When you get an infusion of new people into politics, you get a lot of unpredicted and improbable results. Some of the new people turn out to be crackpots or lack even the most basic political instincts. Challenging the Civil Rights Act or the 17th Amendment (popular election of senators) is not the way to capitalize on the swelling opposition to the Obama Democrats' expansion of government.
But many of the new people who come forward turn out to be solid citizens, and some have political perfect pitch -- like Sen. Scott Brown of Massachusetts, whom no national political reporter heard of eight months ago.
And the bad news keeps coming out. The gulf oil spill is evidently not going to be stopped for at least another two months; you'll see lots of oily pelicans on newscasts between now and Election Day. The May jobs report showed that 411,000 of the 425,000 jobs gained were temporary Census workers.
The Democrats' stimulus package kept many unionized public employees on the job. But, as liberal economists Paul Krugman and Robert Reich have pointed out, it has not done much to stimulate private sector job creation.
Maybe the contrary. We may be seeing something like the "capital strike" of the late 1930s, when investors and entrepreneurs held onto their money and refrained from creating jobs because of high tax rates and intrusive government.
Meanwhile, the Obama Democrats' legislative agenda threatens recovery. The cap-and-trade bill would impose huge costs on the economy now for benefits promised decades hence. Legalizing illegal immigrants would hold down low earners' wages. Higher taxes on high earners next year, when Democrats will let the Bush tax cuts expire, will tend to retard rather than stimulate growth.
So the road to November looks bumpy for both parties. But while the Republicans are encountering speed bumps, the Democrats are in danger of facing Jersey barriers and "road closed" signs. Fundamentals matter.
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