What the "do nothing" Obama is up against

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George Victor

From today's NYTimes:

"Rock the Vote, aimed at getting out the youth vote, is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year. The group acknowledges in promotional material that midterm turnout is historically lower, but it is nonetheless ramping up efforts and has set a goal to register at least 200,000 young voters this year (four times its 2006 registration).

In contrast, older voters do not need much prodding. Nancy LeaMond, AARP's executive vice president for social impact, said: "We have not concentrated specifically on convincing our members that it's important to vote. We don't have to. That's a core value."

History shows that a jump in turnout among young people would be unprecedented in an off-year election. Exit poll data shows that the electorate skews older, particularly in nonpresidential election years. In 2006, 63 percent of those who cast ballots were 45 or older, and in 2008, that same age group made up 53 percent of the electorate, according to exit poll data from the National Election Pool. This group made up about half of the adult population in those years.

"Habitual voters will show up for every election, and the sort of people that are habitual voters are what political scientists consider to be higher socioeconomic status - they are more educated and they also tend to be older," said Michael McDonald, a professor of government at George Mason University and an expert in voter statistics.

In the summer of 1994, Congressional approval was almost as low as it is now, and President Bill Clinton's approval rating was in the mid-40s, much like President Obama's today. While the nation's economy was weak, it was not as fragile as it is today. On Election Day 1994, when Democrats lost control of Congress, only 13 percent of those who voted were under the age of 30."



He's up against his own administration:


The best estimate for the output gap was some two trillion dollars over 2009 and 2010. Because of the multiplier effect, filling that gap didn't require two trillion dollars of government spending, but Romer's analysis, deeply informed by her work on the Depression, suggested that the package should probably be more than $1.2 trillion. The memo to Obama, however, detailed only two packages: a five-hundred-and-fifty-billion-dollar stimulus and an eight-hundred-and-ninety-billion-dollar stimulus. Summers did not include Romer's $1.2-trillion projection. The memo argued that the stimulus should not be used to fill the entire output gap; rather, it was "an insurance package against catastrophic failure." At the meeting, according to one participant, "there was no serious discussion to going above a trillion dollars.






Larry Summers, the man who's policies in the late 1990s, helped lead to the 2008 financial collapse, is still in charge. Along with his toady, Tim Geithner. I guess Obama is powerless to fire members of his own administration.


The failure to have a sufficiently large stimulus has led to the weak recovery. And the Obama administration continues to refuse to push for a large scale public works job program, hoping that there will be a "natural" reovery by 2012. Sacrificing Democrats in 2010 in the process.



so, as this thread is coming to a close, let's just make it unanimous:

- Obama campaigned as a centrist Democrat (cf Pennsylvania primary vs Hillary) and governs as one, despite the odd, self-serving illusions of the US and foreign Left

-  his policies are broadly well intended -- avoiding a Depression, saving auto industry employment in union states (+55,000 jobs in most recent quarter), improving health care 4 decades after Congressional Democrats vetoed any less than perfect public plan, and withdrawing 100,000 troops from Iraq and esp. all troops from Iraqi cities

- he will lose seats mid-term to the fevered Republicans, and like Clinton, this may well galvanize him and his Dem base

- he will likely be in power through 2016 (statistically, sitting Presidents are re-elected), so no need to pout, Naomi Klein-like, for 6 more years.

Mods: now, do your magic !!


George Victor

Strange.  Krugman continues to insist that they have to spend more, Josh.  But then he's skewered by the right if he does, eh?  


What's Krugman have to do with it?  He's been a big critic of Obama's tepid response to joblessness.

George Victor

Dave W:

-" he will likely be in power through 2016 (statistically, sitting Presidents are re-elected), so no need to pout, Naomi Klein-like, for 6 more years.


Tell that to Jimmy Carter. No, Dave, the right beats down hard on decency, and the left walks away in a sulk, the revolution again unrealized.

As for your appeal for a mod and closure...there will be one more salty riposte from the anti-Obama crowd before that happens.

George Victor

josh wrote:

What's Krugman have to do with it?  He's been a big critic of Obama's tepid response to joblessness.

Krugman is correct, but is not in Obama's situation of the tea-party rock and the hard place of liberal opinion.  That is why he's not about to fire members of his own administration.  

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

Closing for length.


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