Thursday, November 04, 2010

table manners

Like politicians, I break my promises.

I once wrote that this blog was not a place for politics.  My advice then:  take it outside!

But here I am babbling away about my former hobby.  Three posts in a row now.

And if my favorite magazine, The Economist, had not published the table at the top of this post, I would have moved on to some other mundane topic.  But the table is too interesting to ignore.

Americans love trashing the party in power.  We saw that most recently in 2008.  Mid-term elections are the perfect time to swing a sharp elbow at the guys on top of the heap.  Keeps them humble.  Lets them know who is boss.

Losing some seats in Congress is not unusual for the party holding the White House.  Only twice since the end of the Second World War has the White House avoided losing some of its purported political allies.

Some years are more remarkable for the size of the losses.  The classic examples being Truman's losses in 1946, Eisenhower's losses in 1958, Johnson's losses in 1966, Ford's losses in 1974, and Clinton's losses in 1994.  Each one signified a major political sea change.

But, look at the chart.  As major as those changes were, they were smaller than the tsunami that just hot the Obama White House.

Of course, bad political news is not necessarily disastrous news.  The midterms were bad presidential news for the Republicans in 1960 and 1976, and for the Democrats in 1980.  But both Truman and Clinton managed to survive re-election with polar opposite strategies.

All of that merely shows history is far more interesting than it is determinative. 

It will be interesting to see if the president tries the "Give 'em Hell" Harry or the "steal their clothes" Bill approach.

Anybody care to wager a few pesos?



Anonymous said...

Being a "glass half full" kinda person, I'll wager a few of my leftover Russian rubles on "Give 'em Hell". Mary

NWexican said...

Hmmm, since the marijuana law change did not happen in Cal, I am thinking the peso may end up being worth a little more....I got a dollar on "Give 'm hell"

Anonymous said...

As out of touch as Mr. Obama appears to be with the will of the people. I see him going down in flames like Mr. Carter. Judy

P.S. I give no president a higher title than Mr. because he is my servant not the other way around. Judy

Steve Cotton said...

Mary --Haven't heard from you lately. Hard to tell from these early statements where he is heading.

NWexican -- And you may be making the better financial deal.

Judy -- I should have added Carter as a choice. I had lunch with friends who rate the president below the benighted Jimmy.