Jewish World Review Oct. 7, 2010 29 Tishrei, 5771
The Obama Rope-a-dope
By Victor Davis Hanson
http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | After 2010, will he be Carter or Clinton?
That is the ongoing parlor game now played among pundits over how President Obama will react to a probable shellacking of the Democrats in midterm elections next month.
In contrast, after his party was slaughtered in the 1994 midterms (losing 51 House and eight
So what will Obama do if he loses a Democratic majority in the House and quite possibly the
Most likely, he will stick to his liberal orthodoxy -- but in a way unlike Carter. Yet, like Clinton, Obama may still have a good chance at re-election.
Currently, banks, corporations and small businesses are sitting on trillions of dollars in cash from two years of low interest rates, a rebounding world economy, and massive cutbacks and downsizing. But they will continue to stay on the sidelines as long as they are unsure of the actual costs of Obamacare and a proposed federal income tax hike. A constant barrage of anti-business and anti-wealth diatribes from the president makes them even more skittish.
Yet, if the Republicans regain the House, the entire Obama redistributive agenda will stall. That stasis will give far more certainly to the business cycle -- and probably provide the necessary psychological lift for businesses to start hiring and buying.
In a weird way, by losing the
Without Democratic congressional majorities, the president will also have to agree to vast budget cuts, as Republicans try to stave off fiscal insolvency.
Again, the president can let the
Much of Obama's left-wing base is disenchanted and may not give money or get out the vote in the manner of 2008. With control of the presidency and both houses of
But if Republicans take over
Overseas, much of the reset Obama foreign policy either stalled or simply reverted back to the policies of
A new rejectionist
If Democrats get clobbered in November, expect just such a passive rope-a-dope strategy, different from the last two years of either the Carter term or the first Clinton term. Obama will let Republicans punch themselves out at the nation's problems, hoping they expend energy and incur blood. Then, as things improve, he can come alive to brag in 2012 that the upturn would have been even better had he not been stopped by right-wing obstructionists.
The mellifluent-talking Obama will do far better if his agenda remains hope-and-change banter instead of becoming messy and costly law. Republicans will try to ensure both -- and thereby may save Obama from himself.
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Victor Davis Hanson, a classicist and military historian, is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and a recipient of the 2007 National Humanities Medal. Comment by clicking here.
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