For someone who only writes about politics, Mark Halperin knows stunningly little about the forces that drive any given election. For example, watch as he tries to explain President Obama's political woes without mentioning the economy, unemployment, or historical patterns:
With the exception of core Obama Administration loyalists, most politically engaged elites have reached the same conclusions: the White House is in over its head, isolated, insular, arrogant and clueless about how to get along with or persuade members of Congress, the media, the business community or working-class voters. This view is held by Fox News pundits, executives and anchors at the major old-media outlets, reporters who cover the White House, Democratic and Republican congressional leaders and governors, many Democratic business people and lawyers who raised big money for Obama in 2008, and even some members of the Administration just beyond the inner circle.
Really? The White House that moved guaranteed health care through Congress is "clueless" about how to persuade members of Congress? I guess that's true, but only if we can agree that Gen. Patton didn't really know how to wage a war and that Martin Scorsese is merely an OK filmmaker.
Sarcasm aside, if arrogance and insularity are the defining features of a losing White House, then they must be true of nearly every presidential administration in the postwar era; since World War II, the president's party has lost an average of 24 seats in midterm elections, with two exceptions in 16 elections. Indeed, the second of those exceptions was George W. Bush, who if anything, had arrogance and insularity in spades.
You don't actually need to spend your time recording the thoughts of party elites to know what will happen in a midterm year like this one. Here's why: If the president's party has a large majority, they'll lose seats. If the president is polling under 50 percent, they'll lose more seats. If the economy is poor, they'll lose even more seats. Hell, if they do absolutely nothing but the bare minimum to succeed, they will still lose seats. The simple fact is that you don't actually need to know anything about the personality of a given White House to know how the president's party will fare in midterm elections; it will lose, and the only question is "by what margin?"
-- Jamelle Bouie
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