Monday, November 03, 2014

Wishful Thinking

The article on the CNN website is entitled: "Vice President Joe Biden: Democrats Will Keep Senate." On Politico, whose article is based on the CNN story, it is "Joe Biden: 'Ready to Compromise.'

Joe: no and no. Biden, oddly, was referring video, below) to the congressional GOP being ready to compromise if, as he knows is quite likely, the Party of the 1% wins control of the House of Representatives from the elections tomorrow.

Of course, Biden needed to predict Democratic victory Tuesday, if only because had he not, his reluctance would have been the story and would have at least slightly depressed Democratic turnout.

The latest calculation from Nate Silver's site, Five Thirty Eight, gives the Democratic Party a 26% chance of holding on to the majority in the Senate. Estimates from other sources vary but it's likely everyone believes the Republicans will take over the upper chamber.

Besides what he needs to say now about his party's chances tomorrow, Biden maintained

And -- quite frankly -- going into 2016, the Republicans have to make a decision whether they're in control or not in control. Are they gonna begin to allow things to happen? Or are they gonna continue to be obstructionists? And I think they're gonna choose to get things done.

The odds on that happening are slim and none, and slim is headed out of town. Last week, Steve M. explained

Thanks to Republicans, Congress accomplished nothing in the past two years. Americans hate Congress for that, and congressional Republicans have staggeringly low approval ratings as a result. A year ago, Republicans shut down the government, and Americans really hated that.

And guess what? None of that mattered to Republicans. They're poised to have a great election.

The shutdown was in October 2013, and Americans forgot all about it by Thanksgiving, if not sooner. Everyone who thought it was going to affect this year's midterms was an idiot. Democrats never hammer away at Republicans the way Republicans hammer away at Democrats, and the mainstream press routinely blames both sides, so Republicans were never going to be held accountable for the shutdown. And most voters blame the president and his party for everything that's wrong with government, especially when the president is a Democrat and the right-wing media sets the tone of most debates, so voters aren't blaming Republicans for the do-nothing nature of the Congress, either.

Why should Republicans be worried if nothing is accomplished in the next two years? Hell, why should they even try to avoid another shutdown? They've proved that they suffer no long-term consequences for this sort of behavior. In the next two years, all they have to do is continue to let everything drift. Voters will stay angry, and Republicans will blame Obama -- with a little blame on the side for Hillary in foreign policy matters. Where's the peril? There is none -- Republicans are the Teflon party, at least as long as Democrats have the presidency.

There is a chance that a recalcitrant House and Senate, both controlled by Republicans, would harm prospects of a GOP presidential victory in 2016. The Democratic nominee, presumably (but there being a God, not necessarily) Hillary Clinton, would be able to run against a do-nothing, or extremist, Congress.    But the vast majority of Republicans in Congress know they're not running for President and that certainly would be the case for Speaker Boehner and Mitch McConnell, who would be transformed from Minority Leader into Majority Leader.  Each Republican in the House and each in the Senate wants the GOP to retain the majority in that member's chamber so that he/she will belong to the majority party. The presidency is, at best, secondary.

The answer to the traditional question "what are the three factors which determine the value of a property? is "location, location, location."  The answer to the question "what are the three institutions which concern a Senate Majority Leader?" is "the Senate, Senate, Senate."  The GOP will have gotten control of it by saying "no, no, no" and they're not going to change it to "we'll consider it."

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