What next?

With the Democrats retaining 51 seats in the Senate (50 might not have been enough because a single switcher or the Independent Lieberman could have tipped things to the Republicans), or maybe 52, we will have the dreaded (by the media, not by me) “gridlock” in Washington. Politically it is bad for the Republicans that they can’t repeal the previous Congress’s legislation and force Obama to veto it, but it also means they can’t get blamed much when the economy continues to (to put it tactfully) fail to recover. And since revenue bills originate in the House, the spending won’t be as crazy.

However, I don’t think the Democrats are done yet. There could well be a lame-duck session (to try to pass an immigration amnesty or some other horror), and Obama will certainly accomplish as much as he can through administrative action the next 2 years, grabbing power and daring Congress to stop him. Through the healthcare bill, he will not only be able to very strongly influence hospital policies but also university policies (since student loans have been nationalized as part of that bill). The main action will be here and in the courts, while Congress becomes increasingly irrelevant. I predict confllict between Obama and the Catholic Church, and a big issue about how much people may be exempt from Obamacare’s requirements based on religious objections.

I think Obama has decided his legacy will be what he accomplishes in his first term, since his re-election prospects are dim; he may not even run again in 2012, being young enough to contemplate another run in 8 or 12 years when he thinks the nation will have belatedly recognized his greatness. If he does run, Hillary will challenge him.

The wild card is all the investigations that the newly Republican House will undertake. I suspect they will find enough blatant corruption that the media will be unable to demonize them as witch-hunters, and that this will lead to further trouble for the Democrats in 2012 (since Obama’s Justice Department won’t prosecute the corruption).

Please comment with your own predictions.

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16 Responses to What next?

  1. Fortitudine Vincimus says:

    You don’t think Obama will do a Clinton and defeat the Republicans? Where is the unified voice of the Republican party? Where’s the groundbreaking vision? How will Republicans distinguish themselves from the rest of government and politicians? As RV mentioned earlier, no one has the guts to go ahead with the politics necessary to sort things out:

    Social Security and welfare reform
    Enforcing immigration laws (thus deporting illegals)
    Banning abortion
    Restoration of family as the key institituion in America
    Nuking Iran’s nuclear facilities with bunker-busting atomic bombs
    Deploying enough troops necessary to rob the Taliban of the initiative in Afghanistan.
    Same goes for Iraq
    Showdown with Arab regimes who continue to sponsor anti-Western agendas that ultimately kill people
    Showdown with China over currency manipulation

  2. Obama is no Clinton. He is not flexible. And most of the things you describe will be Obama’s failures (except banning abortion which is politically off limits due to the Supreme Court). It’s not Congress’s fault that the President won’t enforce the immigration laws, and the military stuff and currency stuff will definitely be blamed on executive incompetence because legislation is not what would fix them. The Republicans will develop a unified voice when they pick a candidate in 2012, but in the meantime Obama is the one getting damaged.

  3. rebelliousvanilla says:

    http://www.infowars.com/questions-loom-over-harry-reid-victory-as-steal-nevada-1-on-google/
    First, I’d like to know what you make of this.

    As I said before, I hardly expect anything out of American conservatives, since the only thing they do is conserve the leftward strides of America. I hardly think this will be any different than 1994. I think there was a saying about this – fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me. Or that only a fool would expect different outcomes out of the same thing. I won’t really discuss social issues, since I hardly see any change in terms of those, but even in terms of economics, not that many people that defy the status quo got elected – as in people who’d really cut spending.

    The only benefit out of this is that the leftward development will be slower. I’m not sure why you think that Obamacare will be repealed considering that no welfare measure in the US has ever been repealed since at least 1929. The only part of the things you’d want on which the US might be successful is the foreign policy – nothing is better for politicians in times of crisis than going to war, but none of those actions are in America’s interest, except maybe Iran.

    Nuking Iran’s nuclear facilities with bunker-busting atomic bombs
    You don’t need nukes for this. First of all, right now Iran isn’t developing nukes and the US could know if they do with an year before anything goes even into testing phase. If Iran plans on doing it, the US should spot the nukes and destroy them before they become operational. But it would be cheaper to simply make Iran go to war with someone like Israel or another Muslim nation – they don’t really mind killing each other.

    Deploying enough troops necessary to rob the Taliban of the initiative in Afghanistan.
    Why not just pull out? I hardly see any benefits out of staying in Afghanistan. It doesn’t benefit Americans.

    Same goes for Iraq
    I agree, the same – doesn’t benefit the US so pull out.

    Showdown with Arab regimes who continue to sponsor anti-Western agendas that ultimately kill people
    How about deporting or interning Muslims? This is far more effective. Or annoy them until they leave since deportation costs money. Anyway, this is a point I agree on, but this could be easily done by making them go to war against each other.

    Showdown with China over currency manipulation
    You realize that the US is the biggest currency manipulator in the world, right? Besides, considering the debt the US has, it can hardly school others on monetary policy or have the authority to dictate anything to other countries. If I was the Chinese PM, I’d tell the US to go back and handle your diversity and tell your people to stop being lazy and actually work before you come and preach to me, a sovereign nation, what to do. America is in a far worse situation financially and can’t afford touching China on anything.

  4. Epic discussion of this subject on Roissy’s blog:

    http://roissy.wordpress.com/2010/11/03/i-called-it-two-years-ago/#comment-218540

    I have a comment here: http://roissy.wordpress.com/2010/11/03/i-called-it-two-years-ago/#comment-218652

    I think Nevada and Washington were stolen for the Democrats, as I was afraid they would be. The Republicans should fight this very hard even though they still won’t take the Senate (because Manchin won legitimately in WV). I’m also suspicious of Bennett’s win in Colorado, but I have no evidence other than the divergence from the polls, while the NV and WA electoral systems are clearly corrupt. The fact that close races almost always go to the Democrat is excellent evidence on a meta-level of fraud. This is one of those areas where I almost despair of understanding why Republicans don’t fight harder. Voting fraud is a solvable problem, just like stopping the hiring of illegal aliens is a solvable problem, the ID verification required is technically achievable, as is the technical validation (low-tech is better: electronic voting machines can still be secure with proper design and verification, but it is way more expensive and not worth the expense). By now the accusations of “racist disenfranchisement” ought to be ignorable.

    There is a new crop of Republicans and I will wait and see if they have learned the lessons from the previous Republican failures. There is a good chance Obamacare will be repealed in 2013 if Republicans take the White House and the Senate in 2012, but that is the ONLY chance to do it. I expect Obama’s continued incompetence to benefit the Republicans politically, because he is no Clinton and is incapable of changing.

    The broader question of whether American conservatives can stop the leftward movement is also not settled. The egalitarian progressivism most of them have absorbed is not inconsistent with greatly improving the situation with respect to immigration, affirmative action, and the size of the government, and those are going to be the issues that conservatives focus on for the next few years. These are raging fires that need to be put out before we can worry about the slow boiling.

    FV, I agree with RV’s responses to your suggestions. We screwed up the occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan, though Iraq eventually came out sorta OK, but you can’t create in a few years a society with the levels of trust necessary for a European-style democracy, especially because Islam makes those societies stupider and more violent. This is where the progressive universalism of American conservatives had horrible consequences — Bush couldn’t simply declare that Islamic societies were bad in any objective way, or that Afghans and Iraqis, as people, were incapable of the kind of society achievable in the more advanced parts of the world.

    As for the currency situation — there is no good solution. We need a long period of retrenchment, paying down debt, and letting inefficient enterprises fail (including whole states), but politicians with the power to create money out of thin air will always try to keep the party going. A real collapse in 2008 would have been better in the long run than the bailouts and “stimulus” and other insanity we have seen since then. But this is not an issue where Americans control their own destiny, everywhere else is facing serious problems too and whether America does relatively well depends on how stupid politicians in other countries are (for the zero-sum part of the game) and how smart they are (for the non-zero-sum part of the game).

  5. Here is another interesting comment on that Roissy thread:

    http://roissy.wordpress.com/2010/11/03/i-called-it-two-years-ago/#comment-218566

    This commenter, “Alex”, had some extremely long posts recently supporting white separatism, and when I asked him how he expected to accomplish that his answers were vague, but here is explains in more detail how he wants whites to take back the nation (and not just separate from it).

    This is obviously not the plan I am proposing for America. I think that if we stop letting the whole world come here and kick out the illegals and get rid of all affirmative action and racial preferences and shrink the government radically and get it to stop messing with the economy, then the problems related to demographics and culture can be addressed before the frog is boiled. All this looks politically possible; I also think it is possible in this context to come down extremely harshly on those who encourage blacks to be hostile to mainstream America and to fight against it and wage a social war, the fundamental hostility there is obvious to almost everyone and politicians brave enough to point it out will win.

    This will not result in the kind of ethnically unified country some would find ideal, but in the American context it’s the best we can do and I think is good enough. RV is right that whites in America are fighting with a hand tied behind their back, but it ought to be enough to point out that Americans shouldn’t even have ethnic fights at all. As usual, the biggest problem is naming the enemy. It’s normal in other countries for ethnic groups to fight for advantage and supremacy, and Americans have always rejected that principle and founded their nation on political propositions about equality. That may not be the best way for a nation to be, but it is possible to solve many of our problems by making the white traditionalist majority realize that the groups which are fighting a social war against them, egged on by white liberals who enjoy the feeling of moral superiority the clash gives them, are UN-AMERICAN in this specific sense.

    This is a way to stop the decline of the USA without going through a complete collapse or a race war or secession and breakup. I am open to hearing arguments that this is not in fact possible and therefore collapse, race war, or breakup are inevitable, but in the current political situation I don’t think it’s possible to be so sure about this.

  6. Doug1 says:

    Has there ever been a President who hasn’t run for a second term? I can’t think of one. I’m sure Obama will run for re-election. I do think he decided in the middle of the health care push that he’d rather leave a leftist legacy than compromise more to the center with greater re-election chances.

    As for Hilary challenging, I’d give that about 40% odds unless Obama becomes racked in scandal from say his Chicago days. I’m also not sure I’d prefer her. She’s more likely to push more significant feminist legislation. She’s also less likely to pull out of Afganistan. I think she was always further left than her husband, and may be about as far left as Obama.

    For the next Congress, you’re right, mostly Republicans will be able to block anything leftist in the House, rather than able to roll back anything very much, given Obama’s veto. They’ll make theater of rolling back health care though, eying the 2012 elections. Since the House originates spending bills, it will be hard for Dems to tack stuff onto must pass budget bill etc. Cuts are possible there.

    Energy bills involving mostly gas and nuclear might be bipartisan things that could pass, now that California democrats will no longer be in power in the House and on it’s committees.

    What will happen in the lame duck session is interesting. I’m sure that no comprehensive immigration amnesty will get passed. Moderate democrats and all republicans will look at what happened this election and not go there; at the least the 41 Repubs. (Illinois’ Kirk get’s seated immediately since he’s replacing an appointed Senator after Obama won the presidency) probably joined by some democrats will filibuster or threaten to.

    The Bush tax cuts will probably be extended for two years for everyone. I expect Mitch McConnell will resist extending them for all but the top bracket permanently (but only two years for the top bracket) as something that will take away Repub. firepower before the next election. Though maybe he won’t. Assuming significant revenue is raised by letting the top bracket go back up to Clinton levels, the right thing to do would be to let that happen when a strong recovery is underway, which is possible within two years. Having the president veto a Republican House bill to extend the top bracket permanently would give the gop cover to have that go up in two years, and reduce out year budget deficit issues.

    Dems might well try to get the so called Dream Act through. It’s amnesty for illegals that go to college for two years, or say they do, and for those who serve two years in the military. I might be ok with the later, but not the former. Since when is going to any quality of college penance or proof of high and rare skills? Many are open admission. Instead we should grant visas leading to citizenship to legal aliens who get admitted to one of our best science or engineering schools and then get high level tech employment.

  7. rebelliousvanilla says:

    polymath, a slight improvement of the current situation does nothing. It’s simple – in 30 years, the US will be majority nonwhite, which means that then the Democrats will be able to be as leftist as they’ll want. And any small improvement done will just be reversed after the next election – I don’t see any difference in between now and 1994.

    By the way, I’d like to point out that any election in which outsiders vote is illigitimate and white Americans should get this through their thick skulls. To quote altright on this one – “He might actually be right here, as the Republican base is increasingly radical and the grassroots organizations are increasingly uncontrolled. Of course, if that WN transformation actually happened, why would such a movement respect or even care about those elections? Ultimately, the only thing that safeguards Wise’s vision is the conservative movement itself, the original Great White Hope, the idea that we can vote our country back and never have to leave the open bar. ”
    http://www.alternativeright.com/main/blogs/district-of-corruption/white-america-s-last-bender/

    I’d like to point out that I support any policy that makes minorities feel alienated from white people. Every single one of them. To answer your point about how America was founded, America was a country of white people for white people with black slaves who had a single purpose – do the crap work. That’s how America was founded. Give me a break. And for me, it’s simple to name my enemy and your vision for America makes America my enemy. To put it bluntly, if I was empress, I’d mock your America endlessly and refuse to have that much to do with it. I’d actually portray the values that Americans would have like the Nazis are portrayed by the mainstream media, only that I’d make them both evil and laughable.

    This is exactly why I will never support restoring America to how it was 50 years ago. I’m uninterested in that at all. I’d rather see the US destroyed. What we live today is the logical outcome of Americanism. If I’m to support Americanism, at least I should support the honest one, not the self serving one. If anyone can be American and America should be color blind fine, I support open borders with citizenship as soon as you pass the border.

  8. The Kirkpatrick article is very good, and I agree with practically all of it; but it is not really inconsistent with what I have said. I agree that an “old Right” or “alternative Right” needs to take over or supplant the GOP, and I have not given up on accomplishing this through regular politics, and Kirkpatrick also finds quite a few reasons for optimism in this week’s victories. I have no use for the Republican establishment, but that establishment is being overturned.

    And the immediate priorities of radically reducing immigration, getting rid of all the illegals, eliminating all anti-white preferences, shrinking the government, and stopping its monkeying with the economy, all have strong enough support that gaining the additional support needed to implement them is a winnable political war (if the Republicans stop being the stupid party and start listening to me; I intend to be very active as a political consultant over the next 2-year election cycle). This will require, among other things, the active destruction of the Democratic party, fighting them as an enemy rather than an opponent which is what they have been doing to the Republicans for 40 years while the stupid Republicans imagined that they could win a fair fight despite the crooked MSM referee.

    I even agree that anything that alienates minorities further and increases racial animosity is good, it misinterprets what I said to think I want whites to be nice to blacks. The point is to wake whites up so they realize that they are fighting a social war. Once they have started to act as a group with its own interests, and I mean seriously as a group (which will require forcing the Democratic party to make ever clearer its anti-whiteness), THEN the minorities will realize that they are in fact a minority and will lose unless they stop being hostile and embrace mainstream American culture and society rather than placing themselves in opposition to it.

    I believe this can be accomplished while Whites are still a majority of voters, which is going to be true for 45-50 years even if they are a minority of the population in 30 (and THAT projection could well be wrong if immigration policy is changed as I described above). By that time it will have been possible to destroy the Democratic party and supplant or replace the GOP with a real rightist party.

    Ultimately demography will decide what kind of country we have but it is premature to give up on the kind of political changes that could lead to the USA preserving its white majority. When I say I support color-blindness, it is as a politically achievable improvement which will greatly weaken the influence and power of blacks and Hispanics (which needs to be weakened as long as they are going to vote Democrat). Color-conscious pro-white policies are also achievable relatively quickly as far as immigration is concerned. Pro-white domestic policies can also be achieved in nominally color-blind ways (demanding English fluency, hiring based on IQ tests, severely penalizing out-of-wedlock births and criminal histories etc).

    Furthermore, it is wrong to equate the propositions “America should be (nominally) color-blind” and “America should let anyone in.” The latter proposition is the first thing to fix, and is politically feasible to fix right now; the former proposition is not really so bad in the presence of all the other changes I propose. (Ultimately it can be challenged in favor of an explicitly pro-white policy if necessary but I am not persuaded it would be necessary if all these other changes occur).

    It is possible that there is no way to “save” America from the decline it is obviously in, but it is too early to give up. It may be true that America can only be saved if it remains majority white, but it’s too early to despair about that also.

  9. Fortitudine Vincimus says:

    With specific reference to the Afghanistan and Iraq campaigns, I’ll make a few points:

    Going in was fine, but the aftermath was handled badly. So we could withdraw, and leave the people’s to continue their tribal conflicts.

    But what is there to say about national honor and pride?

    Millions of people perish for those very concepts that, on first glance, seem vague, but are crucial to a nation’s health, if one can still speak in those terms.

    I see two problems. The first is Iraq and her oil reserves. Leaving Iraq to its own devices could very well mean a bloody religious war between Iran and Saud Arabia and their minions and serious damage to the global economy. Nuclear weapons could well be involved. Is the West willing to let that happen? China probably isn’t. Russia would love it, but I doubt the Chinese would like it, so I could easily imagine China taking over as the regional arbiter.

    Because that’s what that is about. Balances of power. What balance are we OK with?

    In Afghanistan, withdrawing will be perceived as defeat. Contrary to popular belief, the Afghans, or more correctly, the Pashtuns, are not undefeatable. No one is. Ever. The problem with fighting the Afghans is simply will-power and its remoteness.

    When conquering Britain, the Roman’s took decades to subdue the island, and paid a huge price in blood and gold.

    Now that we finally have gone in, by God let’s finish the job so America can regain faith in the capability of her military forces and the determination of her leaders. The real casualty of the “Great Depression” is the huge hit it has taken on American pride – Americans have been living in a dream world, and now we see in China what we once where, but no one is acknowledging the real reasons China is perceived as powerful. We perceive ourselves as weak and inefficient. The blame can be placed squarely with our leaders, Republican and Democrat, and their crazy progressive ideals.

    I am advocating a military campaign against the Taliban and their allies by NATO and Pakistan, where the number of forces and pace of operations is so great, that the Taliban have no time to recover. Right now there are still not enough forces to wrestle the initiative from Taliban in the whole theatre, let alone put them on the defensive. They have time to place their IEDs and coordinate attacks. In Iraq, it would be a disaster if the Chinese took over from the US. Iraq is too important today to be left to its devices. The best solution is to strengthen the Iraqi Army as an institution, so it matches Turkey’s in influence and power. Be prepared for military coups.

    Doug1, giving citizenship to Mexicans coming to the US is bad – outsourcing national defense is a terrible idea. The Roman’s did it when they faced demographic challenges. Look what happened.

    Of course, everything I suggest is totally unrealistic.

    As for the currency issue, a tariff on imports from countries like China would be good in restoring the budget and paying down national debt. It would mean be a good fiscal measure to rein in excessive consumer spending in the US that needs to be restored to much lower levels, and it would be a way to harvest income from China that is flooding the market.

  10. Totally unrealistic indeed. What is the “job” we are supposed to “finish” in Afghanistan? Have “NATO and Pakistan” kill the “Taliban and their allies” ? Dude, Pakistan is one of their allies. The central government we installed is extremely corrupt and therefore weak (not that a strong central government is even possible in Afghanistan). The country needed to be de-Talibanized because they provided Al Qaeda with the training camps to launch the 9/11 attacks from, but we should have left in 2002 or 2003 when everything was pacified, and backed the King (whom the whole country respected) instead of Karzai (who was effectively the Mayor of Kabul), letting the warlords and the loya jirga settle things among themselves after that and saying as long as they never bring the Taliban back we would leave them alone. Unfortunately Karzai’s good English, CIA ties, and personal stylishness blinded the American ruling class to his corruption. This table shows how we could have easily declared victory and gotten out; the increasing casualties starting in 2005 are an obvious sign of failure. Nobody in either the Bush or Obama administrations ever explained why things got steadily worse in Afghanistan after Bush’s reelection.

    Coalition Military Fatalities By Year
    Year US UK Other Total
    2001 12 0 0 12
    2002 49 3 18 70
    2003 48 0 10 58
    2004 52 1 7 60
    2005 99 1 31 131
    2006 98 39 54 191
    2007 117 42 73 232
    2008 155 51 89 295
    2009 317 108 96 521
    2010 416 97 107 620
    Total 1363 342 485 2190

  11. Doug1 says:

    Polymath–

    The country needed to be de-Talibanized because they provided Al Qaeda with the training camps to launch the 9/11 attacks from, but we should have left in 2002 or 2003 when everything was pacified, and backed the King (whom the whole country respected) instead of Karzai (who was effectively the Mayor of Kabul), letting the warlords and the loya jirga settle things among themselves after that and saying as long as they never bring the Taliban back we would leave them alone.

    Exactly.

    Nation building is a big mistake as a military mission. Huge. Why should we are so much whether Iraq became democratic or not? Similarly Afghanistan.

  12. The reason we imagined we could build nations in Iraq and Afghanistan is our PC universalism had implanted the assumption that Iraqis and Afghans were intellectually and socially on a par with Japanese and Germans. It wasn’t so much the nation-building itself as our one-size-fits-all model. Lots of preconditions are necessary for a parliamentary democracy, which don’t exist at all in Afghanistan and exist very imperfectly in Iraq.

  13. rebelliousvanilla says:

    Polymath, do you recall that study who showed liberals prefer nonwhites over white people? White people who care are in the minority already and you won’t have people who supported insane beliefs for their whole life take a U turn on them just from regular political stuff.

    FV, if I’d be China and the US would want to raise tarifs, I’d dump a large chunk of US debt on the market. If the US didn’t get the message, I’d dump all the US debt on the market. lol

  14. rebelliousvanilla says:

    Oh, and any real conservative party won’t accept a progressive ideological premise like color-blindness. And it is not normal for a country who rambles about being color blind to not have a color blind immigration law. It’s that simple, actually.

  15. It’s always been true that our immigration laws have taken into account national origin, which can do almost all the work of controlling the ethnicity of the immigrants admitted, especially if you use criteria like national origin of the applicant’s parents or grandparents as well as the applicant. The color-blindness that was implemented after the Civil War was always understood to apply to citizens only until extremely recently — even in the 1960’s when many immigration restrictions were lifted, people like Ted Kennedy and Hubert Humphrey insisted the ethnic makeup of the country would not be messed with (they were lying or naive, but they felt it necessary to say precisely because the American people would never have stood for it otherwise). And there are STILL immigration quotas by nation which are defined arbitrarily by Congress and always have been — since that principle is accepted, changing the quotas, for example to favor Europeans much more and reduce everyone else a lot, is a politically acceptable move. If you can get almost all the way to controlling the color of the immigrants by national origin restrictions and IQ tests and the like, you are not enshrining color-blindness as a principle.

    It’s true that there needs to be a party to the right of the current conservatives which is not influenced by progressivism, though I’m not sure it would be appropriate to characterize it as a “real conservative party”.

  16. Polymath says:

    Well, the Democrats tried the DREAM Act amnesty in the lame-duck session as I predicted, and it failed, and they also failed to pass an overstuffed appropriations bill full of pork and earmarks that there had been no time to debate or read (as if they hadn’t learned anything from their electoral repudiation).

    They did manage to pass a repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”. I oppose this repeal not on any moral grounds but because the people most expert on the possible impact of this (military officers) were against it, but my guess is that the negative impact that it has on morale and unit cohesion won’t be very large. They also extended the Bush tax cuts (which you could also describe as “refused to reinstate the Clinton tax hikes”), which is probably the right move despite increasing the deficit even more because of the need to not kill an economic recovery, but I don’t feel particularly strongly about this either. So I’m satisfied, the worst stuff was avoided and I can live with what they did pass.

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