Dear Reader (and Joe Biden, who knows what this G-File is about already, because kitty litter is a great way to save for college and deter Iran),
Today is the last G-File before the elections. As we all know, this is the single most important variable left before Election Day (save for, quite literally, nearly all of the others, but it’s not like you’re suddenly going to be a stickler for rhetorical exactitude in the G-File now). If the G-File had been available in 1894, the GOP would really have had a good year.
So, fully recognizing the awesome power of this fully operational G-File, here are the predictions:
Republicans will win 77 seats in the House and seven in the Senate.
Now, just to clarify, this is what social scientists call a complete guess. But it is an informed guess. One of the things that annoys me at this stage of the campaign cycle is the way malt liquor stings your sinuses when you blow it out your nose when you realize the cockfight you’re watching has been fixed. But that’s not nearly as relevant as another thing that annoys me: the way people make House and Senate predictions as if it were a science. Charlie Cook’s predictions are every bit as much a guess as mine, it’s just that his are considerably more informed. But the truth of the matter is that nobody knows what’s actually going to happen (“Except for my dark lord, Cthulhu!” – Gracie the Cat), and as long as your intuition is in the realm of the reasonable, your guess is as good as anybody’s.
It’s About Obama
One thing that is clear, however, is that this election is about Obama and the Democrats. I find it amusing how so many Democrats are eager to point out that the GOP is unpopular according to the polls, too. “I have news for Republicans,” whines some Dana Milbank wannabe like the kid on the playground who’s getting punished for something everybody does. “Their approval rating is in the dumps too.” Harrumph, smug nod, harrumph.
And yeah, that’s true and does raise some interesting post-election challenges for the Right. But, uh, what does it say about the Dems that they’re about to lose so unbelievably badly to a very unpopular party? It’s like a toothless, pockmarked hooker saying to her colleague, “The Johns think you’re ugly, too, Candiii.” To which Candiii responds, “Yes, so how does it make you feel that they all want to go to the Super 8 with me, Saphire?”
Yes, I know: In a just society, I would be flogged for an analogy that bad (“Flogging costs extra!” – Candiii).
They’ve Lost Already Be that as it may, and I know I’ve made this point a million times now, but even if the GOP simply wins the historic norm of 24 seats (or whatever the actual number is, look it up yourself), a lot of people already look awfully silly, starting with Obama himself. Two years ago, we were told this was going to be a new liberal era that would last for a generation. But you can’t have a new progressive era or a new New Deal if people don’t want one.
I debated Peter Beinart last week at Maryville University. I noted that his 2008 prediction in Time magazine of a “new liberal order” and “Obama’s new New Deal” was already disproved by the fact that the entire Obama agenda (or at least the Obama approach) is unpopular and that anti-Obama candidates – in both parties – have been on the upswing for a year. Under FDR, the New Deal grew in popularity after he was sworn in. Legislative successes fueled more popularity. The exact opposite has happened with Obama. Beinart responded as if this were a bizarre statement because Obama passed a bunch of liberal legislation over the objections of the public, which means the new liberal order is doing just fine. I shook my head like a basset hound trying to clear all the slobber from his flews and jowls, but I still didn’t understand how he could say that.
Ever since Hell dispatched one of its flying pigs to Scott Brown so he could fly a victory lap over a frozen river Styx and buzz Mephistopheles’ snow-covered patio furniture before landing in Ted Kennedy’s Senate seat, we’ve known this wasn’t a new New Deal underway. It wasn’t even the Great Society – becausethat was popular, too. When liberals say “Oh, Obama’s not in that much trouble, this could be like 1994 or Reagan in ‘82,” they don’t realize that they’re admitting they lost the argument they made in 2008. It’s like claiming the Messiah is here and the eschaton shall be immanentized, then two years later saying everything is hunky-dory because our one-time savior still gets a lot of applause on The Daily Show. Oh, wait, that’s not an analogy; that’s pretty much a description. But you get the point.
Several Paragraphs Later, It’s Still About Obama
Earlier this week, Obama told Al Sharpton: “My name may not be on the ballot, but our agenda for moving forward is on the ballot, and I need everybody to turn out.”
Well, lookey-lookey, I agree with him. And this is an important point (“Why, just because you say so?” – The Couch). If this election went the other way, if Democrats gained seats (or even lost just a few), every single liberal in America would insist that it was a rousing endorsement of Obama and his agenda. They would insist that he had replenished his political capital. They would say – à lathe New Deal and the Great Society – that the new liberal order had been reaffirmed. And they would be right. But, as pretty much everyone assumes now, something very close to the opposite is happening. And that means his agenda is being dealt a serious blow. His mandate is gone. He is the god who bleeds.
One Term and Out And that brings me to my last prediction for today. Obama will lose his reelection bid in 2012. I know, I know. This stinks of hubris (and, inexplicably, the faint scent of herring). I could give you a long explanation about how the Rust Belt and the South will both be far, far less hospitable to Obama and Democrats in 2012. My one caveat is that the GOP nominee needs to be a fairly mainstream figure. How to define mainstream will no doubt occupy a lot of discussions in the months and years to come. But suffice it to say for now that Obama’s biggest problem will simply be this: He will have to run on his record. And the merits of that record aside, he has never had to run on a record before, because he had no serious political accomplishments under his belt before he became president. He’s only ever sold the upside, promising ill-defined hope. That schtick will play very differently in 2012, because in 2012, people will understand what that code really stands for.
Various and Sundry Tweet, tweet. For no discernibly good reason, I am back on Twitter for an indeterminate period of time. I’m still trying to figure out why I should – or shouldn’t – Tweet, not counting how incredibly gay it sounds for a grown man to say “tweet.” If you want to follow me, that’s fine, but please give me some privacy when I go through the curtain into the back room at the local video store. If you want to “follow” me on Twitter (again, for as long as that lasts), I’m at @JonahNRO. It’d be cool if I could break 10,000 followers with this announcement. But it’d be cooler if I could break a cinderblock with my mind. Blood Was Every Color As promised, Lowry acceded to my request and put my Sons of Anarchy piece up on the web. You can find it here.
By the way, one of the reasons I wandered back over to Twitter in the first place was that I’d heard that Kurt Sutter, SOA’s creator, had mentioned my piece on his Twitter feed. He wrote: “i love it when guys 4 times as smart as me make me sound twice as smart as i really am. god bless, you, @JonahNRO.”
More Goldberg than an Octuplet Bar Mitzvah! I think I mentioned around here that C-Span is going to do a three-hour (!) interview with me on Sunday, November 7. I think it’s bizarre, too. Earlier this week, C-Span sent a videographer to my AEI office to film me in the throes of my “writing process.” They wanted to see where I do my writing. The problem, as I explained, is that my basement, complete with the Couch, has been stripped to the studs (which sounds like intern initiation at Eric Massa’s office). Still, they did get some shots of me smoking a cigar on the 12th-floor balcony at AEI, where I wrote most of this G-File. Anyway, I think they take calls, and I’m sure the lefties will be dying to ask me all sorts of “When did you stop beating your wife” questions. So, if some of you folks could call in, I’d appreciate it, even if it’s for some baba-booey stuff.
More Wilson-Bashing! Sometimes it grates on me that my spaghetti strainer codpiece takes so much duct tape to stay on. But that’s not important right now. It also grates on me that so many of the liberal eggheads mocking the anti-Woodrow Wilson crowd absolutely refuse to engage any of the best arguments against Wilson. Instead, they cherry-pick one or two entirely trivial misstatements or overstatements by Glenn Beck, or they offer some truly idiotic charge of hypocrisy (Bush was like Wilson, so you can’t criticize Wilson!) and then commence dismissing all of the critics as if they have nothing credible to say. David Greenberg is a perfect example of what I’m talking about. My response is here.
Full Disclosure Time Just so I can anticipate criticism, I thought I’d acknowledge here and now that tomorrow’s column will recycle an argument I made a while back in the G-File. I’m going to do that from time to time, because A) I am very busy, B) this is sort of like a Cleveland nightclub where I try out material before I head to Vegas, and C) I know you are a kind and forgiving people. What will I be recycling? Tune in tomorrow.