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How the Democrats Will Govern:

Will the Democrats -- the President-elect and the House and Senate -- be liberal Ted Kennedy Democrats, or moderate Bill Clinton Democrats? That, it seems to me, is the main question.

I was no fan of Bill Clinton, but I was no great detractor of his, either; I think he was a smart guy and a pretty good President, especially when his private appetites didn't interfere with his public policy. He got welfare reform through, he was good on trade, and in general was pretty good as far as his domestic policy went. (In post-9/11 retrospect, we see the flaws in his foreign policy, but we see the same with regard to the pre-9/11 George W. Bush; both parties were no great shakes as to foreign policy in the immediately pre-9/11 era.) If the Obama Administration implements Clintonesque policies, I wouldn't be that worried. If it implements Ted-Kennedy-like policies, I would be worried.

Here's why I think the Clinton option is more likely: 1994, or to be precise the Democrats' awareness of 1994. Remember that in 1992, the Democratic Presidential candidate beat the Republican by 5.5%. (I realize Perot was something of a confounding factor, but it was clear this was a solid victory for the Democrats.) After the election, the Senate was 56-44 (without the shift in the Democrats' favor, but that shift had happened just a few years before). The House was 258-176 (with a slight shift against the Democrats, I realize), and a raw percentage of 49.9% to 44.8%. The Democrats were solidly in control, more or less to the same extent they are now. And then two years later, despite a good economy and no foreign policy problems, they lost both houses.

The Democrats, if they're politically savvy -- and I'm pretty sure they are -- realize that this could happen again in 2010. And this is especially so because of the extraordinarily high turnout this election: In 2010, many of the new voters from 2008 won't vote; it will be a midterm election, the charismatic Obama won't be on the ballot, and we'll be back to normal politics.

My sense is that the Democrats will govern with an eye towards that. Obviously, this gives an extra incentive to do things that are seen as helping the country as a whole, both in domestic and foreign policy. Nothing succeeds like success. If their policies are seen by the country as working, and as compatible with the values of the center as well as of the left, the Democrats will win in 2010 -- and they'll deserve to win.

But the prospect of the 2010 election, in front of a very different-looking electorate than the one that voted in 2008, also gives Democrats an incentive to be relatively moderate, and to avoid both risky gambles and political programs that are seen as benefiting the Democratic base (either materially or symbolically) at the expense of the center.

Jiffy:
And I would add that its appears to be in Obama's nature to seek consensus when possible. While he clearly has some progressive goals, he also seems practical rather than ideological.
11.5.2008 12:12pm
Bruce_M (mail) (www):
The problem is that I think it will take more than 4 years just to undo the damage caused by 8 years of Bush. And Bush still has 2 and a half months left - is he going to slash and burn the country just to spite the democrats and make things harder for Obama, because come January 20th, according to the right-wing radio and those who believe in it, all of Bush's malfeasance suddenly becomes Obama's fault.
11.5.2008 12:17pm
Nate in Alice:
[Post deleted because of personal abuse of fellow commenters. -EV]
11.5.2008 12:21pm
calmom:
2010 will be the first year the Bush tax cuts expire...people will be looking to 2011 and how huge the tax bite will be and rebel.
11.5.2008 12:26pm
PatHMV (mail) (www):
Nate... Obama ran a primarily anti-Bush campaign. He can hardly claim to have a mandate for his own ideas. The country is not screaming "let's replace big government conservatism with big-government liberalism."
11.5.2008 12:28pm
Mac93 (mail) (www):
Quiet in here today :)
11.5.2008 12:33pm
Terrivus:
Another factor is that the "majority" the Democrats have built in Congress has a substantial centrist component -- yet the leadership is all the old liberals from the 1960s and 70s. Think, in the Senate, Tester (MT), the two Virginia senators, etc. And even more so in the House.

At some point, on certain large pieces of legislation that veer from centrism, the centrists are going to either have to break from their party or be accountable to people at home who voted them in precisely because they were a "conservative" Democrat, not the old-style Democrat. In 2010, when there isn't a massive turnout of voters, those politicans will be much more hard-pressed to defend votes that the folks back home don't care for.

On the flip side, here are some problems for Republicans:

- in 1994, they were able to run on the charges that the Dems had simply held on to power too long and were antiquated. Can't really say that 2 years from now.

- in 1994, the House was arguably finally catching up to the shift to the right that had first been seen in the Reagan/Bush presidential elections of the previous decade. Not the case at present.

- in 1994, the Republicans had been grooming candidates at the district and state level for years; all they needed was leadership to put things into action. Now: a shattered GOP at the grassroots level, and no leadership at all.

- Most problematic: in 1994, the Republicans had IDEAS. They had a PURPOSE. What are their ideas now? What is their purpose? It has become the party of uneducated rednecks. And this from a lifelong Republican...
11.5.2008 12:34pm
A. Zarkov (mail):
I don't think we can predict how the Democrats will government because we face a particularly uncertain world. How would Obama handle a hyperinflation? What would he do if a small nuclear device exploded in a southern city, say Birmingham? Suppose China decided to absorb Twain? Events like these call for an immediate, but reasoned response and the response really matters. In other words, how pragmatic is this guy under pressure. We don't know, but I'm sure we will find out.
11.5.2008 12:38pm
Kent Scheidegger (mail) (www):
"Will the Democrats -- the President-elect and the House and Senate -- be liberal Ted Kennedy Democrats, or moderate Bill Clinton Democrats? ... Here's why I think the Clinton option is more likely:"

So, the lefter wing of the Democratic Party that was so passionate about having Obama as the nominee instead of Hillary was completed snookered by a candidate who will turn around and be exactly what they were opposing when they supported him?
11.5.2008 12:40pm
calmom:
Three big things happened between 1992 and 1994.

1. Clinton backed out of his promise for middle class tax cuts. Will Obama do the same?

2. "Don't ask, don't tell" - some sort of similar culture war issue like gay marriage could be Obama's 'don't ask, don't tell'.

3. The Clinton plan to socialize medicine. Will Obama also try to nationalize healthcare?

A repeat scenario like Clinton's could mean another 1994-like election.
11.5.2008 12:42pm
Fury:
Bruce M.:

The problem is that I think it will take more than 4 years just to undo the damage caused by 8 years of Bush. And Bush still has 2 and a half months left - is he going to slash and burn the country just to spite the democrats and make things harder for Obama, because come January 20th, according to the right-wing radio and those who believe in it, all of Bush's malfeasance suddenly becomes Obama's fault.

Wow. Well, ok...
11.5.2008 12:44pm
DangerMouse:
Nate,

To be perfectly honest, Obama's election doesn't disappoint me too much, for several reasons. I'm not a blind optimist and prefer to be aware of future crises before they happen.

First, entitlement policy can't continue. There's approximately 100 trillion dollars owed by local, state, and the federal government to retirees and people with other entitlements. That account is going to come due very soon. Given the fact that Western Civilization has never ended a general entitlement program EVER, the situation will come crashing down as more money is promised that isn't there. Obama will accelerate this trend. The crisis in entitlements will accelerate the more anti-human trends of the left, such as abortion, infanticide, and euthenasia. "Dignity to die" will become "duty to die", as the state seeks ways to avoid paying medical benefits and social security to retirees who live decades after their last years of productive work. Also, nationalization of health care will see a similar de-humaninatizing policy of denying care to children who require expensive treatment, like Downs Syndrome babies, autistic kids, etc.

Politicians will not fix it by cutting back entitlements, because then they'd never get elected. Like I said, Western Civilization has never ended a general entitlement program ever. Certainly, that won't happen under Obama. So basically, the problem of entitlement policy can't be solved and will eventually see the complete, total collapse of the global financial system. Obama will accelerate that trend.

Second, Obama's secular messianism will create the conditions ripe for the weakening of American democracy. His followers will jail political opponents for "coordination" of their opposition ads, which are really just ways to throw them in jail for their political ideas. Senator Schumer will pass the Fairness Doctrine, to destroy talk radio. Obama will also turn the extensive anti-terrorist powers against organizations he opposes, like pro-lifers, the NRA, and others, for opposing the polticial programs of his administration. ACORN will be given free reign to further corrupt the electoral process. As a Catholic, I was opposed to Bush's torture policies but historically speaking, no President has ever rejected the accumulated powers of his predecessors, so I expect Obama to eventually torture his political opponents. The Infanticide President hasn't shown a great devotion to human rights, after all, as he's in favor of preventing medical care to dying babies.

Obama's secular messianism will also see increasing attacks on the religious, the gun-clingers, etc. I'm fully prepared to go to the Catacombs and await the rebirth of civilized government.

Third, Iran will acquire nuclear weapons and there will be a nuclear war between Iran and Israel, which will draw in other countries like Russia and then America. Israel might be wiped off the Earth, but so will Iran. It remains to be seen how this will effect America, but certainly it will embolden Obama's power and his secular messianism. Every crisis will be a way for him to consolidate his authority.

I'm not terribly upset by all of this because things couldn't continue as they were. Entitlement policy certainly can't continue - the numbers don't lie. The problem of terrorist states like Iran can't continue either. There will be a reckoning.
11.5.2008 12:46pm
Aeon J. Skoble (mail):
Very insightful analysis, Eugene, thanks!
11.5.2008 12:51pm
MarkField (mail):

Suppose China decided to absorb Twain?


I think it would be great if the Chinese people understood the subtleties of Huckleberry Finn.
11.5.2008 12:51pm
rarango (mail):
I do agree that Obama is probably more centrist than the more progressive wing of the democrats in congress. I think a president Obama will be under more pressure from the progressives than he will from centrists and conservatives. It is my feeling that the progressives are looking for the implementation of progressive ideas. And this, of course, assumes no international crises.
11.5.2008 12:52pm
DG:
{The problem is that I think it will take more than 4 years just to undo the damage caused by 8 years of Bush. And Bush still has 2 and a half months left - is he going to slash and burn the country just to spite the democrats and make things harder for Obama, because come January 20th, according to the right-wing radio and those who believe in it, all of Bush's malfeasance suddenly becomes Obama's fault.}

Bruce,

You need to take a deep breath. Your guy won. Be happy. The anger is a bit scary. Consider Yoga or, perhaps, taking up a hobby. If the anger is too fun to let go, find someone new to hate quickly - you've only got a couple months left, and building up a good head of steam will take a while.

In all seriousness, what happens to all the BDS people? I was not a Bush fan, but all that hate has to go somewhere...
11.5.2008 12:55pm
eyesay:
DangerMouse: I will keep a dignified silence in respond to your endless baiting on a woman's right to choose. But I must respond to a couple of things you said. It's interesting that you expectObama to practice torture, when George W. Bush has already practices torture, with the full support of the major figures in his administration. Your statement "Politicians will not fix it by cutting back entitlements, because then they'd never get elected," is preposterous. Two counterexamples come to mind. The retirement age for receiving full Social Security benefits was raised. And under President Clinton, a bipartisan consensus was mustered to reform welfare, ending lifetime benefits and coaxing (requiring) millions of people to graduate from dependence to employment. Congress has cut entitlements in the past, and Congress can do it again.
11.5.2008 12:59pm
Bob from Ohio (mail):

extraordinarily high turnout this election


I'm not sure that is a fair statement.

As of right now, the total two party vote for president is 119,094,280. (I'm sure there are votes still to be counted--Oregon for instance and military ballots).

The total two party vote in 2004 was 121,056,394.

So, right now, less people voted than in 2004. In a slightly larger country.
11.5.2008 1:00pm
DangerMouse:
eyesay,

I didn't forget welfare reform. But welfare is not a "general entitlement program." If you can direct it at a certain class, like the undeserving poor, then of course people will end a program like that. Heck, it's possible that agricultural subsidies might end like that, as an undeserving program. But general entitlements will never end, and that's where the problem lies. Yes, they'll stretch things out like the retirement age. But that won't fix the problem. That's why the government is going to indirectly encourage doctors to euthanize their patients. Heck, it's basically already happening. Every hospital Ethics Board is just another council designed to figure out a way how to kill someone to save another dollar.

And it's not just social security. Government unions are a big thing, as their promises are being extended and extended, with lifetime benefits upon retirement at age 50, etc. Some towns in California are finding it difficult to hire police officers, because they're being out-bid in entitlements by other towns. That is where the future lies.

Also, of course I expect Obama to torture people. He is the Infanticide President, after all, and he said his first law he signs would be a law designed to murder more babies than ever before. Do you seriously think that he really holds human rights in high regard when he's so eager to kill innocent babies?
11.5.2008 1:06pm
ObeliskToucher:

In all seriousness, what happens to all the BDS people? I was not a Bush fan, but all that hate has to go somewhere...

As long as they live, they'll be there tracing any and all negative results to the Bush years...
11.5.2008 1:06pm
DangerMouse:
In all seriousness, what happens to all the BDS people? I was not a Bush fan, but all that hate has to go somewhere...

BDS people are just transferring their energy into the Cult of Obama. It's secular messianism on a different approach. Instead of hating the person denying them the fulfillment of their dreams, they're loving the man who promises them the fulfillment of their dreams. It's the reverse side of secular messianism. The anger is still there for anyone who opposes THE ONE.

That's why it'll be easy for Obama to use the Justice Department to prosecute political opponents for "coordination" violations of the law, etc, and to re-institute the Fairness Doctrine. The Cult of Obama can do no wrong.
11.5.2008 1:13pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):
I think the most important reason to be cautiously hopeful is the number of people in both parties who voted for the other party. Some HRC supporters voted for McCain, and many Republicans voted for Obama. Hence I think the mandate is a complex one which includes a necessity for change with an institutionally conservative bent to it (i.e. change, but in baby steps, preserving the status quo where that works, something McCain's proposals did not do). McCain also campaigned mostly to the right after he started to fall behind, and I think this was also a major mistake.

There is a mandate for more diplomacy, I think. A mandate for an end to combat operations in Iraq is there too. But I also think a lot of Americans are sick of divisive politics and if Obama goes that route, there will be a Republican congress in 2010, and he will lose re-election.

We will see where this goes. I am cautiously optimistic.
11.5.2008 1:14pm
JohnK (mail):
It is easy to be a minority party. You are never responsible for things. The problems facing the country are really hard. Everyone screams about Katrina, but if a cat 4 hit Houston at the right angle it would be Katrina time four, especially after so many people were able to ride out Ike. God help us all when the big one hit Califonia. Obama could very easily have another Katrina on his hands.

We currently going to have a trillion dollar deficit this year if you count the bailout. The economy is contracting. Big budget conservatism broke the bank. What happens when the bond markets get ahold of Obama and explain to him that he can't pay for all of his promised goodies and he can't raise taxes in the middle of a recession? Either he bankrupts the government or he disappoints his base. That is called governing.

On foreign affairs, Obama has to figure out how to win in Afghanistan. A humiliating defeat there on the heels of what is looking like a victory in Iraq will not be good. What about Iran? If a nuclear Iran shuts off oil from the straights of hormuz, Obama will be in a hell of a bind. I don't even want to comtemplate the thought of them actually nuking Israel.

Obama will have to figure what to do with the people at GUITMO whom the NYT discovered the day before the election really are dangerous. He will also have to figure out how stop terrorists from entering the country. That will mean using FISA and data mining and rendition and all of the things his supporters on the left claim made Bush Hitler. Worse yet, our number is going to come up some day and likly during the next four years. The terrorists only have to get lucky once. Even though I don't think Obama's CT policy will be appreciably different than Bush's, the contrast between no post 9-11 attacks during Bush and a big one under Obama will be undeniable. Fairly or unfairly the President will get tagged with the blame unless it comes, like 9-11, very early in his administration.

One thing that no one is talking about is how this will effect the black vote. The black community will never abandon Obama. He is their guy right or wrong. But the "stuff white people like" Democratic Left that is now so gung ho for him will turn on him in a minute if he ends up having to fight a long war or govern from the center. If the Obama Presidency fails and he losses in 2012 because of the Left turning on him, what will the black community think of the Left then?
11.5.2008 1:14pm
LN (mail):
DangerMouse, are you aware that only 20-25% of Americans think infanticide should be illegal in all cases? How do you feel about living in a country with so much evil in it?
11.5.2008 1:17pm
JohnK (mail):
"A mandate for an end to combat operations in Iraq is there too."

That has already happened. October was the lowest casualty month of the entire war. The war is over there. We are just negotiating over how long to hang around afterwards. It will not end in the humiliating defeat so many of the left had fervently hoped, prayed and worked for.
11.5.2008 1:20pm
akwhitacre (mail):

The total two party vote in 2004 was 121,056,394.

So, right now, less people voted than in 2004. In a slightly larger country.


Not sure where you got those numbers. All the surveys I've seen describe record turnout, both in total numbers and in percentages of eligible voters.
11.5.2008 1:22pm
DangerMouse:
DangerMouse, are you aware that only 20-25% of Americans think infanticide should be illegal in all cases? How do you feel about living in a country with so much evil in it?

It doesn't bother me that so many people are so deluded. Many of them aren't doing it out of active service to Evil, unlike those directly responsible for these things. I feel exactly the same way that Christians did in pagan Rome. I don't blame the citizens necessarily, but their culture is not mine and I will always be an enemy of it to them.
11.5.2008 1:23pm
Elliot123 (mail):
"DangerMouse, are you aware that only 20-25% of Americans think infanticide should be illegal in all cases? How do you feel about living in a country with so much evil in it?"

Can you tell us exactly what you mean by infanticide? In exactly what type of cases do 25% accept infanficide
11.5.2008 1:24pm
LN (mail):
I'm just speaking DangerMouse-speak.
11.5.2008 1:25pm
Nelson Lund (mail):
Eugene--

Can you explain why you say that Clinton "got welfare reform through"? I thought that he reluctantly signed a Republican bill only after vetoing previous versions and only when the 1996 election was looming.
11.5.2008 1:26pm
Bama 1L:
What would [Obama] do if a small nuclear device exploded in a southern city, say Birmingham?

What does Zarkov know that we don't?
11.5.2008 1:29pm
PDXLawyer (mail):
Is the offer to Rahm Emanuel to become Chief of Staff relevant? Reports are that he doesn't "do" bipartisanship.
11.5.2008 1:31pm
Oy (mail):

The Democrats, if they're politically savvy -- and I'm pretty sure they are -- realize that this could happen again in 2010. And this is especially so because of the extraordinarily high turnout this election



Actually, as far as I can see, the turnout in 2008 was SMALLER than it was in 2004 - i.e. the total turnout. Naturally, we will only have the full numbers in a few weeks, but they will most likely not be much higher than the present ones.

Total votes cast for President in 2004: 122,293,548

Total votes cast for President in 2008 (current update): 120,697,384 (97% of precincts reporting: if the same proportion of voters cast ballots in the remaining 3% of precincts, the total will be slightly over 124,400,000).

The turnout increase from 2000 (when approx. 105 million voted) to 2004 was much more significant. Both in 2006 and in 2008, however, the Bush-base of 2004 was seriously hurt.
11.5.2008 1:32pm
Reality Check:
Bob from Ohio, Politico.com is reporting:

"More than 130 million people turned out to vote Tuesday, the most ever to vote in a presidential election.

"With ballots still being counted in some precincts into Wednesday morning, an estimated 64 percent of the electorate turned out, making 2008 the highest percentage turnout in generations."

Other estimates are similar:

"It looks like 136.6 million Americans will have voted for president this election, based on 88 percent of the country's precincts tallied and projections for absentee ballots, said Michael McDonald of George Mason University. Using his methods, that would give 2008 a 64.1 percent turnout rate."

I am not sure what your point was, but if your position is that turnout in 2008 was not higher than it has been in a long time, you likely will be proven wrong. If you are only pointing out that we do not know this with certainty yet, well, yeah.
11.5.2008 1:33pm
JohnK (mail):
"In 2004, Bush beat John Kerry by winning 62.04 million votes. In 2008, Obama won 62.443 million, a gain of only 400,000. In 2004, Kerry garnered 59.028 million votes; John McCain only got 55.386 million. That means this election saw 3.24 million fewer votes than four years ago. Far from being more energized, the nation appeared to be more apathetic."

http://hotair.com/

A lot of Republicans stayed home and no Democrats stayed home. There is nothing bi-partisian about this election. In two years, many of the people who were energized to vote for Obama, won't vote. Obama got a huge black turnout. Without him on the ballot that is not happening in 2010. The Dems didn't pick up the number of House seats they thought they would. If the Dems screw up and try to shove down some leftist agenda over the next two years, they Obmabots won't be there to save Democratic house members in 2010. They will be left alone with an angry and motivated Republican base.
11.5.2008 1:38pm
JohnK (mail):
"With ballots still being counted in some precincts into Wednesday morning, an estimated 64 percent of the electorate turned out, making 2008 the highest percentage turnout in generations."

If that is true, it would appear that most of those people were people who turned out to vote for Obama, since McCain got fewer votes than Bush did in 2004. Again, what is going to motivate these voters in 2010? A lot of the BDS suffers will move on to other things and the black community won't have near the reason to show up to the polls. Unless Obama is really successful and runs from the center, the electorate is going to look much different in 2010 than it did yesterday.
11.5.2008 1:41pm
Sarcastro (www):
JohnK is right. This is a bad day...for Obama.

The Dem party is over by 2011.
11.5.2008 1:53pm
rarango (mail):
There seems to be some amnesia on the circumstances surrounding welfare reform--there was no much bi-partisan about it, the republicans had the vote, and Clinton got forced into signing it prior to the election.
11.5.2008 1:56pm
LN (mail):
Absolutely demoralizing day for the Democrats. If Obama does not succeed by doing exactly what I would do, they are going to have a hard time winning elections in the future. They will probably rue the day they gained power for elections to come.
11.5.2008 2:03pm
Sarcastro (www):
LN I think this Republican strategy of letting the eother guy win may be the most diabolical Rovian plot yet!
11.5.2008 2:12pm
Tom Perkins (mail):

The country is not screaming "let's replace big government conservatism with big-government liberalism."


That may not be what they were thinking they were doing, but that is what they just did.

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, &pfpp

PS. "Suppose China decided to absorb Twain?" It just crossed my mind that that would be the next Chinese milk powder contaminant.
11.5.2008 2:14pm
Bob from Ohio (mail):
I got my numbers from Fox but I checked CNN and it is 119,169,598 based on slightly later numbers. Still under 2004.

Digging into the CNN totals, every state but NH, Oregon and Washington is at 98%+ reporting

Politico cites some estimates. 11-17 million uncounted votes at this stage? I suppose its possible but is it likely?
11.5.2008 2:15pm
Tom Perkins (mail):

I will keep a dignified silence in respond to your endless baiting on a woman's right to choose.


Whatever the law is, there can in fact be no right to murder.

"It's interesting that you expectObama to practice torture, when George W. Bush has already practices torture"

On about 9 people total. People whom the vast majority of the American people are fine with having tortured.

"with the full support of the major figures in his administration"

And the opposition in Congress, who objected only when it was politically expedient. And most of them are still in office.
11.5.2008 2:20pm
JohnK (mail):
"Absolutely demoralizing day for the Democrats. If Obama does not succeed by doing exactly what I would do, they are going to have a hard time winning elections in the future. They will probably rue the day they gained power for elections to come."


When Iran develops Nukes, we are hit by another terrorist attack, and the economy continues to go south, they may agree with you. Sometimes it is good not to be in charge. The next four years is probably one of those times. It is not fair, but life is a bitch. Enjoy your victory for about 10 seconds and then contemplate actually governing rather than screaming like spoiled children and throwing shit like angry monkeys. Good luck. You and Dear Leader are going to need it.
11.5.2008 2:27pm
Anon21:
I'm not sure I buy it, Prof. Volokh. I think there's a real sense that Republican policies have failed, and not just among Democratic partisans. I think that given the gravity of the economic crisis, people are expecting that the government will make some risky decisions in order to get things back on track. I think that the Democrats are likely to favor policies that are likely to restore prosperity over policies that appeal to the center, on the reasoning that voters will reward success and punish failure regardless of how "moderate" the policies that brought us there seemed at the time. (I think this would probably be a correct judgment of the likely dynamic in 2010, if the Democrats make it.) And because Obama is fairly liberal, because the leadership in both houses of Congress is fairly liberal, and because centrist Democrats, particularly in the House, can probably be bullied into line by a popular President with political capital to spend, I think the policies that will end up emerging will be liberal policies, not centrist policies. Liberals, having a liberal worldview, will reason that liberal policies are most likely to succeed at restoring prosperity.

I'm quite happy about this, but I think you may be unpleasantly surprised by the results of this election if what you're expecting is Bill Clinton redux.
11.5.2008 2:32pm
LN (mail):

screaming like spoiled children and throwing shit like angry monkeys


Hey, your words, not mine. I just thought you were being a bit silly in your "spinning" electoral victory as worse than electoral defeat, but maybe "screaming" and "throwing shit" aren't bad as descriptions.
Gotta run now, Obama's interviewing me for a potential Cabinet position. So there, I am serious about governing. I bet you feel foolish now.
11.5.2008 2:33pm
The Unbeliever:
LN I think this Republican strategy of letting the eother guy win may be the most diabolical Rovian plot yet!
Suddenly, it all makes sense. Rove, you magnificient bastard...
Politico.com is reporting: "More than 130 million people turned out to vote Tuesday, the most ever to vote in a presidential election.
I went to the linked article but it was remarkably vague, and had no sources. I checked the linked AP/Google article and the claim seems to be based on estimates from "Michael McDonald of George Mason University", and "using his methods" based on 88% of precints reporting.

If CNN has actual numbers based on 95%+ precints, I'm inclined to doubt the 130 million number. But I'm having a remarkably difficult time finding hard numbers on the Net, anyone else have better luck?
11.5.2008 2:44pm
JohnK (mail):
Have fun LN. The left has been screaming like Children with no responsibility for 8 years now. Now they have to actually govern. They have no one to blame the state of the country on anymore.
11.5.2008 2:45pm
LN (mail):
JohnK, if you can't see the irony of accusing me of "screaming," I don't know what to tell you. All I've done in this thread is tease you for saying that yesterday was a terrible day for the Democrats. In response you start talking about the "screaming left" and "children" and "monkeys throwing shit" and "now YOU have to actually govern" and the left has "no one to blame... anymore." You seem like you're about to have some sort of breakdown. Take a deep breath and try not to cry.
11.5.2008 2:51pm
Bill Twist:
In all the analysis in this thread of what happened between 1992 and 1994 to help the Republicans take control of Congress, there are two things that are missing:

The Brady Law, and the Assault Weapons Ban.

I think we might end up with a repeat of 1994, but I don't like the potential cost. It's not that I think President-Elect Obama is going to push for some major gun control after he takes office, I think that's pretty far down his agenda, if it's on it at all.

Having said that, I think that he would be perfectly willing to sign just about any gun control bill that lands on his desk. His voting record, combined with answers he has given on the subject previously and his tenure on the board of directors of Joyce Foundation, during which he which helped to give grants totaling tens of millions of dollars to various gun control organizations, makes me think he'll sign just about anything that results in more restrictions on law abiding gun owners.

What makes this scenario quite likely is that the Democrats now have control of both the House and the Senate. That means that Congresspersons like Chuck Schumer, Dianne Feinstein, Carolyn McCarthy, et. al. are going to introduce these bills like they always do every Congress, but this time they might actually pass, and they might end up on the President's desk.

If this scenario holds true, you may well see another "Republican Revolution" in 2010.
11.5.2008 3:05pm
PDXLawyer (mail):
I didn't see much during the election about Obama's pushing an Illinois law requiring videotaping of police interrogations. This is one thing he *could* do early on, and fairly easily. After all, as President he has the authority to simply *direct* federal law enforcement to make their investigative procedures more accountable. For example, he could direct the FBI to start recording interviews.
11.5.2008 3:21pm
Reality Check:
Bob and Unknown,

If you are really interested in the actual numbers, you will have to wait. However, it seems likely that the turnout was "extraordinarily high". Moreover, I have not found any estimates pegging the number below 122 million. The only people talking about voter turnout who seem to know something about making such estimates all peg the turnout at much high than 122 million.

For another article, quoting MacDonald again and another expert from a nonpartisan organization, see the Washington Post here.

Again, I do not understand why you seem to find it important to conclude that 2004 turnout was higher than this year's, which, it seems at this point, is a likely counter-factual assumption to bolster whatever underlying narrative you are constructing.

(And yes, I do find it more credible to rely on expert's analysis of likely final numbers rather than adding up the reported McCain/Obama totals from CNN and Fox News. I have no clue what all the reasons are why those totals would be different than actual turnout, but I know they include absentee ballots, provisional ballots, as yet uncounted/unreported precincts, and votes for third party candidates. In other words, I know enough to know that I cannot just look at CNN's numbers and make my own reasonable estimate. I doubt you do either, given your heavy reliance on their 119 million numbers....)
11.5.2008 3:31pm
Nate in Alice:
Pat,

I agree. I think what we're seeing is a new phenomenon: smart-government progressivism.

Let's hope, at least.
11.5.2008 3:31pm
Nate in Alice:
Apparently, I can't call Danger Mouse, well, insane. But after this thread, there is no longer the need to.
11.5.2008 3:35pm
Reality Check:
That should have been addressed to Bob, JohnK, and Oy.
11.5.2008 3:36pm
JohnK (mail):
"JohnK, if you can't see the irony of accusing me of "screaming," I don't know what to tell you. All I've done in this thread is tease you for saying that yesterday was a terrible day for the Democrats. In response you start talking about the "screaming left" and "children" and "monkeys throwing shit" and "now YOU have to actually govern" and the left has "no one to blame... anymore." You seem like you're about to have some sort of breakdown. Take a deep breath and try not to cry."


I have no idea if you are screaming or not. Further, I would never cry over an election. Leftist do that because they have no life beyond government. Certainly a large portion of the Democratic party has been screaming like spoiled children for the last 8 years. Bush lied people died. No blood for oil. Warrentless wiretapping. GUITMO worse the Auszwitz and all of that nonsense. If you were not one of them, good for you.

My point was that you can be friviolous stupid and paranoid when you have no responsibility. Now that the Democrats have responsibility they are going to quickly realize that the problems facing this country are not easy and the choices Bush made not so obviously bad. In fact, President Obama will be doing many of the things, detentions, wiretapping, rendition and such, that the Left claim made Bush another Hitler. Being in charge also means you get blammed for bad things that happen that were not your fault and making bad choices even though there were no good choices available. All and all I think it is a good thing to give the Dems a shot at responsibility makes people grow up and a lot of Dems have a lot of growing up to do.

You and sarcastro however are giving the early line of the liberal excuses when Obama turns out to be in many ways same as the old boss as they say. The line seems to be "we never said Bush was creating a police state or that there was anything wrong with the way he conducted the war on terror. Our beef was with Iraq and tax cuts". If it wasn't so pathetic, it would be comical.
11.5.2008 3:39pm
LN (mail):
Wow, JohnK, the past few years must have been a great burden on you, with the fate of the free world lying in your hands. Heavy is the head that wears the crown. A bit of a relief now that's it all over, eh?

Thank you for your advice. I hope Sarcastro and myself can live up to the standards of excellence that you have established. However, I think you are forgetting that the two of us shared the throne not that long ago, back in the 1990s, so you may not have as much to teach us as you might think. Nevertheless, we are always willing to humor you so please don't hold back from handing out your wise hard-earned advice.
11.5.2008 3:54pm
JohnK (mail):
Yeah, I remmber the 1990s LN. That was back when we routinely rendered people abroad to be tortured, frequently bombed countries without international approval and engaged in an illegal war with Serbia with UNSC approval. Those were happy times.

The point of course is that now that your party is in power, you are going to have to actually think about things rather than just throw fits and blame everything on the other side. It is going to be entertaining as hell watching people like you try to explain away Dear Leader's failures and how our bombing this or that country is really different than it was under Bush.
11.5.2008 4:05pm
JohnK (mail):
without UNSC approval.
11.5.2008 4:05pm
LN (mail):
I know I'm arguing with a smart, sensible person when he argues vigorously with the voices in his head.

Let's play a game: for each point you are trying to make, try to find the part of my comment that you are responding to. Good luck!
11.5.2008 4:09pm
LN (mail):
Also: I know it's bad form to make fun of the mentally ill, but Sarcastro and I weren't actually running the country in the 1990s, and you actually haven't been running the country the past eight years. That comment was what you call a "joke." Unless Sarcastro is Bill Clinton and you're Dick Cheney. Are you Dick Cheney, JohnK?
11.5.2008 4:11pm
Bob from Ohio (mail):

Again, I do not understand why you seem to find it important to conclude that 2004 turnout was higher than this year's, which, it seems at this point, is a likely counter-factual assumption to bolster whatever underlying narrative you are constructing.


I was just making a point that the turnout, while high, is not especially "extraordinary".

It will certainly be slightly higher than 2004 in the end but there is no way, no how, its going to be 136 million.

What narrative are you trying to create by prefering estimates over, you know, actual votes?
11.5.2008 4:21pm
JohnK (mail):
Perhaps you don't support the Democratic party. Maybe you don't even think about these issues. Clearly since you can only revert to invective, you don't have anything sensible or substantive to say. I was under the impression that the point of these discussions was to look at issues. The issue is how does Obama govern. Certianly the intractible nature of many of our problems and the lack of easy sollutions to them would be something to consider when thinking about that. Forgive me I thought you were a serious person worthy of engagement as opposed to a troll. My mistake. You can go back to trolling now and I will stop feeding you.
11.5.2008 4:23pm
LN (mail):
Yes JohnK, I have a lot of lessons to learn here. If I'm a liberal, I need to learn about the difficulty of governing; if I'm not, maybe I need to learn to pay attention to the issues. It's hard to tell, because I haven't even been prompted in this discussion to articulate a single political view. That of course reflects very poorly on myself, because you've unfortunately unleashed a few hundred words of invective in my direction without knowing anything about what I believe. And that's MY fault, not yours.
11.5.2008 4:51pm
Reality Check:
Bob,

We don't know the actual number of votes yet.

I was just pointing out that this statement, will almost certainly prove wrong: "Actually, as far as I can see, the turnout in 2008 was SMALLER than it was in 2004 - i.e. the total turnout." A point with which you now agree.

I think it would be absurd to say that 2004 did not involve extraordinarily high voter turnout. From this it follows that, if 2008 involved higher turnout than 2004, then it would be unfair to say that 2008's turnout was not "extraordinarily high". In 2008 the percentage of the Voting Age Population that actually turned out will almost certainly be the highest of the past 10 elections (perhaps more, depending on the final number). I think that would comfortably fit into any reasonable definition of "extraordinary".

Facts matter. That's all.
11.5.2008 5:48pm
Thomas_Holsinger:
How the Democrats Will Govern:

Pork barrel pig-out.
11.5.2008 7:33pm
Thomas_Holsinger:
Nate In Alice,

There are right and wrong ways to do it. Some of the Volokh Conspiracy are comfortable with a literary approach.
11.5.2008 7:41pm
Oren:


On about 9 people total. People whom the vast majority of the American people are fine with having tortured.

You get bonus points for honesty.
11.5.2008 8:26pm
Thomas_Holsinger:
11.5.2008 8:37pm
Andrew J. Lazarus (mail):
Here's a mistake the Dems shouldn't make again. When Bill Kristol advises the GOP to go obstructionist for its own sake, to make Obama and his party look weak, as he did with the Clinton Health Care proposals, we'll be ready. I think you'll find a level of party unity among Dems, because now they know that bipartisanship in DC is only expected to run one way: towards Republican objectives.
11.5.2008 8:44pm