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Friday, August 21, 2009

Advice from Melissa Harris-Lacewell 



Melissa Harris-Lacewell is Associate Professor of Politics and African American Studies at Princeton University, and appeared on Countdown today.

Professor Harris-Lacewell reacts to recent polling data indicating declining support for President Obama, even among self-identified liberals, and interprets it to mean that President Obama should do more. This is an interesting contrast to the Politico piece that ran today, entitled "Obama's Big Bang could go bust," the theme of which was that President Obama has attempted to do too much too soon. Professor Harris-Lacewell predicts that unless a health care bill is passed with a public option, the Democrats will lose the House in 2010.

Well, I guess it takes guts to double down on a deteriorating hand -- maybe Princeton professors have become inveterate gamblers since I graduated. There is, I suppose, a certain logic to keeping your base motivated and turning out in big numbers on election day, but it's hard to envision a scenario in which President Obama's core base wouldn't be well organized in key districts in 2010 (CWCID, their ground game in 2008 was outstanding, something I saw first hand in my county), conscious of the need to maintain a legislative majority. The problem may not be the loyalty or ferocity of President Obama's base, but the fact that it lacks significant size in many districts that will be in play in 2010, where independent and swing voters may well determine the outcomes.


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11 Comments:

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Fri Aug 21, 11:58:00 PM:

Imagine that an "African American studies" professor exhorting Obama to double down on crazy.

By all means, I encourage him to pursue this strategy, at this rate the only block of voters that will remain in his coalition will be the all important cretin vote.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Sat Aug 22, 06:13:00 AM:

"Associate Professor of Politics and African American Studies"

Wow, an even more contrived academic post than the one Chris Chambers "mans".

I'm with anon above: shocked that the irrational would suggest an extra dollop of irrationality as the cure for a cock-up of their own making. Cretins you can believe in!!  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Sat Aug 22, 07:38:00 AM:

My grandfather, a very successful businessman, had a saying, no one is stupider than lawyers and school teachers. If she were at the law school, it would have been a two-fer.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Sat Aug 22, 09:51:00 AM:

Some simple math -- Obama's already doubled down on crazy.

This week Obama & Co will increase the White House 10-year deficit projection to $9 trillion from $7.1 trillion. The CBO has been using the $9 trillion figure for several months now. After running deficits of well over $1 trillion in each of 2009 and 2010, the White House and CBO project annual deficits of $700 billion or more each year this decade and beyond. Actual deficits will be even higher than these projections if growth stalls, which I expect will be the case.

I'm not an absolute deficit hawk. I expect we could tolerate average annual deficits of $200 billion, and even much higher deficits during recessions. But we can't sustain permanent structural deficits of $700 billion or more. We'll have to either cut spending or raise taxes.

The IRS has released detail on tax receipts for 2007 -- which was a good year for incomes. These figures don't include payroll taxes, nor corporate and other federal taxes. You can get it here: http://www.taxfoundation.org/publications/show/250.html

Total federal income taxes paid in 2007 were $1.1 trillion. The top 1% paid $450 billion, the top 5% paid $676 billion, the top 25% paid $965 billion. Thus, you could double federal income taxes on the top 5% and not close the budget deficit gap we're already projecting. Reread that last sentence slowly. This bleak financial picture would look even worse if you did an honest accounting consolidation of federal and state government finance ... worse still if you required governments to apply public company GAAP to their pension obligations.

We can't pay for Obama's plans by just jacking taxes on the top 5%. I made this same argument a year ago during the campaign -- that the numbers didn't add up. With the financial crisis, the numbers are now even worse and the conclusion ineluctable. Why Obama wasn't pressed to answer this during the campaign, and still isn't today is beyond me.

On top of this, Obama now says that the top 5% should cough up another $1 trillion over the next decade to pay for ObamaCare. That's incremental to the above. The numbers just won't work. We'll have to jack taxes on everyone over $100,000 -- maybe even $70,000. That's the elephant in the room that MSM still doesn't want to see.

Obama's spending plans -- often paid for with backdated checks -- will have the long-term effect of collapsing after-tax incomes. We'll all be "equal pigs" except for the truly rich -- who own assets and can hide income. The coming political divide will be between those who get government checks and those who pay for them.

Link, over  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Sat Aug 22, 10:07:00 AM:

This professor and other fellow travellers are now pushing the meme that Obama needs the public option to keep the House Democratic in the 2010 election. The assumption is that the liberal left is the driver and must be appeased. It's complete horseshit.

Obama won in 2010 because he got 55% of the independents -- who learned to hate Bush and the Republicans. Obama's success with independents explains 90% of his margin of victory. The Democrats are now on course to lose the independent vote in 2010. The more that independents learn how bleak a world Obama is leading us to, the worse the Democrats will do in 2010.

I already knew of idiot savant Paul Krugman. Do all Princeton professors have shit for brains?

Link, over  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Sat Aug 22, 10:50:00 AM:

Link again,

I just tripped over this. A Gallup poll shows that Middle Americans are realizing that they're going to get hosed with higher taxes too -- that it won't just be the top 5% -- despite Obama's saying the contrary. They're figuring this out, even though MSM still isn't reporting on the simple math above. What's pernicious, however, is that much of what Obama proposes won't have immediate effect -- much of it doesn't come on line until 2013. This is by design.

Poll is here: http://www.gallup.com/poll/122411/Americans-Expect-Income-Tax-Hike-Obama.aspx

Obama is working things like it's still a campaign, and says things that don't stand to reason. At some point, most Americans will decide that he's full of shit, at which point his high personal popularity will plummet. MSM and left-wing professors will say even sillier things in his defense.  

By Blogger JPMcT, at Sat Aug 22, 11:53:00 AM:

"the only block of voters that will remain in his coalition will be the all important cretin vote"

Humfp...By & large it was the cretin vote that put him in the White House to begin with!

I say go with it. pass Health Care Deform. That would let me retire (along with a WHOLE LOT of other docs) and watch this insanity from the sidelines.

By the time the details get full inspection...and the public knows exactly what it is they are in for in 1013....there will be an even greater groundswell in 2010 and 2012 for candidates running on the promise to Recant Reform.

Sure, Chairman O....take the good professor's advice...heh, heh...  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Sat Aug 22, 12:30:00 PM:

Press Secretary Gibbs recently said that Obama is willing to be a one-term President to pass Healthcare and the rest of his agenda. Gibbs wouldn't say this unless he heard it from Obama himself. Obama wants to be a transformational President, not a Bill Clinton. Healthcare and Energy are a big part of Obama's master plan. If they get adopted, they'll be very difficult to unwind. They don't come on line for a long time -- this is by design. We have to stop this now.

Obama & Co act like they have a huge mandate, but they don't. That's why Obama & Co are in such a hurry. Obama could quit in 2010 and still have achieved what he set out to do ... unless he's stopped.

LInk, over  

By Blogger druu222, at Sat Aug 22, 12:30:00 PM:

A union leader (Andy Stern?) said the very same thing, that passing reform without a public option would mean the Democrats will lose the house, so it is officially a meme.

So ya gotta ask: Is this being said be people who believe the cause-effect of which they speak? Or is it being said by people who have concluded that the Democrats will likely lose the House, and are thus trying to put their own 'I toldja so' so spin on it ahead of the game?  

By Anonymous feeblemind, at Sat Aug 22, 03:45:00 PM:

'Countdown'...hmmmm... silly me. I always thought it was Clowntown. I stand corrected.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Mon Aug 24, 09:33:00 AM:

Bill Clinton made what sounds like a similar argument just a week or so ago, and he's a pretty good politician. So there may be more to this than the sheer idiocy we think we see from our perspective here on the right.

From memory, his argument was that support for ObamaCare is relatively latent right now, but does exist and is currently sitting on the sidelines watching the argument take place. Once the legislation gets passed Obama would be able to dominate the news cycle with positive "implications for you" type stories, and the Agnewian "silent majority" would finally would emerge.

Then he argued that without the "accomplishment of a bill being passed, dubious as it may be, voters minds would become increasingly focused on the silly spectacle of a Democrat supermajority government unable to accomlish much of anything at all. Like Professor Hyphenate, Clinton's view was that the Democrats would pay tremendously at the polls for not getting the bill through. Basically the argument is, once Pandoras box was opened, Obama must follow through or he will have squandered the best chance in a generation.

Of course, Bill's argument could have been a case of simply setting the stage for a successor to Obama in the 2012 election, one untarnished by the failure of this effort....

More importantly, though, what the hell are you doing watching a kook like Olbermann?  

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