Election 2014

Midterms' Real Winner? Independent Voters and (Maybe) Fiscal Sanity


In a new column at Time.com, I take the measure of the Republican wave in the midterms. While there's no question that the GOP won huge, that's not the same thing as saying voters affirmatively embraced the Republican agenda (indeed, it is far from clear that there is a clearly drawn agenda).

Yet Republicans mistake the meaning of the midterms at their own peril. These elections were a particularly frank repudiation of Barack Obama and the past six years of failed stimulus, disastrous foreign policy, and rotten economic news. Even the president's historic health-care reform remains a negative with voters. But if the GOP thinks it has a mandate to return to the equally unpopular bailout economics and social conservatism of the George W. Bush years, it too will be sent packing as early as the next election.

A few days before the midterms, just 33% of respondents in an ABC News/Washington Post poll gave the GOP a "favorable" rating, which was 6 percentage points lower than what they gave the Democrats. A whopping 60% said that President Obama had no "clear plan for governing," but even more (66%) said the Republicans lacked one.

My biggest concern is that between a declared interest in hiking defense spending and "protecting" and "preserving" budget-busting entitlements such as Medicare and Social Security and a pent-up desire to reward favored constituents, the GOP is going to crank up spending.

Read the whole thing here.

Watch "2014 Midterms: The Very Best (and Worst!) Outcomes"

NEXT: Reason's Damon Root on the Battle for the Supreme Court

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  1. That photo of McConnell makes me want to both laugh out loud and cringe in anxiety.

    1. He looks like a character out of a Terry Jones movie.

    2. Now that’s the look of a guy who just shit his pants.

    3. I say he looks like a startled Mr. Furley.

    4. I saw it in the news on Tuesday and thought Steve Forbes was back and had gained some weight.

    5. He looks like he’s getting ready to suck a very small cock. The only question is whose?

    6. Senator from Innsmouth.

  2. Article saying fiscal sanity may prevail immediately follows the article saying defense spending will be ramped up immediately.

    Veeeddyy niiiiice. /Borat

    1. Article saying fiscal sanity may prevail immediately


      My biggest concern is that between a declared interest in hiking defense spending and “protecting” and “preserving” budget-busting entitlements such as Medicare and Social Security and a pent-up desire to reward favored constituents, the GOP is going to crank up spending.

  3. the GOP is going to crank up spending.

    Preposterous nonsense. They’re fiscally restrained small government conservatives.

  4. my co-worker’s aunt makes $75 /hour on the computer . She has been unemployed for six months but last month her income was $17532 just working on the computer for a few hours. check out here …

    ????? http://www.netjob70.com

  5. Your lunch time derp: Kim Jong Un tours a typical Nork supermarket


    1. Their hats are really big.

      1. Its just that their heads are so small.

  6. The world weeps at the majesty of the bowling alley of the People’s Democratic Republic of Korea:


    1. That one is even better than the supermarket. World’s greatest bowler and world’s greatest golfer!

      1. People smell the lanes of glory!

    2. Huh, I never knew Kim Jong-Il invented bowling before.

    3. That’s not that different from MSNBC’s news coverage…

  7. the GOP is going to crank up spending.

    Possibly, but we all know what happens on those very rare occasions when they actually do try to cut spending a little, don’t we?

    The democrats refuse to go along, we end up with a fake government shutdown, a bunch of Barrycades get put up in front of the World War II Memorial, and all the fake libertarians in D.C. start screaming hysterically about how stupid, mean, and horrible the republicans are for shutting down the government.

    1. Seems like we’ve heard this song before.

      1. Seems like we see this comment every time Mike posts.

        1. The truth can never be stated often enough.

  8. A liberal Team Blue President and a Team Red congress that hated him worked out pretty well for the economy last time, didn’t it?


      Past performance is not necessarily indicative of future results.

      1. Block Yomomma sure as hell is no Bill Clinton, as anyone who saw that press conference yesterday must surely realize by now.

        1. I was flipping channels when he was on yesterday, and I thought I saw him leaning on the podium like some schlub that Judge Judy would yell at to “stand up straight!”. Was he really doing that, or was it my imagination?

        2. True. Clinton is another narcissist, but a more realistic one. If he could compromise and take credit for the result, he’d do it. Obama is far less flexible, and in fact downright petulant.

          1. Clinton (Bill, that is) also ain’t no dummy. Obama? I get the feeling he ain’t the brightest light on the Christmas tree.

            1. I do get the feeling he’s a classic underperforming affirmative action hire, and that he’s far too likely to believe when his sycophants tell him how wonderful he is.

  9. Fiscal sanity is a perpetual victim.

  10. Fiscal sanity?

    Hahahahahahahahahaha… hahahahahahahahahahahahaha…..

    1. “Ha ha ha – everybody knows their ain’t no Sanity Clause!”

  11. Good piece, Nick. I agree 100%.

    I would add: the Republican approach to Obamacare should not be called “repealing” it, but “reforming” it by gutting it and replacing the innards with free market reforms and deregulation. And hopefully do something in time to prevent me from paying an IRS fine next year….

    1. It would be cool if the GOP could ‘reform’ the hell out of Obamacare such that the only thing left was the name of the legislation and they tuned the contents into a giant healthcare liberalization bill.

      1. It won’t happen because the GOP doesn’t give a shit about free markets, but that would be awesome. “Let’s see, instead of a direct federal exchange, we’ll have…nothing, and in lieu of the subsidies we’ll do…nothing, and we’ll just tweak the coverage requirement to say…nothing, and let’s update the wording on what insurance plans are required to cover to “nothing.””

        1. So let’s go back to how it was?

          1. As a start. Then get rid of the employer-insurance coupling, abolish HHS completely, kill the FDA, get rid of the practicing medicine without a license crap, and we’ll call that a solid first day.

            1. So your ideal scenario involves people randomly calling themselves doctors and getting to pass along controlled substances or perform medical services ad hoc?

              1. My ideal scenario involves no such thing as “controlled” substances and third party certification of medical professionals, yes.

                1. Ah, there is no such thing as a “controlled” substance? You may feel that doctors purposefully keep the available supply medical professionals low to keep wages inflated, but there are numerous medical activities that require minimal certification in order to become approved for business. Having Joe Blow on the corner calling himself a doctor just because he wants to be a doctor serves no discernible good.

    2. do you have health insurance?

      1. Also get rid of the people who are on the HHS payroll just to troll comment boards for chances to praise Obamacare.

        1. I’m not here to praise it, I just want to know why he’d get a fine?

          1. No, I don’t, so I’m due for the fine next year.

            1. Maybe you should get health insurance? I hear it’s available now.

  12. Who’s the guppy?

    Maybe if we feed him an extra helping, he’ll go belly-up.

  13. ” social conservatism of the George W. Bush years,”

    Was I asleep while that was going on? I remember the bailouts. I remember the wars, the spending, the patriot act, and the expansion of several executive departments. I don’t remember abortion being outlawed or anything else I would call socially conservative. To me, Bush was always a neocon who didn’t try to actively piss off the socons.

    1. DOMA, War on Drugs, etc

      1. I didn’t know Bush was president in 1996?

        1. I didn’t know the War on Drugs hadn’t changed since 1996.

  14. Maybe the people don’t believe that the Republicans have a plan because they read articles like this one and there are many available. The only comprehensive plan that anybody has formulated is the Ryan budget which left out specifics in order to avoid the attack by competing lobbyists but represents a viable 10-year plan that limits growth in expenditures to 2% per year. Please point me the comparable Democratic document. Maybe it is with Obama’s ACA plan.

    You must establish your libertarian “creds” but this isn’t the way to do it.

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