Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Keeping The House And The Senate

Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the United States Hou...Image via Wikipedia
Since June 2008 I have not followed Obama daily for a few hours each day like I did before that for a year and a half. So I don't exactly have my finger on the pulse. But following the headlines has been as good as seeing hill top to hill top.

The Dumbfuck Immigration Laws

The political landscape as it stands right now is a mystery to me. There are few things I can say for sure, but I can try and attempt and make a few guesses.

On immigration I don't know what to say. This issue is hard for me because (1) it touches me at the bones level, (2) I know Obama feels deeply about this issue, it touches him almost at the bones level, he understands it to be a civil rights issue, and (3) I would not want him to lose the House and the Senate over it.

How do you kill the snake without breaking the stick?

I first argued that immigration has to be saved for 2011. Then I argued it perhaps needs to be worked on now. Now I am thinking it has to be worked on now but only if work on it can be completed in two months. If you can be done and over with by the end of September, start work on it now. If not, save it for 2011. 2009: Stimulus. 2010: Wall Street Reform. 2011: Immigration. 2012: Deficit.

Immigration Now?
Save Immigration For 2011

So how to keep the House and the Senate? Obama could do it because he has done this before. He has defied history before. There was no rule in any book anywhere that said a black man could end up in the White House.

Obama's Got Momentum: He Could Defy History In November

There is a rule in the books that says a president does not get to keep the Congress during his first mid term elections. Defying this rule should be much less challenging than that first rule. After all, race is America's original sin.

There are a few pointers I could give.
  1. I like Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi, but it is the president who has to step up. This has to be his election. He needs to campaign and campaign vigorously. He needs to treat 2010 like it were 2012.
  2. He has to make the point that had he been the president from 2000 to 2008, there would have been no Iraq War and there would have been no Wall Street meltdown. Had there been no Wall Street meltdown, there would have been no bailout and no stimulus bill. The stimulus bill was expensive, but minus that we would have been in the middle of a Great Depression right this moment. If you think 10% unemployment is ugly, try imagining a 25% unemployment.
  3. The bailout was expensive but the banks already paid for it for the most part. The stimulus bill was expensive, but the economy will pay for it over time. That money did not go down the drain.
  4. We can not run these deficits forever, but now is not the time to cut back. If we cut back now, we run the risk of running the economy to the ground all over again. The stimulus will have gone to waste. 
  5. The deficit will be eliminated, and that will happen while he is in the White House. But now is not the time.
  6. Health care reform happened. That was a once in a century thing.
  7. Wall Street has been reformed. That has been a once in a half century thing.
  8. It makes no sense to take a winning team out of the league.
  9. A hole that was almost a decade in the digging, I never promised to take you out of it in one year. We are not there yet fully, but we are on the right track, and we need to stay the course. Let me keep my team that has let me get this far. I have bigger and better things in mind that I want to do. And I need my team to stay with me.
  10. I want the unemployment rate to come down to 5% from near 10% more than anybody else. And that is why I need your continued support. Just like the deficit will be eliminated on my watch, unemployment will be brought down to about 5% on my watch, but I need to keep at it. And I need to get to keep my team.
I think the Dems stand to keep the Senate right now, and they stand to keep the House, although I expect the margins to get slimmed, especially so in the House. But then we have three full months. And three full months are a long time. Three months are a long time for the political winds to blow. Obama could make them blow his way.

Obama's 2010 election effort has to be about the economy first, second and third. I can see him defying history "but the arc does not bend on its own."

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New York Times

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