In an earlier BC story, Charles Franklin, Professor of Political Science at the University of Wisconsin and author of the blog Political Arithmetik noted that when a president’s approval rating falls below 40%, mid-term election results for his party are in the “disastrous” range. Above 40%, the likely fallout is simply “bad.”
I’m not particularlly an election strategy wonk, DKos, The Decembrist, MyDD, and The Emerging Democratic Majority among many other national and local blogs do yeoman’s work in keeping up with all that. Frankly I’m uncomfortable predicting numbers, though as this article from Blogcritics points out the history of mid-term trends would strongly suggest that Democrats will pick up some seats in both houses. Regardless of whether they win a majority in either house the dynamics of the House and Senate will change. So a when a commenter writes( and I’ve seen several versions of this comment over the last few years),
The Republicans will hold the House and the Senate after this year’s elections. The Democrats are too far out to appeal to the center and have no real proposals for solutions to any of the nation’s problems.
Let’s say that the commenter isn’t just doing his part to distract from a sinking ship and sincerely believes that Democrats are too far out, what does that say about where the center is. The center has shifted to the wacky world of George Bush, Pat Robertson and Michelle Malkin. People who’s world view seems to be based entirely on beliefs that conflict with American values and The Age of Reason, leaving rationalism as the nation’s abandoned stepchild. Try to imagine a diagram or master-plan that goes from 9-11 to over 2000 dead soldiers and marines in Iraq, and add in well over 30,000 dead Iraqis that lived under Saddam’s iron fist and had nothing to do with Islamic terrorism directed at the west. Follow the line down to tax cuts which haven’t helped the economy for the long term they’ve just delayed the inevitable pain of having to pay for Bush’s blunders and Republican pork. We are a country without an energy policy; again conservatives can drill in everyone’s backyard starting tomorrow and will just be delaying major changes that must be made in how and what we use to light our homes and run our transportation ( Where is the leadership that the party of pufferfish says it has in abundance). Conservatives have claimed for decades that private schools are the savior of American education, it turns out that is not the case (Public, Private Schoolers Perform At Same Level ). It turns out that on every single issue conservatives have been little more then snake oil salesmen. Deregulation has not lead to rock bottom prices, more jobs, or better paying jobs, on the contrary it has lead to fatter executive salaries, dirty air, and companies like Wal-Mart and Microsoft which are very close to being monopolies ( Myth: Deregulation promotes competition.). In almost every facet of our culture and economy conservative policies are those of aristocrats and theocrats, not egalitarians. That commenter and many conservatives for that matter are absolutely positively sure they know what Republicans stand for. I’m not sure they do. It seems more like they turn on their radios or TVs and dial into to their favorite right-wing pundit and soak up every word as some divine truth, while those of us that do not live in an echo chamber know that in every way imaginable conservative policies have been not just been disasters, but down right unAmerican. The following is from an on-line feed aggragator and typifies the one thing that conservatives inadvertently excel at, irony. From Thomas Sowell,
One of the many failings of our educational system is that it sends out into the world people who cannot tell rhetoric from reality. They have learned no systematic way to analyze ideas, derive their implications and test those implications against hard facts.
Tom is the member of a political movement that sent Americans to die based on a series of lies, of the rational and rhetorical type and is under the delusion that he is even capable of distinguishing “hard facts” from fairy tales.
Tom belongs to the Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) school of asshattery, Sen. Inhofe: ‘Gore Is Full of Crap,’ ‘All Recent Science…Confirms This Thing Is A Hoax’
Actually, “all of the recent science” — without exception — accepts that global warming is real and caused by humans. The IPCC didn’t involve “one scientist.” It involved thousands of scientists from over 120 countries, including so-called “climate skeptics” and industry representatives.
I had enough logic in school to remember that you are supposed to have rational arguments, not just use or rely on name calling etc to make your point, and not just dismiss your opponents as crazy, but aren’t old Tom Sowell and James Inhofe ignoring the rules of rational discourse and just pulling BS out of their asses. Actually where would conservatism be without these delusional and bizarre assertions. Its the “I’m a conservative, I’m usually white, usually male and thus anything I say is true” school of political debate. And if that doesn’t work they just use the Bill O’Reilly method and repeat the falsehood, only louder. The loudness and the shrillness makes it proof of validity I guess.
It need hardly be said that the subtlest practitioners of doublethink are those who invented doublethink and know that it is a vast system of mental cheating. In our society, those who have the best knowledge of what is happening are also those who are furthest from seeing the world as it is. In general, the greater the understanding, the greater the delusion; the more intelligent, the less sane. One clear illustration of this is the fact that war hysteria increases in intensity as one rises in the social scale. Those whose attitude towards the war is most nearly rational are the subject peoples of the disputed territories. To these people the war is simply a continuous calamity which sweeps to and fro over their bodies like a tidal wave. Which side is winning is a matter of complete indifference to them. They are aware that a change of overlordship means simply that they will be doing the same work as before for new masters who treat them in the same manner as the old ones. The slightly more favoured workers whom we call ‘the proles’ are only intermittently conscious of the war. When it is necessary they can be prodded into frenzies of fear and hatred, but when left to themselves they are capable of forgetting for long periods that the war is happening.
from 1984 by George Orwell