krauthammer 58 USE THIS.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
A president’s first midterm election is inevitably a referendum on his two years
in office. The bad news for Democrats is that President Barack Obama’s “reelect”
number is 38 percent – precisely Bill Clinton’s in October 1994, the eve of the
election that gave Republicans control of the House for the first time in 40
RELATED:Click here for full Jpost coverage of the US Midterm elections
Yet this same poll found that 65% view Obama favorably “as a
The current Democratic crisis is not about the man – his alleged
lack of empathy, ability to emote, etc., requiring remediation with backyard,
shirt-sleeved shoulder rubbing with the folks – but about the
And the problem with the policies is twofold: ideology and
effectiveness. First, Obama, abetted by Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid, tried to
take a center-right country to the left. They grossly misread the 2008 election.
It was a mandate to fix the economy and restore American
Obama read it as a mandate to change the American social
contract, giving it a more European social-democratic stamp by fundamentally
extending the reach and power of government in health care, energy, education,
finance and industrial policy.
Obama succeeded with health care.
Unfortunately for the Democrats, that and Obama’s other signature achievement –
the stimulus – were not exactly what folks were clamoring for. What they wanted
was economic recovery.
Here the Democrats failed the simple test of
effectiveness. The economy is extraordinarily weak, unemployment is unacceptably
high, and the only sure consequence of the stimulus is nearly $1 trillion added
to the national debt in a single stroke.
AND YET, to these albatrosses of
ideological overreach and economic ineffectiveness, the Democrats have managed
in the past few weeks to add a third indictment: incompetence.
first time since modern budgeting was introduced with the Budget Act of 1974,
the House failed to even write a budget. This in a year of extraordinary
deficits, rising uncertainty and jittery financial markets. Gold is going
through the roof. Confidence in the dollar and the American economy is falling –
largely because of massive overhanging debt. Yet no budget emerged from Congress
to give guidance, let alone reassurance, about future US revenue and
That’s not all. Congress has not passed a single appropriations
To keep the government going, it passed a socalled
resolution (CR) before adjourning to campaign. The problem with
spend at the current level is that the past two years have seen a 28%
nondefense discretionary spending. The CR continues this profligacy,
an already serious debt problem.
As if this was not enough,
adjourned without even a vote – nay, without even a Democratic bill – on
expiring Bush tax cuts. This is the ultimate in incompetence.
months of control of the White House and Congress – during which they
elaborate 1,000-page micromanagement of every detail of American health
the Democrats adjourned without being able to tell the country what its
rates will be on January 1.
It’s not just income taxes. It’s
gains and dividends too. And the estate tax, which will careen insanely
to 55% when the ball drops in Times Square on New Year’s Eve.
To do this at a time when $2 trillion is
on the sidelines because of rising uncertainty – and there is no greater
uncertainty than next year’s tax rates – is staggeringly
As if this display of unseriousness – no budget,
appropriations bill, no tax bill – was not enough, some genius on a
Judiciary subcommittee invites parodist Stephen Colbert to testify as an
witness on immigration. He then pulls off a nervy mockery of the whole
proceedings – my favorite was his request to have his colonoscopy
the Congressional Record – while the chairwoman sat there clueless.
fitting end for the 111th Congress. But not quite. Colbert will return
scene of the crime on October 30 as the leader of one of two mock
rallies on the
National Mall. Comedian Jon Stewart leads the other.
At a time of
near-10% unemployment, a difficult and draining war abroad and
disgust with government overreach and incompetence, the comedians will
the TV screens as the hip face of the new liberalism – just three days
I suspect the electorate will declare itself not
amused.– The Washington Post