Shellacking #2

In his opening press-conference remarks on 05 November, President Obama implied that the blame for the second consecutive midterm shellacking he and his party had just suffered accrued to two-thirds of the citizens not voting. He didn't mention the midterm shellacking of 2010, when 40.9% of the citizens DID vote, giving republicans the House. Now, virtually the entire country is made up of red states on all levels of government including governorships and state legislatures.

Since 1982, the number of voters in midterm elections has hovered just over or below the 40% line, so the 33.9% in 2014 was way off the mark. Two-thirds washed their hands of the entire process this year, accenting the fact that citizens—if not actually losing hope—have decided that the government is so broken that nothing can repair it until a new administration takes over in 2017.

Even the pollsters (or at least most) were completely caught off-guard. For instance, in Kentucky Senator McConnell won by 15 percentage points, a 200% greater margin than prophesied by the Bluegrass Poll, financed by the Lexington Herald-Leader, Louisville Courier-Journal and TV stations WKYT (Lexington) and WHAS (Louisville), which had finally awarded him a face-saving (or so thought) five-point advantage. The Mellman polls hired by Grimes were so screwed-up that they defied consideration, much less belief.

The elections proved the president to be partly right, whether he understood or not, that his base—principally blacks, ethnics and women—took a powder. These folks stayed home. In Obama's keystone electoral states, California and New York, only 21.4% and 26.2%, respectively, of citizens bothered. In D.C., more than 50% black, the response was 25.9%. By contrast, in Kentucky there was a 44% turnout bettering that of 2010 at 42.4%. The poll probably closest to actual facts was the NBCNews/Marist outfit on 02 November that gave McConnell a nine-point edge, off by only 67%.

When asking a question of the president, a journalist invites a five-minute lecture, most of it plowing old ground—the great CHANGE he has wrought. I listened to maybe an hour and gave it up. The man loves to hear himself talk. He made it clear, however, that he intends to govern by fiat, aka executive order, until his term is over, starting with new immigration-rule outrages to be signed before the end of the year. He blamed Speaker Boehner for forcing him to do this...sort of in the vein of blaming George Bush for every allegedly bad thing Obama has misunderstood for six years.

It's this in-your-face-Constitution/Congress attitude Obama constantly advances that has turned off voters, who still hold the Constitution as virtually sacred. It showed up just days after his inauguration when Obama and Senator Durbin decided to deny the lawful replacement appointed by the Illinois governor to take Obama's vacated Senate seat, violating the Illinois Constitution. Majority Leader Reid, perpetual lapdog, even locked Roland Burriss out of the Senate. Burriss took the seat, however, with the courts making the three conspirators eat a ton of crow, but the die was cast.

Obama has publicly announced which laws his Justice Department would and would not enforce. He shredded by executive order the Affordable Care Act, changing such things as the time when specific components would kick in. The employer mandate has not been enforced yet and has even been further delayed by executive order, all of this in direct violation of the law Congress (actually just the Senate) passed.

On the local level, Obama and Attorney General Holder, without knowing the facts, intervened in both the Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown cases, and Holder even filed civil charges in the latter case...without a Grand Jury decision in the matter. The word is that Officer Wilson will not be charged as a result of the facts actually being presented to the panel. This ham-handedness trivializes the office but, worse, is an attempt to usurp the duties of other officials and institutions, such as the DOJ suing Arizona vis-a-vis the state's attempt to enforce immigration laws.

The midterms were an obvious repudiation of Obama, who himself stated that they would form a referendum on his policies. The worn-out cliches like “war on women” and “war on blacks” have also been not just neutralized but buried. Voters don't fall for those inanities anymore. The biggest loser was Hillary Clinton—come 2016—however, since she is even farther out of the mainstream than Obama.

And so it goes.
Jim Clark