Not every one of these I agree with, but it’s reasonably clear-headed and Ellis has got some interesting insights. For example:
8. President Obama doesn’t have a mandate; he has leverage.
…And the truth is, [Obama] doesn’t need a mandate, he just needs sensible policy ideas.
[snip of various purportedly sensible policy ideas]
The list goes on. The point is that he has the leverage to get things done. Gridlock is only certain if he tries to refight old wars.
Actually, I agree with that. What I probably don’t agree with is that Obama is likely to at least think twice about trying to fight the last four years all over again. What we had Tuesday was the definition of an ugly win; it turns out that the President re-election campaign was designed to grind out a win for the President, and never mind Congress. That cost the Democrats; now that this is all over I’ll stop being quiet about the fact that for a few months in late 2011 I was worried that we’d lose the House. We were seeing far too many competitive seats. Fortunately, the DCCC was marginalized, their candidate recruitment was horrible, and their gains were largely due to various ruthless gerrymandering operations*. As for the Senate… well, more or less everyone shares the consensus that Akin blew up, and took Mourdock with him; but if they hadn’t, the Senate would be even today. It’s not really different at 55-45**.
I mention all of this not because I’m making lemonade from seeing some drift towards the Democrats in Congress – although I am, of course, on a secondary level – but because it’s important to note that the current Republican presence in Congress (particularly the House) is not actually vulnerable to being shoved around. Come, I will conceal nothing from you; the GOP leadership is making warning sounds that it’s going to, ah, recalibrate on immigration issues***. They will not want to have that internal fight while also having one over hypothetical changes to the GOP’s long-term fiscal policy positions; and they don’t really have to. The President might have won, but so did they.
The President can get around this by offering the House majority a sufficiently large bone that they can go back to the base and say Look, we got something out of this guy for a change. We can get more (whether you think that the base will buy that is another story, and probably article). The question now is whether Barack Obama has the mother-wit to do so. I’m not sure that he does****. A lot of it will depend if people suddenly start noticing that Nancy Pelosi’s still alive: if she takes an active part in negotiations this November then it becomes pretty likely that Obama’s decided that his excrement is odorless – which will mean that nothing much will be done.
Guess we’ll see how it goes.
— . (@SooperMexican) November 11, 2012
*This is the point where I note the AZ-02 race to those poor folks out there who think that gerrymandering saved the Republicans. I personally want Martha McSally to win that one, but whoever wins that swing seat will be doing so in a way that demonstrates that this was an Obama+6 election, not a D+6 one. A D+6 electorate would have saved all those Blue Dogs and picked off our freshmen, and never mind how much the seats had been redrawn; instead, we dropped a handful, and usually only by a hair.
**The important race to look at there is actually NV-SEN. I still cannot believe that the Democrats didn’t hit that one: appointed Republican Senator after his predecessor resigned in a scandal, female Democratic challenger, swing state that OfA was actually engaged in locking down. This race was on my private ‘brace for it’ list… but apparently they just didn’t care.
***This is not a post about the wisdom or lunacy of recalibrating on immigration issues. Focus, please.
****This election was not exactly a useful corrective to Barack Obama’s critical cognitive flaw: to wit, his bad habit of assuming that somebody else will invariably come along and fix whatever tricky problem is facing the President.