Editorial: Stimulating Incumbency
Just got to mention that I really could not resist writing about an election. Politics is by far my favorite sport as no other so effectively combines the mindless, underhanded brutality of undergound street fighting with the shameless theatrics of professional wrestling. That said:
The editorial I read was by George Will, entitled Stimulating Incumbency. This link is to my hometown's newspaper's website, but you need a password to get in. However, I think he's syndicated, so you can probably find it somewhere else.
His article is discussing the stimulus packages and their relationship to the upcoming midterm elections. It wasn't quite as witty as others I've read, but it did offer much more structured, and better supported argument than others I've read.
The main idea that it points out is how often arguments tend to hinge on statistics that are completely inquantifiable. The number of jobs that can be considered to have been "created" by the stimulus packages tends to come out as a negative number, since unemployment kept increasing after them. For this reason the statistic that tends to be used, is the number "saved." However, this number, while considered an estimate, is pretty immpossible to determine. As a statistic, it is emensely valuable, as arguing against an estimate is simply fighting shadows. Will's article is effective because he doesn't argue that this statistic is necessarily wrong, but simply points out that no one really knows.
He also suggests that the third stimulus will likely come pretty close to the election, and will mostly be intended to save jobs, within congress. Will is certainly accurate that it'll take some pretty deft manuvering to keep even the slimmest of majorities, let alone attain the filibuster-proof one they'd always been dreaming of. Polls cited in another article, suggest that only half of the voters who came out for Obama will vote in the midterm, versus 66% of McCain voters. This sort of backlash against the party holding the presidency is pretty typical (Think 2006). While the uninformed of the victorious party rest on their laurels, the uninformed of the other party actually bother to vote in midterm elections. Beyond that, Democrats tend to need help from the young, yet far too busy to vote in boring midterm elections unless they're getting extra credit group, while the Republicans have the advantage of holding on to much of the old, and have nothing better to do group (many of whom have a significant intrest in health care).
Okay, I ended up off topic, but I'm fine with that. (At least I didn't say anything to outrageous, as I tend to when I start writing/talking/thinking about politics...I try to save that for my other blog, which no one reads.) I guess all that really matters is that this next election should be a bit more entertaining than the last, as they wont waste all their coverage on presidential candidates, which became pointless about 4 months prior to the election, as the conclusion got really obvious. Anyway, for now I'll give 100:1 odds to anyone betting the Dems will get that 3/5s (You can count Lieberman, but no other Independants). I'll figure the rest out later.