Too many pundits and pols are trying to tell us how tough it’s going to be for Senate Democrats in two years. They’ll have to run with Barack Obama hugging the line next to them on the ballot. And we’ll be able to forecast the results by measuring how toxic their relation with Barry was.
In Jimmy’s time, when you added the inflation rate to the percentage of Americans who were unemployed, the sum was what Carter called the “misery index.” Carter so pursued disaster so conscientiously that by the time he was tossed out, the misery index was over twenty. Reagan cut it in half. It shrank to single digits under W, but Barry has boosted it back over 10.
Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke has decided to slip a new “stimulus” package past Congress — it’s called “quantitative easing” — which will drive inflation up by pumping more fiat currency into the system. So we can look forward to Jimmy’s misery index rising inexorably at least as long as Barry is in the White House.
But Jimmy’s misery index is not an adequate measure of American misery brought about by Obama’s economic and foreign policy disasters. How can we derive a 21st century measure of just how much worse — and how much weaker — we are?
It appears that Obama is literally driving us crazy. According to the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 20% of Americans had some form of mental illness in 2009. Which they attribute to unemployment, not the accumulated effect of listening to Barry’s teleprompter speak almost daily.
The craziness will precipitously increase because — only days before the Thanksgiving holiday — the Touching Sensitive Areas gangsters are hanging a sign at all airports that reads, “Abandon all Hope, Ye who Enter Here.” The choices are X-ray scanning, grope-a-dope frisking by its goons, or fines of up to $10,000. Whatever number of Americans were driven nuts in 2009 is going to double in 2011.
But those numbers are subjective. We can’t trust Obama’s index to shrinks or the TSA. We need an objective measurement. Maybe taken from a different viewpoint.
How about looking at it from the standpoint of the Democratic senators who will have to face the voters in 2012? This unfortunate group — including Missouri’s Claire McCaskill, Virginia’s Jim Webb, Florida’s Bill Nelson, Nebraska’s Ben Nelson, and Montana’s Jon Tester — are going to have to run with Obama’s name next to theirs on the ballot. How can we create an objective measurement of their political misery?
It’s impossible to measure it by what they say behind closed doors, even though remarks such as Nelson’s in last week’s meeting of Senate Dems often leak out. According to a Politico report, “Nelson told colleagues Obama’s unpopularity has become a serious liability for Democrats in his state and blamed the president for creating a toxic political environment for Democrats nationwide.” But leaks are an unreliable basis for an objective measurement.
There is an alternative, one which can provide a good scale against which we can measure the next two years. Call it the Obama Toxicity Index.
The OTI is measured by which of Obama’s worst initiatives they have already voted for (Obamacare, the “stimulus”, etc.) and by how many more votes like that those senators make.
We already know that Obama isn’t going to follow Clinton’s example and move toward the center. He’s insisting on ratifying the awful “START” arms control agreement with Russia and repealing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” both in the lame duck session. And Obama is also unwilling to compromise on maintaining the Bush-era tax cuts.
No wonder that Webb and North Dakota’s Kent Conrad are rumored to be considering retirement. But McCaskilll — having called the TSA’s intrusive friskings “love pats” — isn’t retiring. She’s apparently aiming at political suicide.
Both Nelsons, McCaskill and Tester are going to have a very hard time explaining away their votes for Obamacare. The Nelsons — Ben, recipient of the infamous “Cornhusker Kickback” – and Bill, whose electorate is disproportionately older, will have a lot of trouble explaining that.
And how will they vote on a House bill to repeal Obamacare? Will they help Harry Reid to block it from coming to a vote? That will be one big data point that the Obama Toxicity Index will measure.
And they’ll all have to face up to the votes they cast from now on.
Harry Reid insists on raising the Defense Authorization bill during the lame duck session, despite the fact that it contains both an entirely ridiculous illegal immigration amnesty provision and the repeal of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law that prevents homosexuals from serving openly in the military. He may try to jam ratification of START through as well.
So, Sen. Tester, a year from now as you launch your reelection campaign at local picnics how much will you enjoy answering questions about why you believe that the DADT repeal is just great when the Commandant of the Marine Corps, Gen. James Amos — as well as his immediate predecessor – said it’s a terrible idea? Do you think you’re a better judge of the effect on the Corps of repealing DADT than the Commandant?
Senator Webb, you’re a highly decorated combat Marine, a hero awarded the Navy Cross. The House Armed Services Committee may hold hearings about the pressure put on military offices to change their views on DADT? Last September, Lt. Gen. Thomas Bostick, Army Deputy Chief of Staff in charge of personnel, called those who oppose repeal of DADT “bigots.” Do you agree? How will you answer questions from veterans groups and the Knights of Columbus about the issue?
The biggest element of the Obama Toxicity Index is reflected in the Republicans’ electoral mandate for the 112th Congress: to reduce the size and spending of the federal government. How many times will the Senate Dems follow Obama off the deficit spending cliff, voting to increase the debt limit, voting to increase spending, and refusing to reduce spending by the hundreds of billions of dollars that can and must be saved?
Each time these Democrats vote for more spending, each time they vote against cuts, they will be voting for Obama and against their political futures.
Just keep it up, ladies and gentlemen. What happened to House Democrats this year is waiting for you just 24 months from now.
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