I'm not a Jeff Greenfield fan, for reasons best explained by this story
over on CTKA. And I'm not entirely convinced by Greenfield's argument in the Daily Beast that the Democrats are going to lose huge in the 1998 midterms. But this bit
is worth quoting...
So how did the Democrats actually pick up five House seats in 1998, and not lose a single Senate seat, at a time when the incumbent Democratic President had been pummeled all year by accusations of sexual misconduct and possible perjury? On August 17, just a few weeks before the fall campaign iced off, he had to go on national TV to offer a mea kinda sorta culpa.
Yes, part of the explanation was Republican overreach, which, combined with Independent Counsel Ken Starr's imitation of Inspector Javert, brought Clinton’s supporters to the polls. The far more powerful explanation was the now-famous phrase pinned on James Carville’s campaign office wall: it’s the economy, stupid.
Describing the economy in 1998 makes it hard to believe we’re looking at the same country: unemployment at 4.5 percent. Inflation at 1.5 percent. Real GDP growth over 4 percent. The projected budget surplus was so high that a serious economic debate was underway that asked: should we wipe out the national debt, or do we need a bit of debt to keep credit flowing?
As for the national mood? In the fall of 1998, the NBC-Wall Street Journal poll reported that, by a 55-31 margin, the public believed things were pretty much headed in the right direction. All of which meant that while the public may not have trusted Clinton with their young daughters, they did trust him to mind the store.
It's easy to forget how much better things were in the days before the neocons and the libertarians screwed everything up.
Personally, I think that Republican overreach had a lot
to do with Democratic gains in 1998. After years of propaganda designed to convey the impression that Clinton was behind every conceivable type of conspiratorial evil (including drug-running and murder), the Starr inquisition revealed that none of these claims had a factual basis. All we got was an inane sex scandal -- hardly grounds for impeachment. The voters simply decided not to reward the GOP's slimeball tactics. We didn't want to see any smirks on the faces of those lying bastards.
A similar factor may play a role in 2014. Few of us love Obama, but the GOP's anti-Obama propaganda is so over-the-top as to be repellent. People are angry with Obama, but not with the pseudo-Obama who exists in the Republican imagination.
Does anyone really care
about Boehner's lawsuit? (Aside from Democratic fundraisers, that is. The lawsuit threat has loosened the money spigots.) I haven't written about Boehner's gimmick previously because the whole thing is Dullsville compared to events overseas -- Ukraine, Israel, Syria, Iraq and beyond. That
stuff is interesting. When I try to read an article about what Boehner is up to, I start yawning before paragraph three.
And so do you, in all likelihood. Be honest: Can you even recall offhand what this effing suit is supposed to be about? Sometimes we hear that it has something to do with the ACA and the employer mandate. Other times we hear that it is a reaction to executive overreach. This thing feels like Whitewater all over again: I can't keep the story straight even when I try to follow it.
conveys the impression that the lawsuit exists for its own sake: After deciding that there should be a lawsuit, the Republicans went scurrying around for a plausible cause. Of course, the only reasonable-sounding cause they've come up with -- executive overreach -- was also a notorious feature of the Dubya years, when Republicans argued that the President was a quasi-supernatural being who stood above and beyond such petty concerns as the separation of powers. (That was Cheney's defense of Reagan's sale of arms to the Iranians: The President-God may do as he pleases.)
There has also been talk of impeaching Obama. Boehner probably went the lawsuit route to quell the voices in his party demanding impeachment. On what grounds? God only knows. Policy disagreement is not a criminal offense and not a reason for removal from office. The Republicans haven't fixed on a single cause or rallying point; they simply want to punish Obama for the crime of Presidentin' While Democrat.
Pelosi on impeachment.
If you really want to be infuriated, check this out
Republicans who think they have a legitimate beef against Obama for abuse of power probably weren’t in the Congress in 2007 when Pelosi became speaker in a Democratic-controlled House elected on a wave of anti-war fervor. Liberal Democrats wanted to impeach President George W. Bush, but Pelosi took it off the table. Why didn’t she pursue impeachment? “I didn’t think it was right for the American people,” she said. “We were starting our new majority, and the first thing we do is impeach President Bush?” She didn’t think so, saying, “History makes its assessment and verdict.”
I think that verdict has gone against Bush. And Pelosi. Starting a war over a lie is
an impeachable offense. Of course, Pelosi had to face the not-inconsiderable fact that all the polls indicated that the public did not favor impeachment.
If only we had an opposition party willing to make a case against Obama based on something real
. Drones, for example. If Boehner wanted to sue or impeach Obama over his reliance on drones, he'd have my blessing. But the Republicans won't talk about that topic because they want a Republican president to be able to use the same weapons with giddy abandon.
This nation's partisan bickering would be a lot more tolerable if we bickered over something real