Wednesday, May 14, 2008

The British Are Coming! The British Are Coming!

The British Are Coming! The British Are Coming!

The British Are Coming! The British Are Coming! So are the French and Italians. They’ve kicked out liberals in favor of conservatives, as did the Germans a few years ago.

November will therefore see a Democratic sweep of the Senate, House, governorships, state legislatures, and probably the White House.

The British have no control over our elections as they tossed out Labor candidates throughout England in the recent midterm elections. The voters in England, French, Germany and Italy have not become conservative. They simply don’t like the incumbents.

Sully voters cast out the incumbents as they are likely to do in the upcoming American elections.

The world’s economy is undergoing a seismic change, and no government has yet found a way to handle it. Americans are unhappy. Soaring food and energy prices, inflation, housing failures – the attitude is not one of happiness.

Yet, the American economy has held up extremely well. Most Americans are leading meaningful lives, gainfully employed, and secure in their housing, although college grads this year, especially in finance and construction, may have trouble finding employment..

Most Americans, indeed, most peoples are not political, much less bitter partisans. Food, water, shelter, clothing, health and safety, energy are the basic needs of a civilized society. Satisfy them, and a politician is golden. Fail, and a politician is out of office even if the fault is not his.

The war on terror, and the war in Iraq (They’re really the same) may be critical to the long term survival of the Republic, but gas at $4/gallon is a political killer. We measure the President’s popularity not by success in Iraq but by the price of gas.

Voters are angry with President Bush, and thus the Republicans. Bush has not helped by becoming a distant President. People need a President who empathizes with them in times of crisis. Bush was there on 9/11. He fell short on Katrina, which was more the failure of the state and city governments (which were both Democratic), but he took the fall.

President Clinton always felt our pain, or at least he let us think he did. President Bush undoubtedly feels our pain, but he doesn’t express it. He is acting like a distant chairman of the board, as reflects his Harvard MBA, rather then a hands-on manager in a time of crisis. The vacuum is not being filled by any of his Cabinet.

Voters also have short memories. They are just as likely to turn on the new political leaders if they fail to solve the problems.

Youth may be served this election. Young voters have no political memory, so they act based upon their short experience. Decades ago they became disillusioned with the Democrats and turned to Reagan and the Republicans. The young tend to be idealistic and optimistic, often not yet experiencing the realities of life. Our young voters do not remember that the previously inexperienced Democratic President, Jimmy Carter, in a time of 21.5% prime interest rate and our citizens being held hostage by radical Islamists in Iran, referred to the American people as suffering from malaise. He lost reelection.

Governor Gray Davis of California was clueless in California’s electrical crisis, followed by an inability to get a handle on the state budget crisis Voters recalled him from office.

The incoming politicians, as with the Republican Congressional sweep in 1994, may misread the election as a mandate for radical change, forgetting that in a relatively evenly divided populace, House elections are often settled by 20,000 voters and Senate seats by 100,000 votes. These slim margins of victory are not mandates.

Republicans, like the Laborites in England, just lost three safe Republican House seats in Illinois (former Speaker Dennis Hastert’s seat), Louisiana, and Mississippi.

No matter how the GOP spins it, the voters are taking their unhappiness out on the incumbent Republicans.

In such a situation, the challengers do not need to offer anything specific to the voters except that they are not the incumbents. Of course, even in an otherwise Democratic election, the Democrats can still snatch defeat from the jaws of victory and deliver the Presidency to McCain.

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