Monday, June 07, 2010

"What if political scientists covered the news?"

I suspect it would look much like this fantastic article in Slate. An excerpt:

"[. . .] A powerful thunderstorm forced President Obama to cancel his Memorial Day speech near Chicago on Monday—an arbitrary event that had no affect on the trajectory of American politics.
Obama now faces some of the most difficult challenges of his young presidency: the ongoing oil spill, the Gaza flotilla disaster, and revelations about possibly inappropriate conversations between the White House and candidates for federal office. But while these narratives may affect fleeting public perceptions, Americans will ultimately judge Obama on the crude economic fundamentals of jobs numbers and GDP. [. . .]

[. . .] Democrats have also slipped in their standing among "independent voters." That phrase, by the way, is meaningless. Voters may self-identify as "independent" but in almost all cases they lean toward one party.

Poll numbers also confirmed that Americans are in an anti-incumbent mood. … Ha! Just kidding. The anti-Washington narrative was concocted by dominant media outlets based on the outcomes of a statistically insignificant handful of largely unrelated races. Sorry. [. . .]

[. . .] Prospects for an energy bill, meanwhile, are looking grim, since Obama has spent all his political capital. He used to have a lot. Now it's gone. Why winning legislative battles builds momentum but saps political capital, I have no idea. Just go with it.

Possible "game changers" for Obama include plugging the oil leak, peace between the Palestinians and Israelis, and World War III, although these events would be almost entirely outside Obama's control. [. . .]

[. . .] The GOP—a stupid acronym we use only so we don't have to keep repeating the word Republican—will have to decide between a moderate "establishment" pick and a more conservative Tea Party favorite. In reality, both candidates would embrace similar policies in the general election.

That candidate will then face off against Obama, whose charisma, compelling personal story, and professional political operation will prove formidable. Actually, Obama will probably win because he's the incumbent. And because voters always go with the guy who's taller. [. . .]"

Brilliant.

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