Briar Patch

Might this fall’s impending conservative landslide actually help Barack Obama’s chances for re-election? Victor Davis Hanson, in an essay over at NRO, makes the case that the Transformer-In-Chief might be in a position to benefit from the economic lift that a conservative Congress would provide, while telling his progressive base he’s still true to his (and their) core principles.

It’s an interesting notion, though I think we can still be audacious enough to hope for change in 2012.

Read it here: The Obama Rope-a-Dope.

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43 Comments

  1. I’m not sure we’re allowed to say “Rope-a-Dope” these days, in connection with “The Obama”, Malcolm. I’ll check with my legal team.

    Posted October 8, 2010 at 4:20 pm | Permalink
  2. the one eyed man says

    If a “conservative Congress” would lead to an “economic lift,” why did the conservative Congresses of 2000, 2002, and 2004 lead us to economic disaster?

    Posted October 8, 2010 at 5:58 pm | Permalink
  3. You mean the economic disaster brought on by the leftist Congress of 2006 and the leftist Congress and leftist President of 2008?

    Posted October 8, 2010 at 6:37 pm | Permalink
  4. JK says

    Now, now Big Hen, don’t hit me too hard when I mention Bill Clinton.

    After all, I am an Arkie.

    And surely by now, you realize it’s not at all effective to start sputterin’ about that Lewinsky gal (who incidentally bears a striking resemblance to…that O’Donnell gal).

    The thing is, blaming it all on Bush ain’t workin’ (no pun intended) so what better strategy?

    But my main point is – divided government (best case) works best. But in these hyper-partisan times, The best way to ensure a second term is to have an “unsuccessful” mid-term.

    Posted October 8, 2010 at 8:41 pm | Permalink
  5. Hey JK,

    I had no problem with what Big Bill did vis a vis Big Monica. I only have reservations about his peculiar taste in women and cigars. BTW, I voted for Bill both times.

    I also agree that under ordinary circumstances, though those seem to be few and far between anymore, divided government works well. When the feds are deadlocked, the people generally benefit.

    What I can’t understand is how anybody who isn’t a complete dolt can continue to support what Obama is doing to this country, unless they happen to be double-jointed masochists.

    Posted October 8, 2010 at 9:24 pm | Permalink
  6. Malcolm says

    In the current political climate, where the aim is to “fundamentally transform America”, nobody knows what onerous tax or regulation is coming next. Conservatives tend to regulate with a far lighter hand, and to impose less taxation.

    American capital is sitting on the sidelines at the moment. It is not even the level of taxation, or the stifling web of regulation, that is really the worst part of it; it is the uncertainty. Currently, nobody knows what cockamamie redistributive program, or burdensome mandate, is coming along next.

    If conservatives get the upper hand in Congress, as they are likely to do, simply by their opposition — getting in the way of this capricious and opportunistic Progressive juggernaut — they’ll ensure a far stabler climate for investors and entrepreneurs.

    Posted October 8, 2010 at 9:31 pm | Permalink
  7. Malcolm says

    Anyway, I guess it’s a win-win: if you’re right, and the coming conservative Congress doesn’t provide a more clement business climate, and thereby lift the economy, then Hanson’s rope-a-dope scenario won’t come to pass, and we can give Mr. Obama a pink slip in ’12.

    Posted October 8, 2010 at 9:51 pm | Permalink
  8. Malcolm says

    Henry, I agree that a deadlocked Congress is likely to cause far less mischief.

    Will Rogers said:

    This country has come to feel the same when Congress is in session as when the baby gets hold of a hammer.

    Posted October 8, 2010 at 9:53 pm | Permalink
  9. the one eyed man says

    That is wishful thinking which ignores what actually happened when conservatives managed the economy. As you may recall, when Obama took office the economy was losing 700,000 jobs a month, the banks were insolvent, the commercial paper market was not functioning, and the pace of the downfall was accelerating. You can draw a straight line between the conservative theology of low taxes, ineffective regulation, and enfeebled government and the mess which the confluence of these things produced.

    We are now in a situation where the private sector has added jobs for nine consecutive months, banks are solvent and profitable, risk premiums are at normal level, and the economy is expanding, albeit slowly. You can draw a straight line from the stimulus plan, Fed easing, and the various bailouts to the radical reversal in our economic situation.

    We’ve seen what the results of the voodoo economics and hepatoscopy which form the basis of conservative economic theory have produced. The question remains: if the Republicans gain the levers of power, why should things be any different this time?

    Posted October 8, 2010 at 10:01 pm | Permalink
  10. Malcolm says

    Tell you what: let’s wait and see.

    Posted October 8, 2010 at 10:07 pm | Permalink
  11. the one eyed man says

    Lacking any alternative, I suppose we will.

    Posted October 8, 2010 at 10:16 pm | Permalink
  12. “As you may recall, when Obama took office the economy was” being mismanaged by the same leftist Congressional leadership and super majority who continued to mismanage it at a pace greatly accelerated by The Obama Himself and his incompetent pack of leftist advisors.

    Posted October 8, 2010 at 10:51 pm | Permalink
  13. the one eyed man says

    Henry: you know nothing.

    You might want to learn something about economics and then come back. You might want to start with finding out the difference between fiscal policy and monetary policy, and which government entities are charged with creating and executing policy decisions. You should find out what the Fed and the Treasury Department do, as well as regulatory agencies like the SEC and OFHEO. Find out what a derivative is, and how the regulatory environment for companies who issued and traded them changed from 2001 to 2008. Also – this is really important, Henry – which part of government they belong to. Finally, you might want to stop blaming Obama for events which occurred before he was in office. It’s like blaming a relief pitcher for a loss when he came into the game in the ninth inning with his team ten runs behind.

    Until then, you will remain an uninformed and angry fool with nothing of interest to say.

    Posted October 9, 2010 at 10:25 am | Permalink
  14. Malcolm says

    Steady there, Pete.

    Where did Henry blame Obama for events that preceded his term?

    Looks like we have a steel-cage deathmatch shaping up here.

    Posted October 9, 2010 at 11:19 am | Permalink
  15. the one eyed man says

    The third post.

    No WWF smackdown here. From the movie Casablanca:

    Peter Lorre: “Rick, Rick, you must despise me, Rick.”

    Humphrey Bogart: “Well, if I gave you any thought, I suppose I would.”

    Life is too short (and the weather here today too awesome) to spend it arguing with fools.

    Posted October 9, 2010 at 11:44 am | Permalink
  16. Malcolm says

    I may be schoolmarmish and old-fashioned compared to most of the blogosphere, but I’d prefer, as I suggested to Henry when he called you a “pompous prick”, that we keep the conversation from descending to the level of personal insults.

    I also don’t see anything in the third comment that says what you said it says. The Bush administration, of course, was anything but fiscally conservative.

    Posted October 9, 2010 at 12:08 pm | Permalink
  17. Henry: you know nothing.

    I do know this: entitlementalia is the audacity of dopes.

    Also – this is really important, Henry – which part of government they belong to.

    I do know this: Obama’s socialist policy doesn’t belong in the U.S. government.

    Finally, you might want to stop blaming Obama for events which occurred before he was in office. It’s like blaming a relief pitcher for a loss when he came into the game in the ninth inning with his team ten runs behind.

    I do know this: Obama added more to the national debt than all Presidents from Washington through Reagan combined. I also know it is unlikely for any team to bring in a relief pitcher in the 9th if they are ten runs behind; especially not if he’s a socialist.

    Until then, you will remain an uninformed and angry fool with nothing of interest to say.

    I do know this: An unfalsifiable “truth” is not worth examining. Moreover, truth is not assertion, and assertion is not proof.

    Furthermore, monocular vision lacks depth perception. Hence, you will remain a shallow angry drool with nothing of substance to say.

    Posted October 9, 2010 at 12:32 pm | Permalink
  18. the one eyed man says

    Sorry, Mac, I couldn’t restrain myself. Sometimes when someone leads with his chin, you have to take a swing, even you know you are going to hit a glass jaw.

    As for being a pompous prick: in law, truth is an absolute defense against libel. In other words, if you make a truthful statement, you can’t be sued for libel. Having said that, I think prolixity is more apt here than pomposity.

    The logical structure of the third post implies joint and several liability: i.e., the “leftist (sic) President of 2008” brought on the “economic disaster.” However, by the time Obama took office, we were losing 700,000 jobs a month; Lehman, Bear Stears, AIG, and Merrill Lynch were bankrupt; bank lending had ceased; etc. Economic disaster of an unprecedented scope had already hit. Obama was the guy who had to clean up after the elephant at the circus.

    Henry: you might want to start by finding out what socialism is. You then might want to then ponder why economic collapse – which would inarguably have happened absent the things the government did – is preferable to economic recovery.

    Posted October 9, 2010 at 1:27 pm | Permalink
  19. the one eyed man says

    Moreover, there is an election about to happen, and the Republicans are trying to take over the government.

    I’m not sure how it will all turn out, but when the votes are in, I will be happy to tell you why the results were inevitable.

    Posted October 9, 2010 at 1:28 pm | Permalink
  20. One more thing, Mr. Cyclops: in accordance with Malcolm’s rules of civil engagement, if you must resort to name-calling, it’s Dr. Fool to you.

    Posted October 9, 2010 at 1:28 pm | Permalink
  21. the one eyed man says

    Fair enough. Dr. Fool it is.

    Incidentally, I have use of both eyes. The provenance of my sobriquet is Erasmus (“In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is King.”)

    Posted October 9, 2010 at 1:48 pm | Permalink
  22. Thanx for the clarification, your majesty. I shall address you as “Jesty” (rhymes with “testy”) for short, unless you have a preference for “Cyco” (rhymes with “psycho”), which could be thought of as an endearment for “Cyclops”.

    As for clarity of hindsight, it is necessary for postmortems but hardly sufficient for understanding. I am sure you will be happy to enlighten your blind and foolish subjects about the inevitability of the election results, but blaming Bush will not persuade many who have not already done so.

    Posted October 9, 2010 at 2:55 pm | Permalink
  23. JK says

    I haven’t enjoyed anything like this since the hogs ate my little brother.

    Posted October 9, 2010 at 3:02 pm | Permalink
  24. You had me at bacon, JK.

    Posted October 9, 2010 at 3:07 pm | Permalink
  25. the one eyed man says

    You may call me whatever you’d like. My personal preference is Your Excellency.

    I am glad that you understand the distinction between necessity and sufficiency, as it is apt in this instance. Starting with TARP, the actions which the government took were necessary to avoid an economic nuclear winter. However, they were not sufficient to get the economy to a roaring recovery. That would have required more government money being spent and more debt. Pick your poison. Future economists can play Goldilocks and determine if the amount of government stimulus was too much, too little, or just enough.

    As for George Bush, I do not blame him for the entirety of the financial meltdown. Bush did not run Bear Stearns or Lehman Brothers, he did not lie on a mortgage application, and he did not make a dumb loan. However, one of the problems with unfettered capitalism is that if animal spirits are allowed to exert their influence with no countervailing forces, situations like the Lehman and Merrill Lynch collapses become inevitable. It is the role of government to regulate banking at least to the extent that systemic collapses are avoided. By abandoning that responsibility, the Bush administration deserves more blame than any other party (although both Bush and Paulsen deserve great credit for TARP). However, Obama is blameless for the meltdown. The horse had long ago left the barn and went down the road.

    I am going off the grid now, so regrettably I will be unable to continue this thrilling colloquy. I am fortunate enough to live in the San Francisco Bay Area, and I wanted to check out the new Ho Chi Minh Pavillion at the Michael Moore Museum. I hear they have an exhibit of Soviet Realism that will make you pine for Uncle Joe.

    Posted October 9, 2010 at 3:31 pm | Permalink
  26. Ah, the San Francisco Bay Area. Explains a lot.

    Enjoy it while you can, Jesty. I hear Pelosi has other plans for you. Give my regards to the cucking funts of Code Pink.

    As you have probably surmised, I am not a big fan of Ho Chi Minh (though Vietnam has abandoned most of his economic policies since the mid-1980s), Michael Moore (too obnoxious), and Uncle Joe (though he might have been preferable to The Won you worship). At least Joe was an equal-opportunity monster, without any obvious racial biases. Also, Joe had the balls to defend his country from what was thought to be an unstoppable invader.

    As for that horse you mentioned, if he is the same one Obama rode in on, you can probably guess my sentiments toward him.

    Posted October 9, 2010 at 4:34 pm | Permalink
  27. the one eyed man says

    Well, I’ll agree with you about Code Pink. Although I hear that they have some cunning stunts.

    Posted October 9, 2010 at 4:38 pm | Permalink
  28. And when chasing tricks to turn, the short ones are cunning runts.

    Posted October 9, 2010 at 6:01 pm | Permalink
  29. the one eyed man says

    Well, I wouldn’t know. I missed the documentary about Code Pink, because I’ve never been a big fan of period pieces.

    Posted October 9, 2010 at 7:11 pm | Permalink
  30. JK says

    Perhaps you should adjust your habits Peter. In my experience period pieces grant the character wider latitude for emotional displays. And emoting is what wins awards.

    Posted October 9, 2010 at 8:41 pm | Permalink
  31. the one eyed man says

    Well, everything goes in cycles.

    Posted October 9, 2010 at 8:49 pm | Permalink
  32. JK says

    I was hoping that thinking/researching politics would help me get back to and remain asleep. I guess I should take up knitting.

    http://www.apsanet.org/content_72983.cfm

    Posted October 10, 2010 at 3:10 am | Permalink
  33. the one eyed man says

    If the Republicans do as well as that link suggests, it would be bloody awful.

    Posted October 10, 2010 at 10:04 am | Permalink
  34. Malcolm says

    Awful for the “let’s fundamentally transform America” crowd, anyway.

    Not so bad for the rest of us who never asked to have our country “fundamentally transformed” into a decaying, Balkanized social-welfare project, a northern province of Mexico, etc.

    Posted October 10, 2010 at 12:09 pm | Permalink
  35. the one eyed man says

    Obama is a far less transformational President than FDR, who was the most transformational President of the 20th Century. He is less transformational than LBJ, whose Medicare and other Great Society programs were much more audacious than Obama’s (not to mention Vietnam). He is also less transformational than George Bush, whose domestic and foreign policies were both an enormous departure from before. Maybe even Reagan, too. Chopping down the size of government and selling arms to the Contras was a pretty radical thing to do at the time.

    You may not like the transformations, but the delta between Obama and his predecessors is less than we have experienced in the past.

    Posted October 10, 2010 at 1:57 pm | Permalink
  36. Malcolm says

    I might give you FDR. It took a long time, and a world war, to snap the economy out of that little round of transforming.

    But I think BHO, given his head, would far outstrip the rest, and in ways other than just economic policy.

    Anyway, with any luck we’ll soon be putting on the brakes.

    Posted October 10, 2010 at 2:22 pm | Permalink
  37. the one eyed man says

    I think that most of the heavy lifting has been done, as Obama has achieved most of the agenda he ran on, with cap & trade being the glaring exception. Outside of energy, I would be surprised if there are any major new initiatives in the next session of Congress.

    I wish he were as transformative as you think he is. I think he has been too timid. I would have preferred a rootin’ tootin’ liberal to a centrist.

    Posted October 10, 2010 at 6:35 pm | Permalink
  38. Malcolm says

    God help us.

    Posted October 10, 2010 at 8:07 pm | Permalink
  39. the one eyed man says

    She will.

    Posted October 10, 2010 at 9:46 pm | Permalink
  40. the one eyed man says

    If you really think that Obama is a wild-eyed radical, compare his agenda with those of Bill Clinton, the last centrist President we had. Their health care initiatives are more or less the same, except Obama was the one who was able to get it through. Obama’s foreign policy (escalating Afghanistan, increasing military spending, aggressive use of drones, covert and overt military action in Pakistan and Yemen) is more Richard Perle than Abbie Hoffman. His continuation of many of Bush’s policies regarding state secrets and the detainment of alleged terrorists is troubling, to say the least. It is difficult to say what Clinton would have done had he faced an imminent economic collapse, but Obama’s interventions in the economy in the face of crisis are by no means unprecedented (e.g., FDR’s closure of the banks, Truman’s seizure of steel mills, local governments’ use of eminent domain, etc.).

    Conservatives’ caricature of Obama as a fire-breathing radical is a reflection on the right wing, not Obama. It shows how far the right wing has gone off the deep end, so that moderation looks extreme by comparison.

    Posted October 11, 2010 at 9:05 am | Permalink
  41. bob koepp says

    I wonder what point there is to all the political “labeling”. Nixon was further “left” than Clinton on matters of political economy. It would appear that the Watergate scandal saved us from radical socialism.

    Posted October 11, 2010 at 9:31 am | Permalink
  42. the one eyed man says

    Good point. Wage and price controls are far more socialist than anything Clinton did.

    Posted October 11, 2010 at 9:56 am | Permalink
  43. bob koepp says

    … and it’s not just wage and price controls. But for Watergate, Nixon would almost certainly have succeeded in establishing a national health plan — it would have been the “real thing”, too, not the reheated HMO model that Clinton briefly championed.

    Posted October 11, 2010 at 3:21 pm | Permalink