Vakkotaur (vakkotaur) wrote,
Vakkotaur
vakkotaur

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The "Fat Lady" ain't sung yet.


At least not in Minnesota. Norm Coleman appears to have a very thin majority of the votes in the senate race. During the campaign he quoted Maimonides, "A person should see himself and the whole world as being on a knife edge, precisely and exquisitely balanced." It wouldn't take much to slip one way or the other. If the race is within 0.5% a recount is automatic under Minnesota law and the only thing that could stop it is if the person who didn't win the initial count waives the recount. Al Franken is not waiving and while I don't care at all for Franken I don't begrudge him the recount. The margin is well under 0.5%. It's a few hundred votes out of well over 2 million and using the last numbers from the Star-Tribune it's within 0.02%. The recounting won't really start until later this month and is apt to go into December.

Yes, Obama/Biden won the Presidency and Vice Presidency and many Democrats did get themselves elected or reelected to Congress. However there is not a "veto-proof majority" within the party. At least a few Republicans will have to go along with them to defeat a filibuster, though I expect them to get that few more often than not when a filibuster is threatened. The Republicans will have to choose carefully and only block the most egregiously bad ideas - and there will be some. No party is perfect, and no party is entirely free of stupidity.

It will be interesting, but hopefully not in the supposed Chinese curse way, to see how things happen. A President must make decisions. Simply voting "present" will not do. I think it was Truman who said that the key to leadership was to make decisions and not waffle around about everything. That doesn't mean sticking with a bad idea if that choice turns out to be crap. Truman also said, "Whenever I make a bum decision, I go out and make another one."

The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped again today (-486.01 points, or about -5%), which could be the business reaction to the election results. Of late, it could also simply be the usual shifting around with election reactions buried in the noise of other things. I have seen the business owners and self-employed on my friends list very worried about the upcoming administration. That doesn't give me a good feeling. These folks know economics very directly very well.

Other things that don't give me good feelings are seeing Obama's apparent stance on things shift overnight. He was saying the DC gun ban was perfectly fine until the Supreme Court said otherwise, then overnight he had always believed in the individual right to keep and bear arms. The attempted suppression of commercials pointing out his voting record shows that not only does he not grasp the second amendment, he fails to grasp the first as well. That makes me wonder what else he doesn't comprehend or is willing to ignore or erode. The call for "a civilian national security force that's just as powerful, just as strong, just as well-funded" (as the military) is not exactly calming to say the least. That when he departed from prepared speeches and rehearsed answers he didn't merely stumble over his words (to be expected) but seemed to reveal an entirely different person than he was normally presenting, especially the "spread the wealth around" comment is also not comforting. That when news organizations came out and endorsed his opponent, their reporters were no longer welcome on his campaign reminds me of a Nixonian enemies list. That his positions during the campaign seemed to be ones that no President has taken since Hoover (a tax increase, which is what it will be when you run the numbers, during down economic times and raising of some trade barriers - things that took a nasty recession and turned it first into a depression and then into the Great Depression) doesn't bode well either. I've seen it said that there was a "Would you have a beer with this man?" issue. That's no big deal. Sure, I'd have a beer with him. What difference would it make, really? The classic question is, "Would you buy a used car from this man?" I would not.

Do I think he'll be as bad my last paragraph indicates? No, or at least I hope he won't be allowed to be that bad. He will moderate himself or be moderated by others. I do expect a burst of activity in the classic first 100 days, but not even having both houses of congress with large majorities of ones own party means rubber-stamping of everything all the time. It's two years to the mid-term elections and Representatives and some Senators will be keeping that in mind. It's unusual, though not unheard of, for the party holding the Presidency to gain seats in mid-term elections. Obama might well be at the peak of his popularity, or will be around January 20. Then the job gets very real, very fast, and spin doctoring can only do so much. There will be real proposals to consider, real signatures of bills into law, or real vetoes of said bills. Even the dodge of leaving a bill on the desk unsigned until it becomes law, or (with the just the right timing) the "pocket veto" still leaves a record of laws and vetoes. There will be no voting "Present." Thus there will be a record. A record that will be most public, that while it can be spun, cannot be erased.

I don't have this great thrill that many do. I do foresee change. I am concerned that many of the changes, despite the hopes of many, will not be for the better. Could I be wrong? Of course. I'm rather hoping for that. But not expecting it. Mark Twain said, "History doesn't repeat itself, but it does rhyme." and I'm pretty sure I've heard this tune before and didn't like it.

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