Sunday, October 24, 2010

Carnival of Divided Government
Duo et quadrâgintâ (XLII)
Midterm Meme Momentum Edition

Blog mentions of "Divided Government" have tripled in last six months according to BlogPulse

Welcome to the 42nd edition of the Carnival of Divided Government - The Special Election Countdown Divided Government Midterm Meme Momentum Edition.

Since posting the carnival weekly in the run up to the election, we changed the format a bit to make pulling this together a bit easier. The focus this week is on quantity and not too much commentary. The idea is to see how many quality Divided Government references we can list since last weeks carnival. Turns out - quite a few.

Carnival of Divided Government

As explained in earlier editions, we have adopted Latin ordinal numeration to impart a patina of gravitas reflecting the historical importance of the series. In this the Carnival of Divided Government Duo et quadrâgintâ (XLII), as in all of the CODGOV editions, we select volunteers and draftees from the blogosphere and main stream media writing on the single topic of government divided between the major parties (leaving it to the reader to sort out volunteers from draftees). Consistent with this topic, the primary criteria for acceptance in the carnival is to explicitly use the words and/or concept of "divided government" in submitted posts. A criteria that, to our endless befuddlement, is ignored by many of the bloggers submitting posts, which sadly results in The Dividist reluctantly ignoring their fine submissions. Among the on-topic posts, essays and articles we choose our favorites for commentary and consideration. We hope you enjoy these selections.

Peter Baker, writing in the New York Times, suggests "In Losing the Midterms, There May Be Winning":
"Divided government, of course, is rarely pretty, and a Republican victory would mean the end of some of Mr. Obama’s most expansive ideas, at least for now. If Democrats were frustrated pushing through their initiatives the last two years, they might soon look back at 2009 and 2010 as the glory days. "
Bill Berkowitz of The Smirking Chimp reports on the sentiment among Jewish voters and quoting Larry Sabato in "Larger Than Usual Block of Jewish Voters Appear Dissatisfied":
"Commenting on the congressional elections, Sabato said that "If 33 percent of Jewish voters say they prefer a GOP Congress, that tells me that the argument for 'checks and balances' has taken hold broadly, and that we are likely headed for divided government in some form."
Charles Gasparino is pumping his new book and is quoted in "Wall Street Will Back Obama in 2012":
"Wall Street’s support of Republican candidates in this year’s elections simply reflects the fact that it wants to be on the winning side, Gasparino, author of the new book “Bought and Paid For: The Unholy Alliance Between Barack Obama and Wall Street,” tells Newsmax.TV. It’s a hedge,” he says. “Wall Street likes divided government, but the question is will they support this president, and I believe in 2012 they will. They are telling me that they are willing to support him as much as they support a Republican."
The Rattlesnake blogging at Electoral Vote Predictor was featured in this Carnival last week, and secured a repeat appearance by subsequently linking back to this blog with "Some Statistical Analysis of Parties in Power":
"There is certainly some anecdotal evidence to support the notion that divided government works. The time period from 1995-2000 perhaps best illustrates this trend, as that period was typified by strong economic growth and a balanced federal budget while Congress was mostly controlled by the GOP and President Clinton was in office. Many would also site the period from 1983-1989, when Democrats controlled Congress and Ronald Reagan was in office, which saw a similar strong economic uptrend (although without the balanced budget, in that case.) All of this got me to there a statistical correlation between divided government and economic growth. "
I'll have more to say on the Snake's analysis later, probably as a comment on his post,. In a nutshell I don't trust any statistical analysis attempting to link broad economic performance or stock market indexes to parties in power (for many of the reasons that Mr. Snake lists as caveats). I am more interested in analysis looking for correlation in things that are directly under federal government policy purview, like spending, deficits and taxes.

Lambert at Corrente is looking forward to the midterms with fear and loathing, but finds a sliver of hope in "The mid-terms...":
"Personally, the minor hope that I have is that Rs win either the Senate or the House, and not both. Given the givens, a divided government that has ceased to function is the best option available, since the current government has done nothing but make matters worse. And the major hope that I have is that third parties, like the Greens, and NOTA do very well."
Alex Eichler wonders aloud at the Atlantic Wire - "Would Losing Congress Really Be So Bad for Obama?"
"Republicans are expected to clean up in the midterm elections, regaining control of the House and picking up a number of seats in the Senate as well. For obvious reasons, it's generally believed that this would be a bad thing for President Obama as he embarks on the latter half of his term. But some analysts think the challenges facing Obama wouldn't necessarily be so great--and that if he's canny about it, he could even turn a divided government to his advantage."
Bernie McSherry opines in the Great Speculation column at Forbes, suggesting we think of "Nancy Pelosi as Joe Frazier, John Boehner as George Foreman":
"The markets seem comforted that the new political regime may consist of a divided government that forces both parties towards the center. If the expected result comes to pass, regime uncertainty may be reduced as radical policy options are taken off the table. Traders appear to be anticipating that the shift towards a more certain future will help the economy get off the ropes and back into fighting trim.”
I quoted Adam Shell writing in USA Today and at in an expanded "Investors Still Love Divided Government" cross-post at Donklephant. He reinforces my earlier post by reporting that "Voters may sway stocks with possible policy changes.":
"Historically, divided government has been bullish for stocks because it results in what Wall Street refers to as legislative gridlock. And in the words of many Wall Street analysts and economists: Gridlock is good. An analysis of stock returns based on who controls Congress and the White House found that the Standard & Poor's 500-stock index has fared better when government is divided. The biggest gains, an average return of 14.6%, have been posted when a Democratic president has been coupled with a Republican-led Congress, Strategas Research Partners says."
Dale Williams of Free West Radio quotes Tunku Varadarajan (as I did) and comes to a slightly different conclusion explaining "My First Instinct as a Libertarian is an All-Consuming Contempt for Politics":
" I can see cheering for divided government on Election Night. I can see hoping for a GOP Congress to counter Obama’s historic expansion of the federal government. But there’s no reason a libertarian’s “first instinct” should be to root for Republicans (or Democrats, for that matter). And it’s certainly not obvious enough to merit an of course."
Joe Gandelman, founder and editor of The Moderate Voice looks into Larry Sabato's crystal ball and places his bets saying: "Republicans Are More Enthused":
"The most likely bet: The University of Virginia’s Larry Sabato’s contention that the overall numbers have not changed and that the GOP will get the House and possibly just miss the Senate. Possibly it can pick up the Senate too. Forget Dick Morris or other ideology based analysts and pundits. Follow Sabato HERE. He now sees the GOP as picking up House seats (they take the House) and 8-9 Senate seats (they don’t get the Senate). And Americans will get the divided government they often seem to prefer.

Least likely bet: Various theories that due to a painstaking ground game, the Democrats will somehow hold onto the House."

Doyle McManus of the LA Times is looking for a bellwether on election night, and determines it is to be found in "The Pennsylvania Story":
"Pennsylvania is a big swing state; it has voted for Democratic presidential candidates five times in a row, but often by small margins. Arlen Specter, the sitting senator whose seat is being fought for, left the Republican Party after Toomey mounted a conservative challenge, and then lost the Democratic primary to the more liberal Sestak. Many of the state's white, working-class voters wanted Hillary Rodham Clinton for president; they got Obama instead. Pennsylvania is increasingly post-industrial, but it's still been battered by the recession, with unemployment at about 9%...

According to the most recent polls, the race is too close to call. If I had to guess, I'd give Toomey the edge, based on the enthusiasm gap between the two parties' voters, but that's only a hunch. The outcome will depend, of course, on how many voters each side can turn out. Those numbers will tell us something about whether the Republicans' expected wave is a tsunami or merely a ripple — and whether the GOP will have a mandate for big change or merely benefit from Americans' disappointment with Obama and their long-held preference for divided government."
Chuck Todd weighs in on an MSNBC First Read compilation on the subject of "Checks and Balances":
"If Republicans take back control of the House and maybe even the Senate, it will return American politics to its standard state: divided government. In the 21 Congresses after LBJ’s presidency, one party has held full control of the House, Senate, and White House just six times. Also since LBJ, the longest one party has controlled those three bodies is just for four years (1977-1981 and 2003-2007). And get this: Every time a party has had control of the three bodies, it ended in a wave election for the other side (1980, 1994, and 2006). So is what we’re witnessing just American politics returning to its natural state? Indeed, our NBC/WSJ poll in late August found that 62% of respondents said it was better if different parties control the White House and Congress, while only 29% preferred one party in command of both."
Kevin Bogardus reports on an FTI Consulting Poll for The Hill, finding that while "Backing GOP, business leaders stop short of repeal of Dems' agenda":
"...while not pushing for repeal of either the healthcare or financial services bill, they say the legislation is having a negative affect on their business interests. Sixty-nine percent say healthcare reform is hurting their business while 65 percent say financial services reform is doing the same. “

Right now, businesses are choosing the status quo over calls for change. They believe the most favorable environment for them would be to slow down change, and they see that as more likely with divided government,” said Edward Reilly, CEO Americas of FD, the communications arm of FTI. That is backed up by other findings of the poll. For example, 63 percent say their business interests would improve if Republicans were able to gain control of at least the House, leading to a “divided government” scenario."
Hat tip to Ricketson who pointed us to this late addition in the comments. I found this to be a particularly interesting poll, as it reinforces Charles Gasparino's assertion (above) that Wall Street will support the GOP this cycle to get Divided Government, and will support Barack Obama's re-election in 2012 to keep it.

With that, we'll conclude this edition.

As noted before, we will continue publishing the Carnival weekly as we approach the election. Look for the next edition of The Carnival of Divided Government Tres et Quadrâgintâ (XLIII) - Special Scary Election Halloween Edition - next Sunday 10-31-10. Submit your blog article at carnival of divided government using our carnival submission form.

UPDATE: Added links, corrected typos

Divided and Balanced.™
Now that is fair.

Carnival of Divided Government


Ricketson said...

Of possible interest:

"Backing GOP, business leaders stop short of repeal of Dems’ agenda"

mw said...

Thanks Alan,
Good link - I missed that one and added it to the post. I found it particularly interesting that the poll finding of business leader attitudes this election mirror Tully's assertion about what the Tea Party really wants - LESS.