Thursday, November 04, 2010

Not seeing the forest for the trees, George Will writes that Tuesday's vote was a "recoil against liberalism".

Well, it was... but only in an indirect way.

The voters whose votes mattered the most on Tuesday were those who comprise the mushy middle, voters who are neither hard-core liberal or conservative and thus are not particular wedded to a particular political philosophy.

They also don't pay as much attention to - or care about - the specifics of what goes on in Washington as do the political junkies. To them, issues such as whether one party is using procedural tricks to move legislation, whether bills are posted online, the number of earmarks and so on are just noise in the background.

What they care about - and what George Will and the rest of the inside Beltway folks miss - is whether they feel their life is getting better. Do they feel their job is secure? Do they feel they have enough money to pay for the things they want? Do they feel safe from attack, both from terrorists and the common criminal? Do they think their house is appreciating in value?

When these folks feel secure, they reward the party in power... regardless of what that party has done and regardless of the way they went about doing it.

And when they don't feel safe and secure, as is the case today, they punish the party in power... and not because of what that party did or didn't do. They didn't vote against the Democrats because of the size of the stimulus... or because the Democrats played dirty to pass Obamacare... or because the Democrats bailed out General Motors and the Wall Street banks... at least they didn't so directly. They voted against the Democrats because things aren't going the way the mushy middle wants.

Put another way, these voters don't care about the specifics, they're very much the epitome of a bottom line oriented voter. If you're in charge and things are going okay, I'll vote to keep you in office. And if you're in charge and things aren't going so well, then they don't really care about what it is that you've done or not done, they'll vote in favor of someone else.

Of course, the reason the economy isn't doing well is because the Democrats did what they did. It is because the Democrats pushed through their stimulus and Obamacare and their anti-business regulations and threats to raise taxes that the economy hasn't fully recovered. So, as I said, in a way, George Will is right... but he also missed the real picture.