I should probably qualify quickly on the pipeline and drilling issue. I’m in agreement with you that those things should largely stay a state issue but the current dearth in drilling activity in the US is mostly related to lower gas prices which has made the majority of shale gas in your country uneconomic. That will likely stay the case for the foreseeable future unless the supply demand picture improves for the commodity which will either require more domestic consumption or a means of actually exporting large quantities to markets where demand is better. As for the pipeline (I’m assuming its Keystone) part of the issue is also due to the fact that a large chunk of the proposed line would actually be in Canada and there have been a fair share of hangups there as well which have contributed to a slowdown in that process.

    Thumb up 2

  15. Kimpost

    I notice that most people are talking about what to expect from a coming Romney administration. Positive thinking, perhaps? Because, unless we are to believe that most polls are wrong, Obama is favoured to win. Certainly his chances seem good enough not to rule out the possibility.

    Anyway, regardless of who the winner is, I’m actually not as pessimistic as some here. The coming four years will be better than the previous have been.

    I also imagine that public pressure will protect us/you (mostly you, but come on, what the worlds only superpower does, matters to everyone) from the kinds of gridlocks we have seen the last year or so. The first test will be avoiding the year ending fiscal cliff. I actually think that it will be handled better than last time around, regardless if Obama is on his way out, or if he’s about to stay. Granted, handling it worse would take some effort.

    I also think that we’ll see some kind of long term deal regarding deficit reduction. The deal will have to involve painful compromises for both parties. Unfortunately for Republicans some taxes will have to go up and defence spending need to go down. Unfortunately för Democrats some pet projects have to be downsized, even ones they think are worthy. Both parties will have to trust each other, as well as future congresses, but what’s new in that? I think it can be done, and that it will be.

    Thumb up 2

  16. Thrill *

    I notice that most people are talking about what to expect from a coming Romney administration. Positive thinking, perhaps?

    Don’t read too much into it. We already know what to expect from a second term Obama Administration: paralysis.

    Both parties will have to trust each other, as well as future congresses, but what’s new in that?

    The only thing I would say is new is that their inability to do all of this up to this point is accelerating us into disaster. I don’t believe they’ll do any of what you propose until it’s in full catastrophe stage. I expect good leaders to prevent shit from happening, not enable it.

    Thumb up 0

  17. ilovecress

    Don’t read too much into it. We already know what to expect from a second term Obama Administration: paralysis.

    The FT agrees:

    On Wednesday morning the US will probably awaken to wonder what the fuss was about. In all probability, Barack Obama will be the next president, the Senate will remain narrowly Democratic and the House will still be comfortably Republican. Which is to say that after the better part of two years – and $6bn in election spending – roughly 130m American voters will barely have tinkered with the worst gridlock in recent history.

    It might feel as if an elephant has just given birth to a mouse. But in terms of the White House, it will still be by far the least bad outcome.

    I think a Romney administration might not have quite the same problem, as the Dems will lack leadership in a post Obama future they haven’t exactly planned for. Having said that, I’m not sure exactly how much change (outside of Obamacare) that Romney is actually proposing. And all this is assuming that nothing takes his attention away from the economy (foreign policy, or disaster relief of something)

    Thumb up 0

  18. ilovecress

    Did you read that cracked article about statistical election predictors? Obma wins on Halloween masks, School Elections, Olympics host experience, and Oscar winners.

    Although the Redskins make a persuasive argument. As does all the liberal reporting of the long lines at the polls…..

    Thumb up 0

  19. Thrill *

    Yeah, you know I love Cracked. The Redskins Rule has successfully predicted every election since FDR was in office except one.

    The Halloween mask one has only been around since 1996. Not sure about the others, but it’s downright freaky-deaky how dependable the Redskins Rule is.

    Thumb up 0