Vote, Then Prepare To Be Governed

Today’s Courier Herald Column:

With 11 days until we count the votes on this election, the national polls are generally in a dead heat.  While the Real Clear Politics electoral map appears to favor President Obama, the movement towards Mitt Romney since the first debate has been somewhat stunning. At this point, it’s a virtual toss-up.

As in most elections that remain this tight so close to Election Day, supporters on both sides see victory within their grasp.  On November 7th, roughly half of the country will be elated.  The other half will be extremely disappointed.

With campaign cycles now perpetual, the signs of future gridlock in Washington seem apparent regardless which party controls the White House.  While Republicans still have an outside chance to take control of the Senate, that potential is looking more doubtful by the day.  Most scenarios at this point have the Republicans maintaining the House and Democrats holding the Senate.  The White House, as noted, remains a coin toss.  We’re likely in for at least two more years of divided government.

The lame duck session will deal with our tax code, budget sequestration, the debt ceiling, and the farm bill extension at a minimum.  Bigger and more permanent solutions will likely follow.  The President, whoever he is, will have to figure out how to work with Congress to move an agenda.  With a divided Congress, this will be no easy task regardless who occupies the White House.

Should President Obama prevail, it is hard to imagine how things will be different.  The President can rightfully claim some sort of mandate, no matter how small.  But another “working together” photo-op with Republican leaders with the President saying “I won” would likely be greeted by Republican House leaders saying “we did too”.  As noted in Bob Woodward’s most recent book, the President doesn’t have the close relationships with members of Congress to help smooth out the rough edges.

Those relationships would normally help him not only win over the occasional Republican but to earn the trust of Congressional members of his own party when a deal must be cut.  Congressional Republicans will have just validated their “hold the line” approach returned them as a House majority.  The President will likely have to work his own Democrats to extract meaningful entitlement reforms in order to get significant tax legislation through the House.

If Mitt Romney wins the White House, it doesn’t mean things get much easier.  The Senate will still require 60 cloture votes for most legislation, and that number virtually impossible at this point.

There also remains a large faction within the House Republican caucus that may wish to hold onto campaign rhetoric even when faced with final “compromises” that lie within the realm of what is possible given the makeup of both the Senate and financial realities.  President Romney may receive his first real test not from Senate Democrats from House Republicans.

And it is with these scenarios in mind that I look at the efforts of groups like Fix The Debt and others that are trying to craft and build support for solutions with bi-partisan backing.  Cynics are quick to dismiss many as the efforts of partisans trying to push an agenda under the banner of bipartisanship.

There is a contrarian view that also has merit.  These groups are designed to build the coalition necessary to achieve an actual solution in the face of an electorate that will remain divided after this election, with half of the country disappointed at the outcome.

They’re not aimed at converting the “other side”.  They’re instead trying to take some of the partisan edge off now from within the extremes of each party that now believe compromise, in any form, is a sign of weakness.  They are preparing members of each party to dial back their own rhetoric, as well as the expectations of what is possible.

Half of the country will be disappointed on November 7th.  All of the country needs solutions to our nation’s fiscal problems regardless of the outcome of the election.  If you’ve already made up your mind about your vote for November 6th, it’s not too early to begin thinking about what we’re really expecting from those who will govern us afterward, regardless which party seems to have the upper hand at the election’s conclusion.


  1. The Last Democrat in Georgia says:

    “Half of the country will be disappointed on November 7th.”

    Well, actually, not quite half of country will be disappointed on November 7th. The only part of the country that will be disappointed on November 7th will be the 47% that supports the socialist policies of the current way-left-of-center regime as in the end there are just simply too many swing states with quickly evaporating leads for the left to hold on to in the face of the hard-charging momentum of Romney and the Republicans.

    On November 6th, Mitt Romney will win the popular vote by a tally of 53% to Obama’s shrinking 47% and will comfortably clear the 270 electoral votes that he needs to win the election enroute to becoming the 45th President of these United States of America.

    • Blake says:

      Change your handle to “The Newest Republican in Georgia.”

      And get ready for a big, fat “I told you so” when Obama wins.

      • The Last Democrat in Georgia says:

        Romney was up 50-47 in a Washington Post/ABC poll yesterday and is shown by Gallup to have a 50-46 lead, which is key because a poll reading of 50% means a candidate has the support of more than half of the electorate.

        This late in a campaign, remaining undecideds almost always break away from the incumbent, which means that your guy, the messiah, the great leftist hope, is in deep, deep trouble as there is no way that Obama can hold onto that many razor-thin leads, razor-thin deficits and ties in that many swing states with so many undecided voters remaining this late in the game.

        An Obama win in Ohio doesn’t mean a damn thing if Romney wins Nevada, Colorado, Iowa, Wisconsin, Virginia, New Hampshire and Florida.

        Heck, Romney is leading in virtually every national General Election poll, which makes your prediction of an Obama win increasingly unlikely.

        • Blake says:

          As any close election observer (who isn’t unhinged) should know, there is a mismatch between the national polls and the state polls. They can’t both be right. Which one counts? Do we elect our President by national popular vote? Gee, wait, we don’t.

          LOL at O winning Ohio but R winning Nevada, Colorado, Iowa, Wisconsin, New Hampshire and Florida. Have you been reading Ralston in Nevada? Pretty unlikely Romney’s going to win there. I think Florida’s going to go Romney, but all the rest of those could go either way. You think Romney’s going to sweep all of them?

          Obama isn’t “my guy,” for sure not my messiah, and my god he isn’t leftist. I just think he’s going to win, and that this election season has driven you off the deep end.

          • The Last Democrat in Georgia says:

            You seem to personally have a much higher opinion of Obama than the American people as a whole, particularly in the aforementioned battleground states in question.

            If Romney has had enough momentum to come from an average of about eight points down in the national polls before the first debate in which he cleaned Obama’s clock and then ate Obama’s lunch and served him his backside on a platter, to take a five point lead with many polls showing Romney at or ABOVE the 50% mark (a 13-POINT surge for Romney throughout the pivotal month of October), then Romney has more than enough momentum to sweep ALL of the battleground states (including Ohio) in which Romney’s poll numbers have also likewise surged along with his national poll numbers.

            I hate to break to the dwindling number of Obama supporters, but with a week to go, momentum is obviously NOT on your side both nationally and in each of the individual battleground states.

            If the current trendline continues, Romney will defeat Obama by about at least six points nationally (53-47) and will sweep each of the aforementioned battleground states as Nevada still has a very crappy economy, Obama has lost the female vote in Colorado, Romney has earned the endorsement of the Des Moines Register-the largest newspaper in the state of Iowa which endorsed Obama in 2008, Wisconsin is the home of GOP Vice Presidential candidate Paul Ryan and a has strong GOP leadership in Governor Scott Walker, New Hampshire is virtually tied but has been strongly trending towards Romney (like almost everyplace else over the last month), Virginia will turnout its very large population of social conservatives on Election Day and, of course, Florida has very large populations of business-minded Cuban voters and Jewish voters highly-agitated at Obama’s adverse relationship with Israel.

            • Blake says:

              “Momentum” is a meaningless concept. In any case, you’re reading the polls selectively. Serious poll analysts have noted that Romney’s ascent on average in the nationals has stalled, even reversed. Plus, drop out Gallup & Rasmussen, and suddenly the nationals match up suspiciously closely with the state polling. Gallup has been obviously messed up this month, and of course Ras has a well-known GOP bias of a good 2 points.

              Hilarious that you think I have a much higher opinion of Obama than the American people as a whole. It’s basically 50-50, just like it’s been for the last 12 years. What is “the whole”? In any case, I haven’t been offering any assessments of Obama’s quality as a leader. All I’ve been saying is he’s going to win, period. You’re misreading the trendline, which is not going to “continue” (you’re obsessed with the percentage 47–give it up), and you’re wearing rose-colored glasses for your guy for each of the states you’re talking about. Nevada’s economy is still crappy, but it has been improving at a good clip, and have you seen the Dem advantage in voter registration, or heard of their union turnout machine? No? Colorado I think he’s going to lose. Iowa: newsflash, newspaper endorsements don’t matter any more. Wisconsin: who cares how many GOP leaders it has, Obama is leading there. NH is totally split, could go either way. Virginia’s social conservatives in the south are being swamped by the liberal urbanites in the north. Florida has always had its Cubans, and enough with this pipe dream of thinking Jewish voters are going to desert the Democrats. That one’s so old it’s got arthritis.

              Obama has a slight edge, same as he’s had all year. And with the last week to go, Sandy has suddenly frozen the race in place. Romney, frozen in 2nd place.

              Big fat “I told you so” coming November 7. Unless, of course, we get stuck in a morass of recounts and litigation for weeks and/or months, worse than 2000–which is also possible.

              • The Last Democrat in Georgia says:

                If momentum was a totally meaningless concept then we wouldn’t be talking about this being a close race in which the incumbent Obama is likely to lose and the challenger Romney has the potential to win in a landslide all based on voters’ very legitimate concerns about the economy.

                If momentum was a totally meaningless concept then we would instead still be discussing the “slight edge” that Obama still had before he got served up by Romney in the first debate.

                And Obama had a “slight edge” only during the summer and very early fall when the Romney campaign was still flailing and unresponsive at times.

                After the first debate Obama’s slight edge all but disappeared as the increasingly less slight edge now belongs to Romney who appears to be pulling away in many polls.

                It’s okay to admit that you’re an Obama supporter, you don’t have to hide your true political colors by saying you’re an “independent” just because you’re in a state overwhelmingly dominated by Republicans.

                And it’s just as it’s okay for you to admit your true political colors, it’s also okay for you to admit the increasing possibility of your guy Obama increasingly certain defeat on November 6th.

    • The Last Democrat in Georgia says:

      One has to take into account the 47% of “bitter clingers” on the left that will not abandon their “food stamp president” for anything, even for the prospect of getting one of the multiple millions of paying jobs that the Romney economy will undoubtedly provide.

      On Election Day, America will overcome the 47% of dead weight that, until now, she has been forced to drag along by an increasingly demanding left-wing which has done everything that it can to attempt to get the nation addicted to entitlements.

      • SallyForth says:

        Lordy, Lordy. LDIG are you sure your name isn’t Harry?

        Whoever wins the W/H and a majority in Congress, I just hope they can all stop governing from the extreme left and right. Our nation desperately needs moderate Repubs and moderate Dems to meet in the middle, do centrist governance for the good of our whole nation.

        • Calypso says:

          The 40% on the left and the 40% on the right won’t allow that to happen. Us 20%ers are left holding the bag all the time.

        • The Last Democrat in Georgia says:

          I fully and wholeheartedly agree with your sentiments, but with a new round of budget-busting stimulus seemingly every other day early-on, the ramming through of the massive government-expanding ObamaCare (which also massively expands the powers of an already way-too-powerful Internal Revenue Service with the hiring of over 600 new agents to enforce the wildly-unpopular Individual Mandate portion of ObamaCare) and frequent and seemingly unending talk from the Comrade himself of a new tax increase on small business owners (who employ over 90% of the nation’s workforce, btw) as a way of attempting to sock it to “the rich”, as a President who has openly pushed class warfare as a means to accomplish his own sinister political ends of continuing to massively expand the size, power and scope of government (BTW, I haven’t forgotten our favorite “Big Government Conservative G.W. Bush who paved the way for the socialist that is hopefully about to be dislodged his comfortable White House perch, so Republicans aren’t exactly blameless in our current fiscal scenario), Obama is anything (and everything) BUT the guy to sincerely want to execute the type of centrist governance that can unify (and save) this country from the possible horrors ahead.

          • taylor says:

            I love your “facts.”

            Since small business owners employ over 90% of the nation’s workforce and a significant number of employees work for big business, I guess all public sector employees have been eliminated.

            All praise for Obama. Someone has finally shrunk our evil government.

            • The Last Democrat in Georgia says:

              When did anybody ever say anything about eliminating all public sector employees?

              Despite the FACT that many big government-worshipping Obamaphiles (like yourself, I presume) often hate to admit it, small business employs many more people than big business and the private sector (both big business and small business combined) employs many times more people than the public sector.

              Without the trillions in tax revenues from America’s ultra-successful private sector there would be no public sector and there most certainly be no revenues for big government to blow through to the point of having this nation on the verge of economic and fiscal collapse.

              Maybe those who get a hard-on at the thought of unlimited government should remember the critically-important role that the private side of the economy plays in funding the daily operation of their beloved public sector before being so quick to spout-off arrogant remarks about anything and everything non-government.

              • taylor says:

                Did you not state that small businesses employ over 90% of the nation’s workforce.

                I didn’t say you wanted to eliminate all public sector employees. I not an Obama supporter. I simply questioned whether you knew what the heck you’re talking about.

                If, as you say, more than 90% of the nation’s workforce works in small businesses and presumably some large businesses still employ people, you’re suggesting that only a small percentage (3-6%) could be working in the public sector. If that’s true, I would suggest that no one could reasonably argue that there’s too many government workers. (This is math.)

                But I realize that you would not understand a reasonable argument.

                • The Last Democrat in Georgia says:

                  “I not an Obama supporter.”

                  …And what better way to lead-off a so-called “reasonable argument” than with the proud proclamation of “I not an Obama supporter”?

                  …What’s wrong? Are you and all of the other erstwhile Obama supporters trying to save face by running for political cover like cochroaches when the lights are turned on in advance of the coming humiliating defeat of your great left-wing messiah?

                  Besides with you being such a staunch defender of public sector employees and unlimited government employment and all it would be hard for everyone not to think you were an Obama supporter.

                  And according to the U.S. Small Business Administration, small businesses (businesses that are generally defined as businesses with fewer than 500 employees) make up over 99 PERCENT of the total number of employers in the U.S.

                  “Also, the number of small businesses and their impact on the nation’s economy is on the rise. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), there were nearly 23 million small businesses in the U.S. in 2002, representing 99.7 percent of the nation’s total number of employers.”

                  Heck, even the great liberal dope himself, Obama, admits (out of desperation in advance of his coming shellacking) that many departments within the federal government either need to be consolidated or eliminated altogether:

                  “We should have one Secretary of Business, instead of nine different departments that are dealing with things like giving loans to SBA or helping companies with exports,” Mr. Obama said in an interview that aired Monday on MSNBC. “There should be a one-stop shop.”

                  If a worshipper of all things big government like Barack Obama, admits that there are too many government workers, then there ARE too many government workers.

                  • Lea Thrace says:

                    taylor is not disagreeing with you. Just pointing out that your statements are contradictory. Which does not help your argument.

                    Dude. Calm waaay down.

                    • The Last Democrat in Georgia says:

                      If there are 23 million small business employers that make up 99.7 percent of the number of total employers, that means that the remaining 0.3 percent of employers are big(ger) businesses and government jobs, a number which totals approximately 6.9 million employers. Simple math.

    • Charlie says:

      You can’t. Period.

      We’re not a society of anarchy, and we can’t pretend that because our party (or non party) didn’t win that we’re not part of the country.

      We have too many with this outlook who seek perfection and then want to go away when their candidate doesn’t win, not enough who understand that they need to get behind candidates who can eventually get 50% of the vote plus one.

      • seenbetrdayz says:

        Well, at least let’s get a discount on our share of the debt for not voting for these indebtors.

        I don’t look for perfect, Charlie. I look for an alternative.

        • seenbetrdayz says:

          Not one of these two candidates understands monetary policy. I nearly died laughing when Romney said, with a straight look on his face, he’s gonna label China a ‘currency manipulator.’ China’s pegged its currency to *our* U.S. dollar. So we don’t have much room to point fingers.

  2. Dave Bearse says:

    What GOP meme will supplant “[t]he single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president” when Obama is re-elected?

    Something with lame duck in it ought to work with the base for a couple of years.

    • The Last Democrat in Georgia says:

      With Obama falling further and further behind in the polls with each passing day (the newest polls show Romney leading by an average of five points nationally and getting OVER 50% in most of those polls), it looks like Obama’s biggest worry after the election will be which moving company will he and Michelle choose to move their family’s personal belongings out of the White House.

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