But if you think about the devastating impact that the economy's decline has had on the nation's electorate, that isn't exactly a sweeping change in this key constituency. Remove the economic issue when the economy recovers and the suburbs will once again be very much in play. There are those who consider John McCain's 46 percent share of the popular vote a sure sign of the GOP's future demise, but in the face of a "perfect economic storm," he did better than many imagined he would. It isn't reflected in Obama's big electoral vote, but, in many states, this was a close election.
Back to Bill Galston and his cautionary warning to the incoming Obama administration and larger Democratic majority on Capitol Hill: Don't make the mistakes Clinton Democrats made in 1993. The biggest mistake was the failure of the Clinton administration and congressional Democrats "to form an effective coalition around a common agenda that led to a series of divisive votes" on trade, the budget, guns and other issues. Then came the disastrous Clinton health-care plan. Two years later, the Democrats got whacked on the side of the head in the midterm elections by voters who claimed they didn't vote for "this."
Obama will enter the presidency with a long and costly laundry list of domestic spending bills that would add another $1 trillion or more to the federal budget. Even without these spending plans, the deficit for 2009 is expected to hit $1 trillion as a result of the $700-billion financial rescue plan and the likelihood of a second stimulus package in the lame-duck Congress. But Galston questions whether Obama's decisive victory really means a majority of Americans want a much bigger government.
A recent Pew Research Center poll released found that 43 percent favor "a bigger government offering more services" versus 45 percent who favor a smaller government with fewer services." Those numbers haven't budged in the last six years. "President Obama and congressional Democrats cannot assume that the (voters') rejection of conservative economics implies an endorsement of the liberal alternative," Galston writes. If the Obamacrats ignore his advice, the remaining Republican minority will no doubt remind them, and the country, that the 2008 election was not a mandate for either the New Deal or the Great Society.
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