Everybody will be talking in the next few days about the "message" of the elections. They mean, of course, the message from the voters. This is one of the treasured conventions of political journalism. Yesterday, the story was all about artifice and manipulation, the possible effect of the latest attack ad or absurd lie. Today, all that melts away. The election results are deemed to reflect grand historical trends. But my colleague Joe Scarborough got it right in these pages last week when he argued that the 2010 elections, for all their passion and vitriol, are basically irrelevant. Some people are voting Tuesday for calorie-free chocolate cake, and some are voting for fat-free ice cream. Neither option is actually available. Neither party’s candidates seriously addressed the national debt, except with proposals to make it even worse. Scarborough might have added that neither party’s candidates had much to say about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan (except that they “support our troops,” a flabby formulation that leaves Americans killing and dying in faraway wars that politicians won’t defend explicitly). Politicians are silent on both these issues for the same reason: There is no solution that American voters will tolerate. Why can’t we have calorie-free chocolate cake? We’re Americans!I think low-fat ice cream (or at least sensible food) is available, but neither party has served it for a long time. The Republicans have not served it because it doesn't taste as good and the Democrats have not served it because they are trying to emulate Michael Moore. Voters clearly want responsible economic policies and they got Obamacare and the non-stimulating stimulus instead. Democrats had a mandate of sorts, but little interest in fulfilling it. I think people roughly agree with how Iraq and Afghanistan are being handled simply because they don't have such high expectations anymore. This election is about economics and the Republicans will have back the same old mandate. If they get it right this time, the voters will be vindicated. We'll see. (h/t: memorandum)
Tuesday, November 02, 2010
Kinsley declares "U.S. is not greatest country ever"
Slate founding editor Michael Kinsley offers what amounts to a pretentious way to blame voters for the country's economic woes and continued Middle East turmoil: