The issue of whether the GOP gains enough seats to control one or both chambers of Congress is, basically, irrelevant. The GOP priorities of rapid deficit reduction, less business regulation and smaller government are likely to hurt the economy in the same manner that FDR’s austerity policies in 1937 renewed the Depression. Any major stimulative policies by the Obama administration are dead on arrival in a Congress in which the Republicans can block whatever they wish.John Harwood at the New York Times:
Minor agreements are possible on issues such as free trade with Korea and Latin America, modest tort reform and some stimulative policies on energy, particularly nuclear power. But the basic condition of Congress will be one of major gridlock and political posturing for the 2012 elections in an economy not noticeably healed. And we’ll probably see a progressively heightened amount of incivility on Capitol Hill.
What’s clear, after Republican defeats in 2006 and 2008 and Democrats’ travails this year, is that both parties remain at risk so long as Americans suffer from high unemployment and weak economic growth. As the political world begins looking ahead to the 2012 elections, that means the widest opening for an independent candidacy since Ross Perot’s 1992 campaign.Daniel Larison gets a little more philosophical over at The American Conservative:
Ultimately, I see concentrations of wealth and power as the real enemies of conservatism as I understand it, and I see a lot of conservatives and Republicans aligning themselves with both in the service of getting themselves back into power, so I can’t say that I see that as conservative success. I am under the impression that the “centrists” dedicated to protecting centralized power and concentrated wealth are the real enemies of the bulk of both “Blue” and “Red” America, and I suspect that competitors within the political class want to keep pitting us against one another as a way of winning our support against their political class rivals while neglecting the interests of the rest of us.
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