A Great Time for Democrats

What a great time to be a Congressional Democrat! Buoyed by President Obama’s immense popularity, Senators and Representatives are expected to ride the President’s coat tails to victories this November. By the time it’s all over, Democratic majorities in both houses of Congress should be even greater than they are today.

How did we get here? Democrats in Congress deserve much of the credit themselves, for the passage of several significant pieces of legislation even in the face of Republican opposition. But the ultimate credit belongs to the President, who has successfully navigated the Party through the difficult waters of the past two years.


Let’s start at the bottom: the economy. Yes, the economy is still in trouble (even though we just learned that the recession officially ended in June 2009). Unemployment is still far too high.

Still, Obama gets credit for saving our economy from a far worse near-certain disaster. Thanks to the President’s “financial stimulus package,” the situation today is far better than it would have otherwise been. At least that’s the consensus among economists, both progressive and conservative. If anything, their most common criticism has been that the stimulus did not go far enough.

Even the government “bail-out” of Chrysler and General Motors, which met with very mixed reviews at the time, now looks very smart — as these companies are out of bankruptcy and well on the road to recovery. And the taxpayers are expected to recoup their investment.

As if that was not enough, Obama led the way to the passage of the most significant financial reform legislation in decades. Among other things, it establishes a Consumer Protection Agency — which should allow the government to better serve as a consumer advocate against corporations. It also limits many of the recent excesses of banks, providing tighter controls of derivative sales and credit card fees. Overall, this is a huge win for the average American.

It doesn’t stop there. The Senate recently passed a long-stalled measure “to aid small businesses with tax breaks and expanded credit, a victory for President Obama after the bill was stalled for months by Republican opposition.” (NYT)

On a related front, President Obama continues his efforts to eliminate tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans.

Health Care

Probably the best place to look for the reasons behind Obama’s popularity is health care reform. Thanks to the passage of this landmark legislation, Americans can no longer be denied coverage because of pre-existing conditions or because of a change in their employment. Plus, millions of Americans who have never been able to afford insurance will now be covered. This is something that has been sought by Presidents, both Democrat and Republican, for more than a century. It took Obama to finally achieve this success. And he did so despite nearly universal opposition from a Republican party that was determined to do everything possible to undermine its passage.

Foreign Policy

While foreign policy has not been at the forefront of this year’s election debates, it’s worth noting that Obama has done admirably well here.

Fulfilling a campaign promise, he has pulled all combat troops out of Iraq — winding down a war that the public has long since wanted to see end.

Afghanistan remains a more difficult problem. Still, Obama has followed through on his campaign pledge to increase troop levels there as part of an overall strategy to stabilize — and ultimately improve — the position there. In his firing of General Stanley McChrystal and replacing him with General David Patraeus, Obama handled an awkward situation with the sort of leadership that even drew praise from Republicans.

Finally, he has rekindled hopes for a peace settlement in the Mideast by getting both Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to meet for negotiations earlier this month.

Supreme Court

In less than two years in office, President Obama has successfully navigated the potentially treacherous political waters of Supreme Court nominations to have not just one but two nominees appointed to the bench. He did this despite the fact that both nominees, Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor, carried the potential “political liabilities” of being women and from minority ethnic backgrounds — and (yet again) faced almost universal Republican opposition.


Not all of the expected success of Democrats this fall is due to the achievements of Obama and the Democratic Party. They have been helped by the failure of Republicans. While neither political party is winning much praise right now, national polls consistently show that Republicans are even less popular than Democrats. They continue to be hurt by their reputation as the “party of no” — intent on blocking anything that Democrats attempt to do, yet offering no alternative vision of their own. And the far right’s views on social issues — such as abortion, gay marriage, religion in schools, and immigration — remain outside of the mainstream.

Obviously, not everything that Obama has done has met with overwhelming approval. Voters remain especially angry about the economy, as they see deficits rising and unemployment not going down. But voters are wise enough to know that Obama’s policies are not the primary causes of these problems. More to the point, Obama is doing much to improve matters. In contrast, Republicans represent a return to the policies that led us down this road in the first place. In the end, this is why Obama and the Democrats will emerge as the big winners come election night this November.

This column was written in an alternate universe. While all the achievements cited here are factually true, it is only in the alternate universe that these achievements have translated into popularity and political success for Obama and the Democrats. In the “real” universe, the situation is quite different.

The reason for this difference has more to do with a political climate that relies on lies and fear rather than on fact and rational thought. I’m not saying that there are no reasonable rebuttals to what I have written here. There are. But the overall story I’ve depicted, the “framing” of the situation, is at least as compelling as the distorted one that is now on the front pages — currently dominated by The Tea Party and the far right. In an alternate universe, one just ever so slightly different from the one we live in, my framing could well be the dominant one. However, it would have to be a universe where Democrats are much more politically adept at getting their message out, where extreme views (on both the left and especially the right) do not dominate the political climate, and where people’s opinions are mainly determined by what is actually true. In such a universe, for example, over 50% of Republicans would not believe that Obama is a Muslim. Conservatives could not get away with branding Obama as a “socialist” (and worse) from the day he took office. This is “spin,” not reality.

Unfortunately, for all Americans, we do not live in this alternate universe.

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4 Responses to A Great Time for Democrats

  1. Dan Kurt says:

    Ted if you really believe the politics you have written you should spend more time away from your computer and join the real world. Below is an article I would suggest you read.

    Dan Kurt
    paste [www.jewishworldreview.com/0910/ahlert.php3]

    Why Dems Are Going Down in November
    By Arnold Ahlert

    http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Unless something totally unforeseen occurs, Democrats are poised to take a real beating in November. Their response to the impending disaster has run the gamut. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi is in denial: “One thing I know for sure is that Democrats will retain their majority in the House of Representatives.” Massachusetts Senator John Kerry is condescending: “We have an electorate that doesn’t always pay that much attention to what’s going on, so people are influenced by a simple slogan rather than the facts or the truth or what’s happening.” President Obama is angry: “It is inexcusable for any Democrat or progressive right now to stand on the sidelines in this midterm election.” Why is the electorate ready to kick Democrats to the curb? Here’s why:

    An “unstimulated” economy. The original Mother of All Stimulus packages, $787 billion dollars, quickly grew to an astounding $865 billion. It wasn’t enough. Congress pumped out another $26 billion in “supplemental” stimulus in August. The results? Unemployment in the private sector remains well above the eight percent Democrats promised, even as public sector workers who support Democrats were rewarded; our Democratically-controlled Congress has amassed more debt in the last four years than nearly the previous two hundred and thirty combined; the Keynesian economic model Democrats stand by is a colossal failure; the Summer of Recovery was a propaganda fiasco.
    The health care bill. The absolute epitome of ideological, public-be-damned arrogance. A horrendous compendium of bribes, exploding bureaucracy, runaway costs, written in secret and unread by those who passed it. It includes a mandate, likely un-Constitutional, forcing people to buy health insurance or pay a fine. The same administration which originally claimed the commerce clause of the Constitution made such a fine possible is now saying that the federal governments’s “power to tax” justifies it. Irrelevant. 60% of Americans want this monstrosity repealed, ASAP.
    The federal lawsuit against the state of Arizona. Again, it’s the arrogance, stupid. Despite all the hectoring from Democrats and the Obama administration about racist this, and xenophobic that, fair-minded Americans recognized four things: people have a right to protect their life and property, and if the federal government can’t or won’t do it, they have a right to do it themselves; the idea that anyone opposing the “rights” of illegal aliens is a bigot is nonsense on stilts; the ruling class in Washington, D.C. is holding genuine border control hostage to “comprehensive reform;” the glaring double-standard of suing Arizona for violating federal immigration statues, even as the feds turn a blind eye to hundreds of “sanctuary cities” with illegal protection directives unquestionably in conflict with federal law.
    The demonization of the Tea Party movement. Take your pick: teabaggers, racists, angry white men, fringe elements, bigots, Astro-turfers, etc. etc. Democrats and the media have tried every one, and every one has been a miserable failure for one overwhelmingly simple reason: decent Americans know they’re decent, and getting insulted by Democrats running the country into the ground has only stiffened their resolve. Progressives want to demonize people who believe in smaller government, fiscal responsibility and a desire to return to Constitutional principles? Why not attack people who believe in guns, and religion too? Oh wait. The president already did that as well.
    A hopelessly compromised media. Air America tanked, CNN is tanking, and ABC, NBC and CBS news programs have been shedding viewers at historically unprecedented rates—even as Fox and the Wall Street Journal prosper. Americans don’t mind people in the media expressing their opinions, as long as they’re characterized as opinions, but they seethe when such opinions are portrayed as “hard news.” They get even angrier when certain stories are “omitted” by those same organizations, especially when Americans recognize such omissions are calculated to protect the progressive agenda. I wonder if it occurs to either Democrats or their media water-carriers that a majority Americans may savor whacking both groups in November. Depressed looks on the faces of Nancy Pelosi and Katie Couric? In theater circles, that’s known as a “two-fer.”
    The Ground Zero mosque. Yet another reminder of the contempt progressives and their media enablers have for ordinary Americans who had the “temerity” to allow their feelings to be known. Despite every attempt to characterize these Americans as Islamo-phobic bigots, the public wasn’t buying, again for one overwhelmingly simple reason: decent Americans once again demonstrated their decency by separating the legality of the project from the appropriateness of it.
    The complete disconnect between the First Family and ordinary Americans. The golfing, the soirees, and the high-priced vacations have created the perception that we are living through another “let them eat cake” moment in history. On Tuesday, the president called the public schools in Washington, D.C. a “‘struggling’ system that doesn’t measure up to the needs of first daughters, Sasha and Malia.” Those would be the same public schools Congressional Democrats tossed 3,300 low-income kids back into when they killed funding for vouchers that had freed those kids from D.C.’s educational ghetto. The First Lady is hectoring Americans to eat healthier. Perhaps more Americans would if they could afford to: the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) stated in their Producer Price Index that the price of food increased 2.4% for March 2010. That’s the biggest increase in almost 30 years.
    The war on terror. A politically correct contingency operation against unnamed insurgents with a specific draw-down date? Democrats once again prove that all the talk about Afghanistan being the “good war” was complete rubbish. They want out, and victory—along with the heroic efforts of our men and women in harm’s way—be damned. Once again: has America ever fought another war where they knew the exact location of the enemy, had the ability to inflict possibly irreparable damage on them—and decided to split the difference instead? If you answered “Vietnam,” another progressively-instigated catastrophe resulting in the deaths of fifty-eight thousand American soldiers and three million innocent Asians, go to the head of the class. And when is that civilian trial of the 9/11 perpetrators scheduled to begin?
    Czars and nationalization. The Obama administration and Congressional Democrats may bristle when Americans call them socialists, but the nationalization of banks, car and insurance companies, student loans and healthcare sure isn’t free-market capitalism. Neither is wiping out oil jobs in Louisiana with a government-mandated ban on offshore drilling—after the feds completely bungled their role in cleaning up the spill which engendered it. Unelected czars who answer to no one but the president, along with out-of-control government agencies such as the EPA have made it clear to many Americans that this administration often considers Congress a completely unnecessary component of governance, especially if they don’t kowtow to the president’s agenda.
    “Unexceptional” America. Progressive contempt for the values and traditions which make this the greatest country on earth can no longer be disguised. An American president who “believe(s) in American exceptionalism, just as I suspect that the Brits believe in British exceptionalism and the Greeks believe in Greek exceptionalism” has made it plain that this is not a great nation which needs tweaking, but a fundamentally flawed one needing a complete progressive make-over. Once one understands this basic premise, everything this administration and Democratically-controlled Congress does makes sense. All of it centers around the ridiculous premise that America owes the world an apology for any number of shortcomings, many of which can only be alleviated by government-mandated “social justice.” That would be the same social justice which demanded—and still demands—that Americans manifestly unqualified to own homes be given mortgages, regardless.
    Unknown to the majority of Americans, this precise mindset was part of the financial “reform” bill which also requires banks to lend a certain percentage of capital to minority-owned businesses, even if it means lowering their lending standards. Apparently progressives won’t be satisfied with their odious social-engineering schemes until every sector of the American economy bears a striking resemblance to the housing sector. So far, Americans support financial reform because it’s been framed as “Main Street versus “Wall Street.” It’s not. Like every other initiative undertaken by this Congress and this administration, it’s the elevation of irresponsible and dishonest Americans over those willing to accept the consequences of their own behavior.
    There you have it. Democratic control for four years in Congress, and two in the White House has been exactly what many predicted: an ideologically-driven disaster of epic proportions. For years, progressives obfuscated their true intentions, because even they knew most Americans couldn’t stomach them. The elections of 2006 and 2008 changed everything. Progressives bought into their own hype, believing they had pulled off a multi-generational transformation of the American mindset. As a result, they showed Americans their true colors: unbridled arrogance, utter contempt for the average citizen’s intellect, and a ham-fisted, never let a crisis go to waste determination to bend the electorate to their will, using government as a club.
    That’s why they’re going down in November. And the most satisfying aspect of the whole scenario is this: despite every attempt they’ve made to blame anyone and everyone else for their problems, they brought it on themselves.
    Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider “must-reading”.

  2. LaurieF says:

    Didn’t read all the way to the bottom, eh, Dan? Then you paste your own biased partisan dribble, which proves Ted’s point.

    Want to try again?


  3. Dan Kurt says:

    Dear LaurieF:

    Don’t write in code. Be specific, if you are not blinded and enraged by your own views, to show where Arnold Ahlert is incorrect.

    It looks a week out from the election that the Democrats will sweep the elections in California. If that happens and California retains Boxer and re-elects Brown, those of us observing from afar will enjoy the spectacle as the Bankruptcy of California unfolds with Brown spending and spending and Boxer being powerless to have the Feds bail out California because of Grid Lock in Washington.

    Dan Kurt

  4. Dan Kurt says:

    Dear LaurieF and Ted:

    You may be interested in this blog:

    California Is Broke – 19 Reasons Why It May Be Time For Everyone To Leave The State Of California For Good

    Back in the 1960s and 1970s, there was a seemingly endless parade of pop songs about how great life was in California, and millions of young Americans dreamed of moving to the land of sandy beaches and golden sunshine. But now all of that has changed. Today, millions of Californians are dreaming about leaving the state for good. The truth is that California is broke. The economy of the state is in shambles. The official unemployment rate has been sitting above 12 percent for an extended period of time, and poverty is everywhere. For many Californians today, there are very few reasons to stay in the state but a whole lot of reasons to leave: falling housing prices, rising crime, budget cuts, rampant illegal immigration, horrific traffic, some of the most brutal tax rates in the nation, increasing gang violence and the ever present threat of wildfires, mudslides and natural disasters. The truth is that it is easy to understand why there are now more Americans moving out of California each year than there are Americans moving into the state. California has become a complete and total disaster zone in more ways than one, and an increasing number of Californians are deciding that enough is enough and they are getting out for good.

    Sadly, the state of California is facing such a wide array of social, economic, and political problems that it is hard to even document them all. It is really one huge gigantic mess at this point.

    Just consider the following facts about what life is like in the state of California today….

    #1 Unemployment in the state of California was 12.4% in September – one of the highest rates in the nation.

    #2 The number of people unemployed in the state of California is approximately equivalent to the populations of Nevada, New Hampshire and Vermont combined.

    #3 Not even state government jobs are safe in California these days. Last month, government agencies in California slashed a total of 37,300 jobs.

    #4 California has the third highest state income tax in the nation: a 9.55% tax bracket at $47,055 and a 10.55% bracket at $1,000,000.

    #5 California has the highest state sales tax rate in the nation by far at 8.25%. Indiana has the next highest at 7%.

    #6 Residents of California pay the highest gasoline taxes (over 67 cents per gallon) in the United States.

    #7 Even with all of the taxes, the budget deficit for the California state government for the current year is approximately 19 billion dollars.

    #8 According to an article in the Wall Street Journal, California’s unfunded pension liability is estimated to be somewhere between $120 billion and $500 billion.

    #9 20 percent of the residents of Los Angeles County are now receiving public aid.

    #10 Budget cuts are making life very difficult in many California cities. For example, Oakland, California Police Chief Anthony Batts says that due to severe budget cuts there are a number of crimes that his department will simply not be able to respond to any longer. The crimes that the Oakland police will no longer be responding to include grand theft, burglary, car wrecks, identity theft and vandalism.

    Things have gotten so bad in Stockton, California that the police union put up a billboard with the following message: “Welcome to the 2nd most dangerous city in California. Stop laying off cops.”

    #11 According to one survey, approximately 1 in 4 Californians under the age of 65 had absolutely no health insurance last year.

    #12 California’s poverty rate soared to 15.3 percent in 2009, which was the highest in 11 years.

    #13 California’s overstretched health care system is also on the verge of collapse. Dozens of California hospitals and emergency rooms have shut down over the last decade because they could not afford to stay open after being endlessly swamped by illegal immigrants and poor Californians who were simply not able to pay for the services they were receiving. As a result, the remainder of the health care system in the state of California is now beyond overloaded. This had led to brutally long waits, diverted ambulances and even unnecessary patient deaths.

    #14 California home builders began construction on 1,811 homes during the month of August, which was down 77% from August 2006.

    #15 Earlier this year, it was reported that in the area around Sacramento, California there was one closed business for every six that were still open.

    #16 The “lawsuit climate” in California is ranked number 46 out of all 50 states.

    #17 Residents of California pay some of the highest electricity prices in the entire nation.

    #18 Over 20 percent of California homeowners are now underwater on their mortgages.

    #19 Large tent cities have been springing up all over the state of California. Just check out the following shocking video news report….


    So why doesn’t the state government of California just fix many of these problems? Well, the truth is that it simply cannot. The state government is flat broke. Earlier this year, Bob Herbert of the New York Times described California’s massive budget problems this way….

    California has cut billions of dollars from its education system, including its renowned network of public colleges and universities. Many thousands of teachers have been let go. Budget officials travel the state with a glazed look in their eyes, having tried everything they can think of to balance the state budget. And still the deficits persist.

    So is there any hope that all this can be turned around?

    Is there any hope that the economy of California will recover?

    Or will California continue to experience a rapid decline?

    Dan Kurt

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