A Class By Itself

We’ve been hearing an awful lot during this election cycle about our aloof “elites” (a demographic segment that generally overlaps what Scott Rasmussen defines as “the political class”). Members of the group in question understandably bristle at the characterization, preferring to imagine that they are the salt of the earth. (“Elite? Moi??”)

In case you missed it, Charles Murray published an opinion piece recently in which he asserts that this “new elite” indeed exists, and describes its encapsulated habitat.

Read it here.

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29 Comments

  1. the one eyed man says

    The dictionary defines an elite as “a group or class of persons or a member of such a group or class, enjoying superior intellectual, social, or economic status.” At least as far as superior intellectual status, this is a good thing. I would prefer to be governed by people with superior intellects than, say, Sharron Angle.

    However, due to the prestidigitation of modern politics, elitism became a code word for “liberal elitists” (read: snobs with their noses in the air) just as “personal responsibility” became a code word for letting the less fortunate fend for themselves.

    However, it’s a right wing fiction like so many others. For example, the poster child for elitism is John Roberts: wealthy background, Harvard Law School, successful corporate lawyer, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. Without exception, he has voted in favor of the elites, as his Court regularly supports the powerful over the weak. Why isn’t he considered to be an elitist?

    The Koch brothers are certainly in the elite. They’re billionaires. They have the Tea Party as useful idiots doing their bidding. Why aren’t they considered to be elitists?

    Country club Republicans, like John Boehner, and black-dress-and-pearls Republicans, like Peggy Noonan, are from the elites. Why isn’t Rasmussen concerned with them?

    Yet somehow Barack Obama is portrayed as an elitist, despite the fact that he was raised by a single mother on food stamps.

    The Republican party agenda, as well as conservatism in general, benefit the elites. Tax cuts for the rich, emasculated regulation, reduced social benefits, and a laissez faire attitude towards the environment all benefit the wealthy and the privileged. Yet somehow there is a widespread myth that the GOP and its allies are on the side of Joe Six Pack and all right-thinking Americans. In general, liberal politicians favor programs that benefit the masses, rather than the few, yet somehow get tarred as elitists. As we say in New York: go figure.

    Posted November 1, 2010 at 7:08 pm | Permalink
  2. Malcolm says

    Who said John Roberts isn’t elite? Certainly not me, and certainly not Charles Murray.

    Anyway, if you’d actually taken the time to read the article, you’d have seen that the class being described is a “cognitive” elite, not mere wealth. I think Mr. Obama’s path through private schools, the University of Chicago, and Harvard amply qualify him for inclusion.

    Mr. Rasmussen (whom I mentioned only in passing, and Dr. Murray didn’t mention at all) doesn’t refer to “elites”; he simply has identified a group he calls the “political class”, which he distinguishes from “mainstream” using this set of questions:

    — Generally speaking, when it comes to important national issues, whose judgment do you trust more – the American people or America’s political leaders?

    — Some people believe that the federal government has become a special interest group that looks out primarily for its own interests. Has the federal government become a special interest group?

    — Do government and big business often work together in ways that hurt consumers and investors?

    The difference of opinion about what “benefits the masses” the most — socialist redistribution, increasing government intrusion into every aspect of life, and cradle-to-grave hand-holding, or smaller government, freer markets, greater liberty, and a grown-up emphasis on self-reliance and personal responsibility — is exactly what this election is about. (The Soviet and Maoist systems were intended to “benefit the masses” too, as I recall.)

    How confident you are that that you know better than the “masses” what’s good for them! They will be addressing the subject themselves, tomorrow.

    Posted November 1, 2010 at 8:48 pm | Permalink
  3. the one eyed man says

    I’m not sure what socialist redistribution of wealth is. I do know that the percentage of the national wealth concentrated in the top sliver of the population is higher than it has been in generations. Is that a redistribution of wealth?

    I don’t think that government should intrude into every aspect of life. That is why women should be able to choose whether or not they can have an abortion, gays should be able to marry, people at the end of life should be able to choose euthanasia, and Latinos should be able to go about their business in Arizona without fear of jail if they don’t have proof of citizenship with them. I don’t think that it is the liberal elitists who are the force behind these intrusions into private life.

    I’m not sure what you are referring to by hand-holding. Unemployment insurance? Medicare? VA hospitals? Food stamps? Those who insist on “personal responsibility and self-reliance” probably do not find themselves without a job and with a sick child. So let’s bring John Rawls into the room. If someone operating under a veil of ignorance would choose to do away with the social net, then I’ll respect that opinion. Who could be against personal responsibility? The fact is that not all people are capable of being self-reliant – think of a teen-ager who gets in a car accident, has spinal cord injury, and is on his back for the rest of his life – seems not to trouble those who lead comfortable lives and assume that everyone else does as well.

    However, due to the outstanding win of our fabulous San Francisco Giants, I’m shedding my normally cantankerous nature to go outside and join the merriment.

    Posted November 1, 2010 at 10:45 pm | Permalink
  4. Malcolm says

    Not sure what socialist redistribution of wealth is? Why, it’s when the government confiscates your property to redistribute it to others. It’s when bureaucrats decide “you’ve made enough money”, and that they know better how the wealth you have created should be spent.

    That some industrious people prosper is not an evil for government to remedy. The top 5% of Americans, by income, already pay 61% of the taxes, while the bottom 50% together pay less than 3%.

    As Franklin said:

    “When the people find that they can vote themselves money, that will herald the end of the republic.”

    As a libertarian, I will agree with you about the examples you gave in your second paragraph. Let’s carry that philosophy forward into other aspects of our lives as well. American small businesses — the real engine of our prosperity — are drowning in bureaucratic sludge. Let’s decrease, not increase, the extent of government intrusion into our lives. Perhaps we can agree on that.

    As for your third paragraph, yes, repeated extensions of unemployment insurance are an excellent example, as are mortgage-foreclosure moratoria.

    Should a compassionate society spread a net over the abyss for those who truly cannot help themselves? Yes. Should we succor a paralyzed teen who has no other resources? Yes, of course. You are setting up straw men here. There is a reasonable middle ground between Euro-style welfare-state socialism and a Dickensian law of the jungle.

    Should government policies generally punish prudence and thrift in order to shield the otiose and reckless from the consequences of their folly? Absolutely not. To quote Franklin again:

    “The Constitution only gives people the right to pursue happiness. You have to catch it yourself.”

    But we’ve been over this a million times: where to make the tradeoff between equality and liberty, and so on. So you go out and enjoy the celebration. I’ll save mine for tomorrow.

    Posted November 1, 2010 at 11:34 pm | Permalink
  5. JK says

    Look, Mrs. Palin being a college grad and Ms. O’Donnell (presumably a college grad) are members of that group which, in former times, would be identified each – as “members of the elite” merely because they’ve attained college degrees.

    And – it must be admitted – perky and bubbly as they both are, each with their college degrees (with further advanced training) could probably pass themselves off as reasonably well-trained waitresses at a Denny’s near you.

    Heck, if either worked the breakfast shift – and kept the coffee hot, there’d not be an individual trucker or diesel pumper in America who’d hesitate to put his/her 2¢ in.

    And, were it an early morning in the US, I’d almost be willing to wager Alex Trebek would ask the properly worded question.

    Hell, so long as Todd or bloody altars (depending of course) hell, Alex’d likely make it a “Daily Double.”

    Posted November 2, 2010 at 12:03 am | Permalink
  6. the one eyed man says

    Well, here are some facts:

    1) Taxes are lower now than when Obama took office.
    2) There are fewer government workers (state and local combined) now than when Obama took office.
    3) Even if the Bush tax cuts are kept for 100% of the population, taxes will be lower for all income segments than they were when Clinton left office.
    4) The bottom 50% pays far more than 3% of all taxes. Your statistic reflects federal income taxes only. When you include FICA, sales taxes, state taxes, local taxes, fees, and excise taxes (all of which are regressive), the aggregate tax rate paid by the lower 50% is close to what the top 3% pays. I forget which group pays more, but the marginal tax rate is comparable for both groups.

    Doesn’t sound like socialist redistribution to me.

    I have no problem with very successful people keeping their wealth. Nor has Obama or anyone else proposed anything which would stop wealthy people from being wealthy. All he has done is propose that the marginal tax rate on the top income earners go back to where it was when Clinton was in office (which, at 39%, is far less than the top marginal rate of 90% during the Eisenhower administration). Straw man argument.

    There are no infinite extensions of unemployment insurance. They formerly capped out at 99 weeks, which I think has subsequently been shortened.

    There are moratoria on foreclosures for very solid reasons. We now know that documents were falsified, notaries swore to things they never saw, and the safeguards which exist in the law were routinely abandoned. These aren’t technicalities, and you can’t just ignore the law because it’s an inconvenience.

    I’m not setting up straw men at all regarding the social net. Listen to Rand Paul, Sharron Angle, Joe Miller, Rush Limbaugh, and many others. They have all said explicitly that they would do away with or severely curtail Medicare, Social Security, or other social net programs. Or listen to John Boehner, Carly Fiorina, or Meg Whitman: they will rant about “out of control government spending” incessantly, but won’t say what spending should actually be cut. Given their support for a strong military, where else are they going to get the money?

    Government should not protect the reckless from the consequences of bad decisions. Governments exist to enable equality of opportunity, not equality of outcomes. Who is suggesting that we should shield the profligate?

    Enjoy your celebration tomorrow. When the newly elected actually have to make decisions and govern – instead of throwing stones at those who do – I think the celebration will have a quick and unhappy ending.

    Posted November 2, 2010 at 12:11 am | Permalink
  7. Malcolm says

    As for your various tax statistics, all well and good, to the extent that they are correct (though I am not sure what the point of #3 is, and sales taxes, fees etc. have nothing at all to do with individual wealth, but are flat taxes on transactions. That’s what it means to be wealthy: the expenses you incur for the same goods and seirvices are a smaller percentage of what you have). The issue at hand is not only present-day taxes, but also deficits; there is as much reason to be concerned about governments that spend money they don’t have as ones that make sure they have it by confiscating it from the people up front — because ultimately the bill comes due.

    If you would like to get a feel for what government does lately to keep people from becoming wealthy, read this, for example, by Philip K. Howard.

    When I was a young man I worked for the railroad. Times were bad, I got laid off, and I collected unemployment. I enjoyed the break until the unemployment ran out, then I got off my ass and got a new job.

    There were moratoria on foreclosures before the news item you refer to came up. Foreclosures, however heartless they may seem, are necessary to enable the market to restore itself. They free vital capital for lending to new families in need of homes.

    There are lots of places we could cut spending, and conservatives will have no difficulty finding them. (How much are we giving to Pakistan, again?)

    “Governments exist to enable equality of opportunity, not equality of outcomes.”

    Indeed they should. You seem suddenly to have come to this realization, subsequently to everything you have previously written.

    Posted November 2, 2010 at 1:13 am | Permalink
  8. the one eyed man says

    The point of #3 is that it belies the notion that taxes are confiscatory, because tax rates are well below historical norms.

    The relevance of sales taxes is this: if you are going to compare the tax burden across all economic classes, the relevant metric is the percentage of each individual’s income which is taxed. If there is a $1 per gallon tax on gasoline, it has no effect on Bill Gates, but is a substantial part of others’ incomes. The fact that lower classes pay a similar amount of taxes (in aggregate) as the wealthy also belies the notion that the rich are being soaked.

    I agree that deficits are too large. I would cut spending by closing military bases, ending some weapons programs, withdrawing from Afghanistan, selling national assets, ending the deduction for mortgages, taxing churches and eleemosynary institutions on the land they own, and ending the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans.

    The Philip Howard article is a dead link.

    The fact that you had a dissolute youth has no bearing on the vast majority of people who collect unemployment. If you’re a construction worker and buildings aren’t being built, you’re out of work whether you want to be or not.

    I have no problem with foreclosures. If you can’t pay your mortgage, you should lose your house. Nothing heartless about it at all. However, I have a big problem when the regulations regarding property seizure are flouted and ignored.

    The government should protect people from their own folly, or try to legislate equality of outcome. This is no “sudden realization.” I’ve always believed this. If people can’t pay their bills, they should go bankrupt. If companies run out of money, they should fail. The role of government in 1910 would not have been to protect the horse and buggy industry. However, an essential role of government is to do what it can to help those who made horse drawn carriages until their industry is supplanted by the one which makes automobiles. I have no issue with the creative destruction part of capitalism, but only when the government can act as shock absorbers to minimize the human pain which is the ineluctable result of a robust capitalist economy.

    Posted November 2, 2010 at 8:42 am | Permalink
  9. the one eyed man says

    Whoops! Forgot the negative.

    Thge government should not protect people from folly nor legislate equality of outcome.

    Posted November 2, 2010 at 8:54 am | Permalink
  10. bob koepp says

    I hate to see old friends arguing, even good-naturedly, over something so trivial as which brand of thugs should be given the key to the city. There are much more important issues, such as whether Clapton or Beck is the “better” axeman.

    ps – Vote today, giving your permission to candidate x to bugger you for the next few years.

    Posted November 2, 2010 at 9:03 am | Permalink
  11. the one eyed man says

    That’s easy. Clapton.

    Posted November 2, 2010 at 9:11 am | Permalink
  12. Malcolm says

    All taxes are confiscatory. That some taxes may be lower at present than at some previous time is a red herring if deficits are spiraling out of control, as they will simply have to be paid for later.

    I understood your point about sales tax, fees,etc. You seem to have missed mine, however: such flat taxes simply raise the price of goods and services. If your point is that the cost of goods and services should burden the wealthy equally to the poor, then it seems you wish to undo the very notion of inequalities of wealth, which is another way of saying “ensure equality of outcome”.

    We can, it seems, at least agree on a variety of ways to cut spending (why you continue to insist that nobody on the Right can identify anything they would cut remains a mystery). Yes, close lots of unnecessary military bases. Stop giving foreign aid to people who hate us. Stop trying to build secular democracies in primitive Islamic sinkholes. Stop subsidizing farm prices (and the ridiculous Chevy Volt). Etc., etc.

    I have fixed the Philip Howard link. Apologies to all.

    As for unemployment, your response is telling. When you are a construction worker and the construction jobs dry up, your answer is to sit around on the dole and wait for the government to make them come back, as the taxpayers, meanwhile, “minimize your pain”.

    Another approach, though, would be to go out and find something else to do — as I did when the recording industry collapsed and I had two kids to put through college.

    People don’t get moving until they have to, and if you think a great many people aren’t going to live on unemployment as long as it keeps coming, you’re dreaming.

    As for your last paragraph, I can certainly agree with this much:

    If people can’t pay their bills, they should go bankrupt. If companies run out of money, they should fail.

    As for what you then describe as “an essential role of government”, however, I am at a loss to see where in our national charter that “essential role” is specified. I suppose you will fall back on the “general welfare” clause, which is infinitely elastic to the liberal mind. We conservatives do not, however, think that the Framers intended it to prescribe a country in which the citizenry is generally on welfare.

    Finally, I agree: Clapton.

    Posted November 2, 2010 at 10:55 am | Permalink
  13. the one eyed man says

    Saying that all taxes are confiscatory is a meaningless observation. The word has a pejorative connotation and suggests that there is something intrinsically wrong with taxation. There isn’t. Unless you are an anarchist who wants no government at all, taxes are a necessity. The only two questions worth discussing are how much taxes need to be raised and how the tax burden should be distributed.

    I do not think that the wealthy should pay higher consumption taxes than the poor. However, I believe that the aggregate tax burden on the poor should be no greater than that of the rich, and probably less.

    I wouldn’t say that nobody on the Right is incapable or unwilling to specify spending cuts. However, excepting Paul Ryan, there isn’t a single leading Republican politician who has done so. They talk until the bovines return to their domicile about “out of control government spending,” but never specify what should be cut. Veteran’s care? Lower Social Security payments? End foreign aid? We don’t know.

    The Republicans also continually vilify the stimulus package, but are consistently for lower taxes. About one third of the stimulus package went for tax cuts. This is never acknowledged by the Republicans. Have cake, eat it too.

    It is not always possible for people in areas with high unemployment to simply find something else to do. You can’t have it both ways: excoriating Obama on one hand for a high unemployment rate, and then excoriating the workers who can’t find the jobs which don’t exist anyway.

    The General Welfare clause is, in fact, infinitely elastic. So is the Commerce clause.

    In 1971, the Mothers of Invention performed a concert at Smith College. Frank Zappa told the students that Smith was “only five per cent better than a convent,” and the way for them to rectify the situation was for them to all go out and “get reamed.”

    I’m going to watch the election results. Let the reaming begin.

    Posted November 2, 2010 at 6:14 pm | Permalink
  14. Malcolm says

    Not being an anarchist, I agree that taxes are a necessity (your cue, Bob!). You’re the one who claimed to have belied the notion that they are confiscatory.

    I’m all for lowering the tax burden on the poor, too. If that’s what you want, then let’s drop those sales taxes.

    Once the Republicans are in power, I expect them to find things to cut. There are possibilities everywhere. I am certainly not impressed by the Republicans generally, and am not encouraged by how things went under George Bush — but if it’s less government you want, you certainly don’t want to be electing Democrats. The Republicans are being swept into office on a flood-tide of small-government sentiment, and at the very least I expect them to resist further expansion.

    The Republicans vilify the stimulus because Keynesian schemes have never been shown to work. And don’t tell me that they ended the Depression, because they didn’t.

    I certainly do not “excoriate” any worker who tries everything to find work and fails. Where did you get that idea?

    The General Welfare clause is, in fact, infinitely elastic. So is the Commerce clause.

    Q.E.D. (One wonders why the Framers bothered to enumerate powers at all. Just did it as a lark, I suppose.) God help the Republic.

    Yes, let that reaming begin. It will be of historic proportions, insh’Allah.

    Posted November 2, 2010 at 7:55 pm | Permalink
  15. bob koepp says

    entrance, stage left.

    token anarchist: Taxes? Confiscatory? Necessary? I really do like Clapton, especially when he’s backing up the likes of Duane Allman, or playing fills for the likes of Jack Bruce. And he’s easy to listen to. Then there’s Blow by Blow.

    Posted November 2, 2010 at 8:11 pm | Permalink
  16. JK says

    Has anyone heard from Peter?

    If he shows up tell him the number is, 1-800-784-2433.

    Posted November 3, 2010 at 2:46 am | Permalink
  17. the one eyed man says

    Suicidal? Not at all. It turned out better than I thought it would.

    I think it’s a shame that Sestak and Feinberg lost, but Reid won and we had a sweep here in California.

    The Tea Party cost the GOP seats they should have won in Nevada and Delaware by putting crackpots on the ballot. It looks like they were humiliated in Alaska too. I think you’ve seen the crest of the Tea Party movement. That in itself is cause for celebration.

    Posted November 3, 2010 at 9:38 am | Permalink
  18. the one eyed man says

    Another cause for celebration: Meg Whitman spent $53 for every vote she got, out-spending Jerry Brown by 14 to 1.

    It’s nice to see that you can’t get to the Governor’s office by clicking “buy it now.”

    Posted November 3, 2010 at 9:56 am | Permalink
  19. Malcolm says

    I think you’ve seen the crest of the Tea Party movement.

    Couldn’t agree less. Tea Party candidates scored victories in plenty of important races, and even the Times is carrying a story today with the headline “Victories Suggest Wider Appeal of Tea Party”. This movement isn’t going away.

    It is a terrible pity about Reid, of course, but in Delaware the Republican candidate that O’Donnell defeated was nothing but a RINO anyway, so for real conservatives that one was a long shot no matter what.

    Meanwhile, the Dems lost 60 seats in the House! That is truly historic, a real shellacking. (And to be rid of Nancy Pelosi as Speaker is the sweetest thing of all.) Finally, the progressive steamroller is out of gas.

    I agree with you about campaign spending, which I think is over-rated anyway. People who have studied the effect of campaign spending on results have come away not seeing much correlation (another reason I thought Citizen’s United was the right decision).

    Anyway, a happy morning. We’ve taken the hammer away from the baby.

    Posted November 3, 2010 at 10:35 am | Permalink
  20. Malcolm says

    Sorry about California. You guys are totally screwed. It was a mighty state, once.

    Posted November 3, 2010 at 10:43 am | Permalink
  21. the one eyed man says

    This is the third consecutive election where the incumbent party received a thumping. The first two went to the Democrats, and this one went to the Republicans. I don’t see it as anything more than the pendulum swinging back and forth, albeit a little more violently than it has in the past.

    I think the ultimate effect of the Tea Party will be to move the pendulum back to the Democrats in 2012. They have purged the Republican party of any remaining moderates, which leads the center and the left open to the Democrats. The Tea Party and its allies won a lot of votes by talking vaguely about cutting government programs, but when they actually have to come up with a budget, one of two things will happen. In order to effect the agenda they propose, they will have to propose deep cuts in entitlements and the military, which will elicit howls from those who benefit from them. The second option is to fail to live up to their campaign promises, which will result in a different pain for them.

    Harry Reid is one of the most inspiring figures in public life. Both he and Nancy Pelosi pushed through an impressive amount of legislation despite unanimous and consistent opposition from the other side, whose goal was to deny the administration any achievements, the better to attack them for not accomplishing anything. History will rate this Congress very highly.

    Regarding California: I think that we’re screwed (and have been for a long time) regardless of who sits in Sacramento. With our propositions, we have a purer democracy than other states, and its limitations are pretty obvious. The electorate consistently votes for more benefits and spending, and never votes for taxes to pay for them. Writ large, this is the problem the Republicans will face now that they’ve acquired the levers of power.

    Posted November 3, 2010 at 11:31 am | Permalink
  22. Malcolm says

    Well, this was the biggest thumping in sixty years, and was a clear referendum on what sort of country we want to be. I disagree that there are no more “moderates” left on the right side of the aisle; I think it’s more the case that you and I don’t have the same idea of what a “moderate” is. It’s pretty clear that America’s temperament lies somewhere to the right of where you and the Democrats imagine it to be.

    I agree that cuts will elicit howls. (It’s a pity about free lunches, but there it is.) I, and the rest of the voters all over America who made their voices heard yesterday, will expect the new conservative majority to act like the conservatives they claim to be, and not the Republicans of the last several years. We’ll see.

    I agree also that California is so far gone that it’s probably doomed no matter who is in charge.

    As for Reid and Pelosi: … well, never mind.

    I’m glad the election is over now, and we can all move on to other topics for a bit, perhaps.

    Posted November 3, 2010 at 2:24 pm | Permalink
  23. the one eyed man says

    The Republican party formerly had a large moderate wing. People like Pat Moynihan, Jacob Javits, Nelson Rockefeller, Lincoln Chaffee, Arlen Spector, and Arnold Schwartzenegger. Moderates now are branded as RINO’s and kicked out of the party.

    Posted November 3, 2010 at 3:04 pm | Permalink
  24. Malcolm says

    Peter, Moynihan was a Democrat. Javits was arguably the most liberal Republican to serve in the Senate since 1937.

    There are always outliers in both parties, and they are often made to feel unwelcome (like, for example, Joe Lieberman).

    If I were a Republican myself (I’m still a registered Democrat, for tactical reasons), I’d probably be seen as being on the “moderate” side, as I favor gay rights, legalization of marijuana, abortion rights, and so on. I’d fall into the category John Derbyshire calls “metrocons” — socially libertarian, but conservative on matters of culture, fiscal policy, immigration, education, gun rights, and so forth.

    But yes, perhaps the ideological divide between the parties is a bit sharper now than when we were young. Republican voters, alarmed by the direction the nation was headed, now expect Republicans to adhere, above all, to core principles of small government, responsible fiscal policy, light-handed regulation of business, and so on.

    Or to quote Franklin yet again:

    …a frequent recurrence to fundamental principles…is absolutely necessary to preserve the blessings of liberty and keep a government free.

    Posted November 3, 2010 at 3:40 pm | Permalink
  25. the one eyed man says

    Whoops – I remember Moynihan being part of the Nixon administration. I lazily figured that he was a Republican. You can substitute John Lindsay and Mike Bloomberg as moderate Republicans.

    I think the antipathy towards Lieberman stems from the fact that he endorsed and campaigned for the Republican Presidential candidate. Also Connecticut primary voters preferred Ned Lamont and Lieberman ran against him. Two big no-nos. If any Republican dared to vote along with Democrats – much less campaign against them – they would be put in the ring with Carl Paladino. (Which reminds me: I wonder if Sharron Angle is still hankering for her “Second Amendment solution” for that pesky Harry Reid.)

    It’s inarguable that there is a much wider spectrum of opinion within the Democratic party than the Republican party. Pat Leahy is pretty far away from Ben Nelson. However, to steal a line from George Wallace, there’s not a dime’s worth of difference between Jim Demint and Mitch McConnell.

    Nor do I think that the election is “a clear referendum on what sort of country we want to be.” If the country as a whole wanted to reject Obama’s policies, his approval ratings would be dropping concomitantly with the election results. However, it has been constant in the mid-forties for quite some time now, which is roughly equal to where Reagan was at the same point in his tenure. The situation today is analogous to 1982 or 1994. What you have this year, as has been widely noted, is a highly energized Republican base and Democrats who weren’t motivated to vote. When you have the much larger turnout of a Presidential election, I think you will get much different results. Yet another reason why I not only believe that Obama will be re-elected, but he will coast to victory.

    Posted November 3, 2010 at 4:23 pm | Permalink
  26. Malcolm says

    You may be right that there is a broader spectrum of opinion amongst Democrats than Republicans. I’d say that’s because there are more ways to be batty than sane.

    I think you are in deep denial about the actual mood of the nation, and about what this election really represents. But that’s not necessarily an unhealthy sign: as Elisabeth Kubler-Ross taught us, denial is the first step, preceding bargaining, and finally acceptance.

    Posted November 3, 2010 at 4:43 pm | Permalink
  27. the one eyed man says

    This just in: Bennett defeats Buck in Colorado.

    I count four Tea Party losses in the Senate (Angel, Buck, O’Donnell, and probably Miller) against three wins (Toomey, Rubio, and Paul). Paul takes the seat formerly occupied by (dumb as a post) Jim Bouton, so no change there in voting. Pennsylvania has a long history of sending Republicans to the Senate (e.g., Spector, Santorum) so nothing out of whack there. The anti-Rubio vote in Florida was split two ways; absent a third party race by Charlie Crist, it could have gone the other way.

    The New Yorker had an interesting article a few weeks ago which showed the parallels between the Tea Party and the John Birch Society, including identifying a number of people who were active in both movements. (Coincidentally, the Times had an article recently which quoted a Tea Partier: “they say that we’re extreme, but they also said that the John Birch Society was extreme.”) In due time, the Tea Party will be the same type of historical footnote as the Birchers.

    Posted November 3, 2010 at 4:45 pm | Permalink
  28. Malcolm says

    Yeah, actually, when you look at it the right way, last night was really kind of a big win for the Democrats, right? A real validation!

    See you in 2012.

    Posted November 3, 2010 at 4:49 pm | Permalink
  29. the one eyed man says

    I am glad that you are making progress, however tentative, towards true Enlightenment.

    Posted November 3, 2010 at 5:04 pm | Permalink