Sunday, November 04, 2012

Obama's been a terrible President. I voted for him anyway. Here's why.

 The Dividist casts his not so secret ballot.

Last week the Dividist walked into City Hall and cast an early ballot. He voted to reelect Barack Obama.  In this post we will strive to emulate Nate Silver and offer this simple explanation:

The Dividist voted for Barack Obama to ensure the federal government remains divided between the two major parties with each controlling at least one branch of the government.

And now, the somewhat more complicated explanation:

As noted in the title, the Dividist is of the opinion that Barack Obama has been a bad President. Not a disaster. Just bad. However, there are worse things than a bad President leading a divided government. One of those worse things is a One Party Rule Democratic government, as we saw in the first two years of Obama's term. Obama has become a better President since the GOP took control of the House of  Representatives. Perhaps he will continue to improve with four more years of  working with a Republican Congress. Whether he does or does not, another worse thing is One Party Rule Republican government, as we saw in '02-'06 under GWB.

Since there is zero chance of the Democrats retaking the House this cycle, there is zero chance of One Party Democrat Rule being restored this cycle.  If Obama wins, the Republicans need a net gain of four seats to retake the Senate majority. Current polling and conventional wisdom  deem this unlikely.  The most likely scenario is that the Republicans will pick up net 2 seats plus/minus 1 and the Senate will remain in Democratic control 51-49.   This probable outcome is the status quo,  with congressional control divided, as it is now.   This implies that the presidential election outcome is moot as far as the divided government voting heuristic is concerned.  From the dividist perspective, this could be considered a presidential  "free agent" election.  True, but....

If Romney wins  the White House, the Republicans would only need a net gain of 3 seats in the Senate for a 50-50 tie and control of the Senate with Ryan as tie-breaker. This is not looking likely, but is a realistic scenario. With polls all over the map,  it is not worth the risk. In addition, the 2014 election will feature several Democratic seats that benefited from the Obama wave election of 2008, raising the specter of  One Party Republican Rule restored in 2014 if Romney wins now.  We just cannot count on Republicans to continue to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory by nominating clown candidates for the Senate and giving Democrats control of the Senate by default. Independents who do not want to see One Party Republican Rule restored over the next four years should vote for Obama to avoid that outcome. Or - if voting for Obama  is just too unpalatable - a spoiler vote for Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson also fulfills the objective of voting for divided government in this cycle.

I voted for Obama in 2012  in the hope of avoiding the disaster of One Party Republican Rule, just like I voted for McCain in 2008 hoping to avoid the disaster of One Party Democratic Rule. Neither party can be trusted with all the keys to the castle. Never. Not ever under any circumstances. No matter how much you want to "get things done".  If our elected leaders cannot agree to a compromise that satisfies (or dissatisfies) both parties equitably, we are simply better off with less "getting done".

Perhaps things will turn out better this cycle.We can only...

Adduedum:  If you are curious about the Dividist's down ballot votes, here you go: For President - Democrat Barack Obama. For Senator - Democrat Diane Feinstein. Everybody likes Dianne.  For Representative Libertarian Republican John Dennis over the notoriously poor prognistacator Democrat Nancy Pelosi - who will not get her speaker job back and for that we can all be grateful. The Dividist also voted for the the Republican State Senate and Assembly challengers tilting at our One Party Democratic California State Government Rule.It doesn't matter. This State is financially f****ed.  But it made me feel better.

Postscript:: The reason I voted early is I recently landed in Ethiopia with Mrs. Dividist for an extended tour. This post was written in an Addis Ababa hotel. We start driving into some of the more remote regions of the country tomorrow, so not sure if/when I will have access to the intertubes. This may or may not be my last post until I return late November.  Tully - if you are still interested - this may be a good time for your annual post on this blog. Also I will be sending out some additional invites for bloggers. If  any reading this are interested in blogging here, let me know in the comments or via e-mail at mw AT dividist DOT com.

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