Monday, October 4, 2010

Watching the Democrats Split

One of the disadvantages of the MSM is that they are always looking for the Republicans to split, but never notice the Democrats splitting until the chasm is right in front of them.

Thus it is left to The New York Times crypto-conservative Ross Douthat to point out that, usually, the Democrats are split into a left wing and a moderate wing.

On one side was the liberal left — populist in economics and dovish on foreign policy, in favor of lavish spending programs and suspicious of big business, and hostile to any idea that seemed to give an inch to the conservatives.

On the other were the moderates and centrists — pro-market and pro-Wall Street, inclined to tiptoe rightward on issues like crime and welfare, and hawkish about deficits and dictators alike.

In the special conditions of 2005-2008 these two factions were able to come together, mostly because they hated President Bush.

Unfortunately, President Obama has not kept the two sides together. Indeed,

Obama has managed the more difficult feat of alienating both of them at once.

The party’s centrists, from Blue Dog Democrats to Wall Street, insist that he’s turned out to be far more liberal than they expected. The health care bill was too expensive. The deficits are too big. He’s been too hard on business interests, and on Israel. And what happened to bipartisanship?

On the left, meanwhile, Obama is deemed a disappointment for all the things he hasn’t done. The stimulus should have been bigger. The financial reforms should have been tougher. He should have withdrawn from Afghanistan. He should have taken the fight to the Republicans, instead of letting them obstruct.

This leaves President Obama with a single way out of his political problem. He must "unite his party around their common fears." That is French for tearing the country apart.

You don't get your average MSMer figuring that out.

This has to mean that the current polls underestimate the defeat that the Democrats will suffer in November. The Weekly Standard's Jay Cost looks at the polls--in what we might call a "technical analysis"--and determines that whatever way you look at the numbers, the Democrats are in trouble.

But his analysis uses turnout models that don't differ very much from most recent elections. The fact is, he admits, that the closest turnout model is Virginia in 2009. It produces a ten point lead for Republicans.

The only people who can recall a result so pro-Republican are nonagenarians, as nothing like this has happened since 1928. How many seats this would produce is very hard to say, but I’ll put it this way: Republicans picked up 52 seats in 1994 with a +6.7 win; a +10 win should produce more than 52 seats, perhaps many more.

And Jay Cost is not trying to impress any "fundamental analysis" on his results. What does it mean to turnout if the Democratic Party is split and discouraged and Democrats continue sitting around and blaming each other as they have started to do?

The only thing to do is quote Ronald Reagan: "You ain't seen nothing yet." I'm still holding out for an 80 seat Republican pickup in the House.

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