- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Failure to appeal to the Upper East Side

Roger Cohen, in the New York Times: “On arriving in New York from London, I went to a party on the Upper East Side. It was a well-heeled crowd, almost all Obama supporters a couple of years back. ‘The guy’s a phony,’ one guest said. ‘We need a [Michael] Bloomberg, somebody who can manage,’ said another, referring to the billionaire mayor of New York. ‘All this Clinton nostalgia, it’s because Obama is a loner, not interested in people,’ said a third. I was a struck by how people aren’t sure where Obama’s headed. There’s no narrative to the presidency. It was about believable change. Now the president seems less a passionate change agent than a careful calculator unsure of his core beliefs. In London, you know what Prime Minister David Cameron is about: rowing back the state and slashing the deficit. Agree or disagree, there’s a narrative. It helps.”

Dems are whiney tattletales

Kevin Huffman, in The Washington Post: “Congressional Democrats are so convinced of the Machiavellian super-human strength of their adversaries, they just squandered two years constantly ducking, waiting for the next incoming salvo. The people speak today, and the lessons will be the same ones we all learned in middle school: nobody likes whiners and tattletales.”


The evil media and the idiot box

Tom Engelhardt, in the Nation: “As for the TV set that’s been filling your living room with the sound and fury of an epochal election that may, in itself, signify relatively little, take a moment to consider the context for all the noise. We know how the money went up and we’ve all been watching it coming down. Isn’t it curious, though, how little attention all the commentators, pundits and talking heads on that screen pay to where so much of that money is actually landing? I mean, of course, in the hands of their bosses. Vast amounts of it have come down on the media itself, particularly television. I’m talking about all those screaming ‘attack ads,’ including the ones sponsored by those unnamed outside interest groups, that are probably driving you completely nuts by now, and that the talking heads just love to analyze, show bits of, and discuss endlessly? Those are the very ads enriching the media outfits that employ them in a moment when the news world is in financial turmoil. It is estimated that, for election 2010, the TV ad bill may total $3 billion (up from $2.7 billion in the 2008 presidential campaign year, and $2.4 billion in the 2006 midterms that brought the Democrats back to power in Congress). For the companies behind the screen, in other words, those ads are manna from heaven.”

Indecisive leadership on taxes

Jonathan Chait, in the New Republic: “As the Bush tax cuts approach their expiration date, Democrats continue to wander around in confusion when the most obvious solution in the world is staring them in the face. Imagine ‘American Pie,’ only instead of watching the teenage boys desperately scheme to lose their virginity on prom night, they’re situated in a brothel, with pocketfuls of hundred-dollar bills, and they spend the whole 90 minutes in the brothel lobby debating how to get the girl.”

Sucking up to bankers and elites

Michael Lind, in Salon: “The setbacks Democrats are poised to suffer in the midterm election have to be viewed in a trans-Atlantic context. The backlash against Barack Obama and the contemporary Democratic Party is part of a global wave of popular disapproval of social democratic parties that abandoned their traditional working-class constituents in order to woo bankers and professionals. Parties or coalitions of the left hang on to control in Norway, Spain and Austria. But every major country in Europe - Britain, France, Germany and Italy - is now ruled by the center-right. From the Baltic to the Mediterranean, social democratic parties are crumbling.”

It wasn’t economic failure

Steven Benen, in the Washington Monthly: “Way back in January, with Democrats’ electoral standing faltering, political analyst Charlie Cook insisted Democrats ‘made a colossal miscalculation’ by failing to focus all of their efforts on the economy. ‘Although no one can fairly accuse Obama and his party’s leaders of ignoring the economy, they certainly haven’t focused on it like a laser beam,’ Cook said. [Earlier this week] Cook told Charlie Rose the same thing - if only Dems had ‘focused’ more on the economy, they wouldn’t be in such a mess. I can only assume pundits will be repeating this line, over and over again, for the next several months. … The problem is, ‘focusing’ is not a policy. Immediately upon taking office, President Obama began crafting an economic recovery package, and succeeded in getting one passed. Despite hysterical shrieks - conservatives still believe tax cuts and spending cuts would have been more effective, reality notwithstanding - the stimulus effort worked in improving the economy and preventing a depression. Among credible, independent economists, this isn’t even controversial anymore.”

Never mind, we won the Series

Josh Harkinson, in Mother Jones: “I know. In a depressing election year for liberals, the Giants’ unlikely victory has emerged as the rare silver lining: A way to sock it to all those conservative Republicans who are going to otherwise kick our asses at the polls today. As my colleague Adam Weinstein notes, the long-haired, beard-wearing, ganja-puffing Los Gigantes embody Left Coast rebellion. Meanwhile, former Rangers co-owner George W. Bush was on hand along with his father to root for the Red State home team at Game 4. That San Franciscans got to to rob Bush of a win makes up (a little bit) for the one that he stole in 2000.”