Republican Tsunami?

If some recent polls are accurate, it is beginning to look like it will be a very good year for the Republicans. It is usually expected that the party that doesn’t hold the White House does better in midterm elections, especially in the middle of a president’s second term. People grow tired of the same faces and policies and begin to want a change. No one really expected that the Democrats would be able to gain the House of Representatives this year, or increase their majority in the Senate. It didn’t seem likely that the Republicans would be able to capture a Senate majority. But, according to this article in Business Insider, we could be looking at, not just a wave, but a tsunami.

The Republican Party is at its strongest point in two decades heading into midterm elections, according to a new Pew Research-USA Today poll, the latest daunting sign for Democrats ahead of campaign season.

The GOP is at an even stronger point than in previous “wave” elections in 1994 and 2010 and looks poised to make major gains — and possibly take control of the U.S. Senate.

According to the poll, out Monday, Republicans have a 47-43 lead on the generic congressional ballot. That’s a 10-point swing from October, when Democrats, boosted by GOP blame for the federal government shutdown, held a 6-point lead in the Pew poll.

There are a number of reasons for this surge, but it is more because people are turning against the Democrats, and especially Obama, than because they support the Republicans. 

Overall, Democrats are plagued by the still-sluggish economy, the unpopularity of the Affordable Care Act, and the undesirable views of President Obama. More voters (26%) say their vote will be “against” the president. Only 16% say their vote will be “for” Obama. And by more than a 2-to-1 margin, voters say they want the next president to pursue policies different from the Obama administration’s priorities.

As has been seen in other polls showing trouble for Democrats this year, the party is hampered by a lack of enthusiasm. For example, only 31% of Democratic voters say their vote is “for” Obama. In 2010, that number was 47%.

Some of the other troubling signs for Democrats:

  • Obama’s approval rating sits at 44%, compared with 50% who disapprove.
  • Although last Friday’s jobs report showed the unemployment rate dropping to its lowest level since 2008, most people (65%) say jobs are still difficult to find. And while 25% of voters think the economy will get better next year, about an equal number think it’ll get worse.
  • The percentage of voters who disapprove of the Affordable Care Act (55%) is still tied for the highest in the law’s history.

About that unemployment rate, Business Insider also notes, in an article, that the labor force participation rate is the lowest it has been since 1978. The reason unemployment is down is because a lot of people have given up looking for work. 

Of course, we still have six months before the election and there is plenty of time for the Republicans to screw up. Still, if all goes well, they will have an even better year in 2014 than in 2010.


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They Know What’s Best for You

Ben Shapiro of notes another case of elite disdain for the intelligence of the common people,this time from a supposed conservative, Josh Barro of Business Insider.

On Tuesday, President Obama’s favorite “conservative” columnist, Josh Barro of Business Insider, tweeted out that Obama’s lie that Americans could keep their insurance if they liked it was just fine, since Americans don’t know what’s best for them anyway:

To some extent he is correct about public policy. The reason why we are a representative democracy and not a direct democracy is because policies and laws are best made by those who make it their business to devote the time and attention needed to properly understand these matters. But the central idea of our system of government is that the government is based on the consent of the governed and that those who make the policies are answerable to the people they serve. This idea that a technocratic elite ought to be making policies on behalf of people too stupid to know what’s good for them is incompatible with American political traditions.

This is actually the whole problem with Mr. Barro’s ideas. What if I want to buy unpasteurized milk? If I understand the risks involved, why should I fear being arrested for participating in a commercial transaction between two adults? What if I don’t want to wear a seat belt? I know it is less safe to drive without a seat belt, but what if I like living life dangerously? it’s my life, isn’t it? Why can’t these people just leave us alone. We are grownups. We can take care of ourselves. And, if we can’t, that’s our own business.

Here is my favorite comment from the article in , in terms of someone thinking he is smarter than he really is.

The average American has a less then 100 I.Q. They believe in an afterlife, because of a book that tells them half-god men walk on water. Do you really think they have the maturity to decide what is best for them?

Well, yes, about half the American population does have an IQ less than 100. This is because an IQ of 100 is by definition the mean. Whatever score has 50% above and 50% below is rated as an IQ of 100.  In fact, a survey of  popular culture and political discourse makes it hard to believe, but average IQs in much of the world have been steadily rising since IQ tests were first developed. This may be due to better nutrition and medical care, and possibly more mental stimulation by television and the Internet. So, about every fifteen to twenty years, IQ tests and scored are renormed so that 100 remains the mean. In any case, if you want to live in a free country, you ought to begin with the assumption that most people really do have the maturity to decide what’s best for them.