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GOP rolls over a toxic president, but nothing will happen without compromise

REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
Republicans have succeeded in convincing swing voters that whatever is bothering them is Obama’s fault and every Democrat in Congress stands tried and convicted of agreeing with Obama too much.

To get the obvious out of the way, the 2014 midterm election was a huge win for the Republicans, in both Houses of Congresses and in governor’s races. It went beyond the friendly map faced by Repubs (many U.S. Senate races in red states with vulnerable Dem incumbents). The Republicans won in purple states too, and even took the governorship of Massachusetts, one of the bluest states in the nation. (Minnesota was a clear exception to this wave, with landslide reelections for Sen. Al Franken and Gov. Mark Dayton. The vulnerable Dem incumbents in the U.S. House, Collin Peterson and Rock Nolan, survived. But even in Minnesota, the Republicans took over control of the House of Representatives.)

The GOP clinched 53 U.S. Senate seats, a solid majority but well below the number needed to break a filibuster or override a veto. Sen. Angus King of Maine, a centrist independent who has caucused with the Democrats, has been telling reporters that his mind is open to the possibility of switching to the Republican caucus if he thought that might be good for Maine.

In the U.S. House, where a number of races are still being counted, the Repubs will end up with at least a net gain of 13 seats and possibly 19 or so, which would put them in range of a 250-185 majority, which would be the highest number for the Republicans since 1931, according to PBS.   

The next two big questions are why it happened and what it portends for the next two years. I don’t pretend to have good answers, and you’ll be hearing a lot about this for a long time, but here are a couple of starting thoughts, for which I make no claim to brilliance nor originality:

Obama’s fault?

Obama is toxic. I will confess that I think Obama has been a good president. For all the Republican criticism, the U.S. economic recovery has been one of the strongest in the world, a fact that goes strangely unmentioned. The economic mess began under Obama’s Republican predecessor. But Republicans have succeeded in convincing swing voters that whatever is bothering them is Obama’s fault and every Democrat in Congress stands tried and convicted of agreeing with Obama too much.

Likewise, Obamacare (which, I will also confess, I believe has done much more good than harm) was successfully used during the campaign as a metaphor for incompetent, overreaching government. Likewise, the mess in the Middle East. Likewise the Ebola virus. Whatever you think is wrong in America or the world, Republicans succeeded in convincing the public that Obama is to blame and to imply (without, I would say, many specifics) that Republicans have better solutions.

Writing for the New York Times, Thomas Edsall sought comment from several deep political thinkers. David Leege, political scientist emeritus at Notre Dame, commented on the change in the public’s view of Obama, thus:

Bi-election year 2014 was the final chapter in making the president small. The immediate aftermath of 2008 was that Americans had finally conquered their racial aversions. The election of Barack Obama was a victory both for renewed national hope and long-awaited democracy. Obama was big, a star, a voice to be reckoned with, a mind to be taken seriously.

By 2014 Obama was small, a punching bag, easily bullied, the one to whom small politicians could talk tough, abusively, the one whose ideas were ignored, the one whom his fellow partisans would come to avoid at all cost. How could this happen in six short years?

So, for the next two years, we will have Obama in the White House, presumably not agreeing with this analysis of how terrible his policies have been, and Republicans with solid (but not veto-overriding-sized) majorities in both Houses of Congress.

In our strange system, that means nothing substantial can happen, legislatively, without compromise and over recent cycles, bipartisan compromise has gone substantially out of fashion.

Ted Cruz and Obamacare

I caught Ted Cruz’s act on Fox last night where he said that of course Congress would, as soon as possible, pass a full repeal of Obamacare. True, the Senate Repubs would lack the 60 votes needed to overcome a likely Dem filibuster on such a bill, but they could use the congressional process known as budget “reconciliation,” which enables the Senate to pass a bill with a mere majority.

If that is vetoed and cannot be overridden, Cruz said, the Republican controlled Congress must just repeal the Affordable Care Act piece by piece. Of course, the piece-by-piece approach would still be susceptible to a presidential veto. Those repeal bills, Cruz said, will require Obama to decide “whether to listen to the American people, or just be an absolute partisan and veto them.”

Sen. Rand Paul, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and McConnell's wife
REUTERS/John Sommers II
Sen. Rand Paul, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and McConnell’s wife, Elaine Chao, greeting supporters at McConnell’s midterm election night victory rally.

In other words, Sen. Cruz has no plan, other than to continue the gridlock. But  Cruz, who has made his reputation in large part by his disdain for the idea of compromise, will not be in charge of the Senate, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will, and before the recent change in Washington fashion, McConnell was an old-fashioned dealmaker. Same for Speaker of the House John Boehner. Same, as far as I can tell, for Barack Obama, who came into office declaring there is no red or blue America and who spent many months in his first term trying to figure out how to compromise with the Republicans even when he didn’t really need their votes.

Talking heads talk compromise

The talking heads on the tube last night were not unaware that the big question of the next two years will be whether bipartisan compromise might come back into fashion. On CNN last night, Kevin Madden, a former aide to Mitt Romney, predicted that it would and that the first promising issue for such compromise would be a comprehensive tax reform plan. McConnell has also mentioned trade policy as a good subject for bipartisan action. Others, including Obama, have put immigration law on that list.

Is it possible? It is possible, but I will remain skeptical until it happens.

In a op-ed article this morning, William Galston of the Brookings Institution opined in the Wall Street Journal that the situation is ripe for compromise, noted that despite his very bad election night, Obama has some leverage because, while Congress can do almost nothing without passing a bill and getting Obama to sign it, presidents have a large and somewhat ill-defined power to take action based on executive authority.

To those with strong feelings about what constitutes good public policy, compromise with those holding other views is not inherently appealing. If the United States had a parliamentary system, last night’s results would have put the Republicans into position to enact their ideas of what’s best.

But we don’t have that system. We have a system in which — except under rare circumstances (and the first two years of Obama’s first term were such a circumstance) — nothing much can happen without compromise. So here’s a bold prediction: In the next two years, either nothing much will happen or we’ll have a new spirit of compromise.

Comments (52)

  1. Submitted by Michael Hess on 11/05/2014 - 11:55 am.

    How to govern the Senate

    McConnell has an opportunity to roll-back the dictatorial Senate majority management style of Harry Reid and show voters in 2016 that Republicans can be grown ups. It is their opportunity to loose.

  2. Submitted by Thomas Swift on 11/05/2014 - 12:19 pm.

    Last night was a thorough repudiation of all things Obama, but none so much as Obamacare. People hate it now, and they’re *really* gonna hate it when it hits the employer provided market.

    …unless the GOP stops it.

    So sure, Obama and his rump caucus can obstruct the congress from implementing its clear mandate, for two more years at most.

    • Submitted by Kurt Nelson on 11/05/2014 - 02:24 pm.

      People hate it

      No, you hate it, but the 30 million people now insured certainly like it. Time to stop thinking it will go away, cause it’s here to stay, too bad for you and your ilk however.

      • Submitted by Frank Horn on 11/06/2014 - 10:46 am.

        Where are you getting that number

        Really, 30 million people now insured? Where are you getting that number, from the promises made before the law was passed? Last I heard the government hadn’t released the numbers, which likely means they aren’t that good. And remember that a lot of people on the exchange already had insurance.

    • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 11/05/2014 - 02:55 pm.

      The same things

      were said about Social Security and Medicare.
      But the people campaigning on a platform of eliminating them never got elected.
      Same thing here.
      The ‘I’ve got mine, Jack’ types will rail against it, but as more people benefit from it, it will be harder for reactionaries to believably claim that it hurts most people.
      ” Come mothers and fathers
      Throughout the land
      And don’t criticize
      What you can’t understand
      Your sons and your daughters
      Are beyond your command
      Your old road is
      Rapidly agin’
      Please get out of the new one
      If you can’t lend your hand
      For the times they are a-changin’.”
      The sage of Hibbing.

  3. Submitted by Tim Walker on 11/05/2014 - 12:45 pm.

    “It’s the economy, stupid.”

    “For all the Republican criticism, the U.S. economic recovery has been one of the strongest in the world, a fact that goes strangely unmentioned.”

    The Democrats did not use the message of the improved economy uner President Obama AT ALL.

    Very frustrating.

    There was also a HUGE decline in the youth vote in yesterday’s election:

    If the Dems had touted their successes — the improved economy, minimum wage increases, student loan reform, health care reform, to name a few — that would have increased the young voter turnout, maybe even enough to have drastically changed yesterday’s results.

    A POX on the Dem strategists, Dem leaders, and Dem office holders for ignoring the issues that matter to young people.

    Instead, they kowtowed to the moderate independents, who didn’t come through for them.

    But also, I give a big WTF to young voters and their apathy. People under 30 years old made up just 12% of the electorate? Shame on you. Don’t you care about your futures?

    [Insert “Get off my lawn” joke here]

  4. Submitted by Tim Milner on 11/05/2014 - 01:35 pm.

    Obamacare needs some changes

    but I differ from many conservative Republicans in their belief it needs to dismantled completely.

    The access changes are good – such as coverage to age 26 – and appropriate. I’d hate to see those things go away

    But now what needs to be done – which Obama didn’t have the courage to do – is to address the cost side. I’ll give two examples.

    1 – Treatment should only be provided only at the appropriate level for the illness at hand. ER visits are skyrocketing – not because acuity is higher – but because its more convenient and FREE. I hear stories of families going to the ER for things that have been going on for weeks. Why don’t they go to the clinic? Because it’s “not convenient” Or “it cost me $10 at the clinic”. So instead, ER rooms, staffed and equipped for medical emergencies, are used as clinic rooms – at a horrific cost. But the law says that if the show up at the ER have to be seen by a physician and have a completely documented visit.

    That law needs to be changed so that patients can be triaged (as they currently are by nurses and other non physician healthcare workers) and directed to the lowest cost care level appropriate. Sorry if that mean you need to make an appointment at the clinic instead of taking up an ER. But that is what you need to do for the illness you have.

    2 – The country needs to create a centralized medical record system. In the ER where my wife works, they typically have to repeat nearly every test that the patient has already taken. Why? Because the patient, family, referring doctor, ambulance, etc DOES NOT bring the medical records with them!! So more tests, CAT scans, MRIs, – everything gets repeated – making it twice as expensive (and frankly exposing the patient to double the efforts).

    I know – people worry about privacy. But is it worth the doubling (or more) of the medical costs to have each doctor start from scratch in evaluating a patient? I say no – we need centralized medical records.

    I could go on and on giving more examples where Obamacare simple chose not to address cost. But as you saw in the MnSURE rates – costs are going to be rising – and rapidly – if we don’t do something to incorporate some personal responsibility to health care usage to keep costs manageable.

    Hope the Republicans focus on cost controls and not simply repealing the law.

    • Submitted by jody rooney on 11/06/2014 - 07:56 am.

      I believe Hennepin County has addressed this

      by having an ER and a clinic triage at the same location. Both work on a 24 hour schedule.

      Making an appointment to see a doctor between the hours of 8:00 to 4:30 may not be possible for some workers because they don’t get paid for sick leave.

      As for records transfer I agree that it should be simpler than it is.

      • Submitted by Tim Milner on 11/06/2014 - 09:58 am.


        Hennepin County has the same rules as everyone else. They can triage people and assign priority but everyone still gets seen in the ER by a physician (who must do a work up). They can’t triage and send a patient to a more appropriate care giver.

        This is why some hospitals are putting clinics in the hospital building. It is permissible to send a patient from an ER to a clinic if they never leave the premisses. Though having clinics in hospitals is a pretty expensive use of space.

        Most primary care providers have evening hours. It’s the specialty care ones who are by and large stuck in the 8-4:30 hours.

  5. Submitted by Ron Gotzman on 11/05/2014 - 01:36 pm.

    Will Obama compromise?

    Why is it that the “media” assumes that the GOP must be the first to compromise? The Obama machine lost – big time! Let us see if Obama is willing to compromise or if he is just as much as an obstructionist as Harry R., Big Al, and Amy K.

    I can’t wait for those Eric Black – do away with the filibuster – articles.

    • Submitted by E Gamauf on 11/05/2014 - 03:01 pm.

      You are a comedian.

      The GOP has been an obstruction for the better part of 6 years.

    • Submitted by Matt Haas on 11/05/2014 - 10:05 pm.

      one problem

      The only ones who give a rip whether the republicans are blocked is … republicans! The President has nothing to fear, he’s not up for election, the base will be cheering him on, and the rest will again call a pox on all houses and “throw dem bums” out next time around, problem for you is “dem bums” have r’s next to their names in 2016.

  6. Submitted by Jeffrey Brenner on 11/05/2014 - 02:01 pm.

    Not much will happen in the next two years

    I find Mitch McConnell and other winning Republicans statements about finding compromise disingenuous. They have done nothing but obstruct for the last six years.
    About the only thing they will accomplish is another round of meaningless votes to repeal Obamacare.

  7. Submitted by Neal Rovick on 11/05/2014 - 02:13 pm.

    So the question becomes, what will the dog do, now that it caught the car it had been chasing so long?

    A party that has refused to bring forward legislation that the President and Democrats could get behind will now do so?

    Fat chance.

    The breaking of the government and the division of the country is more the direction of the Republican party these days. It will continue, because, in the end, they make more money that way.

    • Submitted by E Gamauf on 11/06/2014 - 05:17 am.

      Dog Catches Car – Can’t Drive?

      Speaking of which, from the article:

      “Cruz said, the Republican controlled Congress
      must just repeal the Affordable Care Act piece by piece.”

      Mitch already is not radical enough, for the Republican Presidential frontrunner, Ted Cruz!
      The hissy fit may just be for show, like a rooster puffing up its chest.

      As for national healthcare records – you need national healthcare to remain in place.
      This is already the Republican version.

      If Republicans are in charge of nationalizing healthcare records – it’ll be written in Java.

  8. Submitted by Frank Phelan on 11/05/2014 - 03:03 pm.

    Check That

    “If the United States had a parliamentary system, last night’s results would have put the Republicans into position to enact their ideas of what’s best.”

    Really? By your recent article on parliamentary systems, if we had such an election yesterday, the entire House, Senate, and White House would have been up for grabs, and turnout would have been higher. Instead of just Senate races in mostly red states, all would have been open. We all know what happens when everyone shows up to the polls, don’t we?

    In 2012, more voters cast ballots with D’s than R’s for Congress. Would that have happened again had we had parliamentary elections yesterday? That’s entirely plausible, and I’m surprised Mr. Black assumed the opposite conclusion.

  9. Submitted by Greg Kapphahn on 11/05/2014 - 05:17 pm.

    The First Compromise

    Will have to be the GOP within itself.

    With several senators aiming to gain the visibility necessary to move to the head of the 2016 Republican presidential pack,…

    the Tea Party wing of the House strengthened by yesterday’s election,…

    the Warmonger wing looking to improve the economy of the military contractors in their home districts by starting a new war,…

    and the moral conservative wing desperate to wipe out every morally progressive gain made in the past decade,…

    I give the Republicans until the end of January (if that long) before we see open warfare between their various factions in congress,…

    each of which will claim this election gave them a mandate to demand that the new congress immediately enact their (mutually exclusive) legislative priorities.

    I will not be surprised if that war starts at the beginning of the session as they jettison Mitch McConnell and John Boehner as their leaders,…

    in favor of leaders who will be willing and anxious to play the kind of hardball they so desperately want to play with a president,…

    who represents, for many of their constituents, all “those kind of people” who they’ve been taught from the time they were being bounced on their daddies’ knees, were keeping them down,…

    and soaking up all their hard-earned tax dollars.

    I’m asking for a big supply of popcorn for Christmas because this is all going to be quite a show for the next two years.

  10. Submitted by Sheila Foss on 11/05/2014 - 08:31 pm.

    The Future

    Hold on for the slide downward for America. The Republican Party is hardly changing its business model.

    • Submitted by E Gamauf on 11/06/2014 - 05:09 am.

      They cannot afford to “slide” too much

      IF they really managed to take away people’s health care
      the way they promise, the backlash ought be great in 2 years.

      IF people sat out on the midterm, instead of voting – the next election will be a big one again.

      You HAVE to wonder about Kentucky. The people and its politicians.
      McConnell wants to kill off the Affordable Care Act, event though its liked in Kentucky.
      Or else he’s lying.

      And he apparently did it on in ‘1984’ fashion: DoubleSpeak.
      By calling what Kentucky has & likes – as something OTHER than the “ObamaCare” it is.

  11. Submitted by Paul Brandon on 11/05/2014 - 08:42 pm.


    was not on the ballot.
    Now that I’ve said that,
    the results may have been the best thing that could have happened to the Democrats.
    This was not going to be a good year whatever the conditions; the Democrats were bound to lose some seats.
    Now the can is tied to the Republicans’ tail for the next two years. If they can’t show dramatic improvement (a good trick since in fact things were already improving in many ways) they’ll be running a lot of vulnerable seats against a much better Democratic turnout.
    And the Republican presidential field is so weak that even Romney is acting like he’s running!

  12. Submitted by Ilya Gutman on 11/05/2014 - 10:14 pm.

    Are you serious?

    Here we go again – Obama’s problems are because of Bush. Are you serious? Anyone ever mentioned that Bush had to deal with 9/11? Anyone gave him a break because of that?

    Good president? “If you like your doctor…,” “I learned about that from media,” “I will enforce the “red line,” “I will issue an order this summer…” And all this is just the beginning. The world is a mess and no one in the world respects America and allies do not trust it. The borders are a mess and anyone who wants to may come (if they have money to cross Mexico). Racial relations are a mess – if people in Fergusson could, they would have lynched the poor officer – and that is considered normal by this administration. And saying that Obama wanted to compromise is not even close to the truth: Didn’t he ram Obamacare through the Senate just in time before more Republicans were elected?

    And economy? Let’s see.

    Unemployment level and job creation: Unemployment level is a percentage of those who want to work, i.e. of the active labor force. Since 2008, the labor force has been steadily declining and now stands at 62.7%, the lowest in the last 10 years (that is how far back I went) and more than 3 percentage points less than a steady rate prior 2008. If we assume the same labor participation rate as it was 5 years ago, in September 2009, the actual unemployment rate today will stand at 9.3% (simple math based on federal data) which is not much better than the 2009 rate of 9.8%. Of course, we should also consider that the jobs created lately are lower paying and part-time ones.

    So again, a good president?

    And of course, picking on Kruz and some of his statements can always be counted by pointing to Reid statements – he has plenty of them to choose from.

    • Submitted by Jonathan Ecklund on 11/06/2014 - 09:15 am.

      9/11 Happened ON Bush’s watch, 9 months into his first term. The financial crisis of 07-08 happened while Obama was still campaigning. Obama was inaugurated in 09. See the difference?

      Obama ran for and won an office and inherited the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression (which came about from a decade of Neocon mismanagement).

      Bush, through inaction and ineptitude, let 9/11 happen… then sat still for 10 minutes while reading “The Pet Goat” after Andy Card told him America was under attack. Thanks for the reminder, though. Good times, good times.

      • Submitted by Pavel Yankovic on 11/06/2014 - 04:48 pm.


        keep in mind that the financial crisis in 2008 happened under the watchful eye of a Democrat House and Senate. Barack Hussein Obama inherited a mess that had his own party’s fingerprints on it.

      • Submitted by Ilya Gutman on 11/06/2014 - 05:53 pm.

        I can’t believe it

        9/11 happened 9 months into Bush presidency – you have to have guts to blame him for that.

        • Submitted by Jonathan Ecklund on 11/07/2014 - 09:06 am.

          You’d better believe it

          First things first: I am not ‘blaming’ Bush for 9/11. It’s not like he trained to fly an airplane into a building (or into combat either, ha ha ha), but it DID happen on his watch. And he and his administration had warning. Bottom line: Bush was a bad president and a bumbling leader who was surrounded by chickenhawk sycophants, who led him to believe that a: America was unassailable, and b: We can bomb other nations into freedom. His presidency is not marked by any form of success or achievement, but rather, by failure, lies, and ineptitude, and history will remember it as such. And I do have the ‘guts’ to say so.

          Second things second… You said:

          “Obama’s problems are because of Bush. Are you serious? Anyone ever mentioned that Bush had to deal with 9/11? Anyone gave him a break because of that?”

          Obviously, you were drawing a comparison between the issues that both Bush and Obama had waiting for them when they took office. Obama had the financial crisis and Iraq and Afghanistan waiting for him. George Bush had a budget surplus and a mildly assertive China. Oooooh. Bush gets no breaks from me for presiding over the worst terrorist attack in history, but he certainly gets my ire and spite for the way he squandered the global political capital the US had in the immediate aftermath.

          Long story short: Barack Obama isn’t the greatest president ever, not by a long shot. But he is demonstrably better than George W. Bush.

  13. Submitted by beryl john-knudson on 11/05/2014 - 11:39 pm.

    Who’s toxic now,hey?

    So we have another buzz word for Obama? Toxic? I’ve heard that point of reference all over the net from both sides now?

    Who’s toxic? May just be a better, more descriptive word for a populace clinging to party loyalties that gave the waiting media too many days, weeks, months of bombastic rhetoric where “us” against “them” was the hallmark?

    Maybe its time for the Republican Party to have this opportunity bury itself in its own insular point of view…certainly two years of possible control is enough time to be the chief spoiler;in their constant myopic vision that supports ‘I’ over the ‘other’; and the other being those in our society that are insignificant in the eyes of this self-centered party with profit the motif and corporate power its bedfellow?

    Got democracy? I don’t think so but if in this growing gridlock extended, Obama will survive and come down in history as a most honorable of presidents as a corrupt party displays its self centered grip on our future.

    Compromise is not the word that should be pursued…try COOPERATION and love of country rather than love of self,eh?

  14. Submitted by Hiram Foster on 11/06/2014 - 05:29 am.

    Compromise or not, nothing will happen because the party in favor of doing nothing can make sure nothing is done without compromise.

  15. Submitted by jody rooney on 11/06/2014 - 08:02 am.

    This election was the Democrats to lose and they did a good

    job. They never talked about performance, what they had accomplished and that they had a good record.

    They should definitely be searching for new strategists.

    The National Republican ad strategists here in Minnesota so miss read the issues that put out silly ads. “Fix the Roads” I mean really there are very few places you can drive on state roads where they are not under construction.

  16. Submitted by Pavel Yankovic on 11/06/2014 - 09:02 am.

    Doing nothing…

    may prove to be better than going down the path that the democrats were taking us. At least now Obama is not a lame duck with unlimited power who can run wild over us. Who knows how he will use his executive powers to try to complete his radical “transformation” of this country into a miserable socialist paradise.

    Minnesota will be interesting as well. We now have a balance of power which means the governor will have to play nice and maybe compromise, something he has never had to do in his life.

    • Submitted by Matt Haas on 11/06/2014 - 12:44 pm.


      The only thing the MNGOP can do is squeak out rural districts in off year elections. They’ll be back in the minority come 2016. How small that minority will be will be incumbent on how much restraint they show in the coming 2 years. The pressure is on them and them alone. Sorry to break it to you Pavel, but you live in a liberal state, with a urban population that dwarfs the rural one the GOP has apparently decided to cater to exclusively. Whatever power conservatives wield only comes at the whim (or by the inaction of) the liberal majority.

    • Submitted by Joel Fischer on 11/06/2014 - 12:59 pm.

      You seem to have a shorter memory than most voters.

      “…something he has never had to do in his life.”

      You have conveniently forgotten the legislative disaster of 2011-2012, when the Republicans had majorities in both houses.

    • Submitted by jason myron on 11/06/2014 - 01:02 pm.

      LOL..”a miserable socialist paradise?”

      If Obama’s a socialist, he might be the worst one ever.
      Let’s review…
      63 straight months of economic expansion
      deficit reduced by 2/3rds
      healthcare for millions of Americans that didn’t have it before and can no longer be turned down due to preexisting conditions.
      unemployment rate down to 5.9 from 10.2
      stock market at record highs.

      Yeah, it’s miserable in this country. Get a grip..

      • Submitted by Ilya Gutman on 11/06/2014 - 06:02 pm.


        Yes, let’s review:

        63 months of economic expansion: Remember, capitalist economy goes up and down so saying that this growth is thanks to Obama is the same as saying that the Sun’s rising is his accomplishment.

        Healthcare for millions: Healthcare for everyone at government expense is purely socialist approach.

        Unemployment rate down: If we take into consideration that labor force has shrunk by more than 3 percentage point, the actual unemployment is over 9 percent – not impressive, right?

        Stock market is up: Does middle class get much out of that?

      • Submitted by Pavel Yankovic on 11/07/2014 - 07:15 am.


        it’s time to wake up. A record number of people on food stamps, welfare, private health insurance rates skyrocketing, rampant cronyism in the form of a stadium, a possible increase in the gasoline tax, runaway environmentalism interfering with mining initiatives and what percentage of people receiving a check from government? And the answer I hear: Oh yeah, you’re rich. You can afford it.

        • Submitted by Matt Haas on 11/07/2014 - 09:40 am.

          one problem

          What you see as “runaway environmentalism” is seen by others as long overdue curtailing of the biggest polluters on the planet. What in your mind is “reasonable environmentalism” ,the sort in which industry polluters and landscape trashers aren’t required to alter their behavior in any way? We have that, its called status quo and its resulted in billions and billions of dollars worth of taxpayer funded cleanup efforts over the last century. Where is the “conservative” effort to hold mining companies feet to the fire and eliminate this taxpayer handout… crickets.

        • Submitted by jason myron on 11/07/2014 - 04:30 pm.

          Sure, Pavel…

          food stamps that you people were dead set against providing in the first place, welfare reform that took place under Clinton, insurance rates are nowhere near skyrocketing, and a stadium bill that was authored by two republicans. Wake up? You first….

  17. Submitted by Steve Rose on 11/06/2014 - 06:22 pm.

    “Stock Market at Record Highs”

    That one repeatedly comes up as a shining star on the President’s resume’.

    Employment to population ratio is at a 30 year low of 59%. However, the President’s friends on Wall Street got their money. You must be so proud.

    • Submitted by Dan Landherr on 11/07/2014 - 10:55 am.


      Boomer retirement was always going to drive down labor participation. It doesn’t explain all of it but it is a sizeable chunk.

      • Submitted by Steve Rose on 11/07/2014 - 12:20 pm.

        It accounts for about 10%.

        40 million Americans are over 65; that is 13%. Some of those seniors are still working full or part time. Assuming that 10% of Americans over 65 are retired, there is another 30% of the population not working.

        To be counted as “unemployed” by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, you must be actively looking for work. Many unemployed Americans have given up. They are not considered unemployed, but their status is captured in the employment to population ratio.

        • Submitted by Jonathan Ecklund on 11/07/2014 - 12:37 pm.

          Hardly the whole picture

          It “currently” counts for 13%.

          The Baby-Boom Generation (boomers) will be turning 65 at the rate of approx 10,000 a day, continually, for the next 19 years.

          • Submitted by Steve Rose on 11/07/2014 - 02:59 pm.


            “Employment to population ratio is at a 30 year low of 59%.”

            Yes, it will continue to increase, but the future is no excuse for the 59% employment to population ratio today. Only 13% of Americans are over 65 today, and some of them are still working. What is driving the employment to population ratio today is chronic unemployment, which is not counted as unemployment.

            That is the whole picture today.

        • Submitted by jason myron on 11/07/2014 - 01:52 pm.

          Where did you get your numbers?

          The Chicago Fed estimates that boomer retirements make up 1/4 and Barclay’s estimates that they could account for 1/2. Plus, the start of the decline predates both the Bush and Obama presidencies. But that doesn’t stop the “blame Obama crowd”, of course.

          • Submitted by Steve Rose on 11/07/2014 - 04:03 pm.

            Try the Census Bureau

            This source provides the 13% over 65 number:


            The 2013 number from the U.S. Census Bureau is 14.1%


            The employment population ratio hit a 30 year low late-2009/early-2010, and has been nearly flat-lined ever since.


            I am not blaming the President; I am offering some perspective to balance your claims of Obama economy heroics. Look around; you might be the last passenger on that wagon.

          • Submitted by Ilya Gutman on 11/07/2014 - 06:41 pm.

            blame and praise

            These numbers are irrelevant to the fact that the unemployment numbers are deceiving and there is really no improvement. No one is blaming Obama for that – Presidents have little control over economy – but please do not praise him for that either.

            • Submitted by Matt Haas on 11/07/2014 - 09:10 pm.

              My my my

              The spin starts early. To those not caught up, here we have two conservatives, who prior to last Tuesday, had absolutely and utterly no issue with blaming the government generally, and the President specifically for the woes of the unemployed. Hmm, what’s changed in the last week that might make them a bit leery of blaming the government for the woes of the unemployed? Boy its gonna be fun to watch the GOP try to convince us that there’s simply NOTHING they can do to improve unemployment, then, when that fails, that umemployment really doesn’t matter anyway. Of course they’ll be a few “hey look over there” culture war votes, and the general Neanderthal public utterances, so it should prove quite a show.

              • Submitted by Steve Rose on 11/08/2014 - 09:35 am.

                Back that up

                Again, as typical, I provide some balance to those touting the economical miracles of President Obama. Jason finds a placard on Facebook, shares it with us all as proof positive, but yet provides no source.

                So, go ahead and cite sources for your claims regarding what I have said.

              • Submitted by Ilya Gutman on 11/08/2014 - 11:26 am.


                Mr. Haas, please check everything I have written here – I have never blamed this president for bad economy (and it seems that Mr. Rose explicitly said that he was not blaming the president either). As I said, I just don’t want him to be praised for some (minimal) improvements either. So who is spinning here?

                I actually never base my vote on economy since, as I said, the government may do little to influence it. Obviously, zero taxes will not allow government to function and taking 100 percent of people’s earning will kill all people so the right tax amount is somewhere in between. But it depends on time and location and so many other things that I do not think it is possible to figure it out scientifically so I prefer to stay out of that in most cases.

              • Submitted by Steve Rose on 11/09/2014 - 06:37 am.


                Go ahead; provide a quote a comment of mine to back your claim.

                Again, as typically, I have provided a fact that balances a claim that the President has performed heroically with respect to the economy. These grand claims are usually taken verbatim from a colorful Facebook placard.

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