War is hellacious, politics voracious
There is an old axiom in business that politicians ought to follow, but often don’t. It goes this way: under-promise and over-deliver.
Election results Tuesday are likely to show that is true, but most commentary will miss the mark regarding why. Supercilious sages will call Republican gains and losses by Democrats proof the economy did the deed. It’s the safe bet, the conventional wisdom.
It won’t be entirely wrong, but far short of right. Supercilious sages always over-spew the obvious, puff up their chests and sell such gruel as gospel. Certainly the economy took a toll, but it is hurting incumbents and helping challengers.
Folks understand the mess we inherited was caused by us all, particularly our leaders in recent decades. If you don’t agree, you make the same mistake as sages, arrogant politicians and the many dimwits who run campaigns. They take voters for inattentive, stupid marks swallowing their BS.
Here is some unconventional wisdom. Voters are more savvy than asinine analysts, me included. So I won’t pretend I know either the single or every reason for what this election season brings. Below, however, is what I am pushing.
Democrats, to the extent they get savaged by the election results, were hurt hellishly by the tendency of President Barack Obama & Co. to over-promise yet under-deliver. Sure some of it was the economy; how could it not be?
But voters also know what Obama tried to sell them about the long run-up to the recession was mostly accurate. Many problems came well before his watch.
Sure, he and the Harry Reid/Nancy Pelosi congressional leadership piled on with ill-conceived nostrums to stave off economic Armageddon (billions in stimulus the most notable sham). But officeholders often err on the side of action for action’s sake.
There also was Obama-care, which some say hijacked Obama and Congress by stressing something other than jobs creation. Not exactly. Obama and his ilk tried to create jobs, but that’s way tougher than creating money through Federal Reserve magic.
My take is jobs were saved, not created; money was created, not saved.
Oh, yeah, back to Obama-care. It began as healthcare reform and morphed into health insurance reform. A classic case of over-promise, under-deliver in the making long before Obama was even born. It fell far short of advance billing.
No single-payer healthcare system or public option for the left; a requirement that everyone purchase health insurance, which pissed off the right; delaying many provisions, which left the middle (class) without immediate protection. Talk about botching matters politically. It’s a Republican campaigner’s wet dream.
But the most significant over-promise and under-deliver gaffe of all carries the same title as that massive novel by Tolstoy: War and Peace. This one is owned by Obama, the man who still doesn’t quite comprehend the meaning of his 2008 primary campaign, his nomination or his election.
When Obama decided to run for president, some set his chances at slim or none. Yet he beat bellicose Hillary Clinton in his own party and GOP war hero John McCain, two hawks. The over-promise then was Obama projecting himself as the anti-Bush league war policy candidate, fostering hope for peace via platitudes and diplomatic deft.
But the hawks keep circling, guns trump butter, blood keeps spilling, anti-war angst and sentiment continue, and Obama’s party labors to stay aloft despite a broken left wing.
Obama’s lesson: The mid-term election, like war, is hell.