Obama Lost *Because* of His Early Legislative Wins, Not Despite Them


Over at The Washington Post, Katrina vanden Heuvel chalks up broad Republican gains in the midterms solely to the GOP's negativism. Sen Mitch McConnell, she writes, "won his majority by brilliantly waging a partisan, dishonest, unrelenting policy of obstruction."

At National Review's The Corner blog, Reason contributor and Mercatus Center economist Veronique de Rugy counters by pointing out some inconvenient truths.

…vanden Heuvel's lament would only really make sense if Obama hadn't actually gotten all that he wanted during the first two years of his first term. Remember the huge stimulus bill that was supposed to prevent the unemployment rate from exceeding 8 percent? How about Dodd Frank and the promise that it would successfully regulate the big banks, save us from the moral hazard created by "Too Big to Fail," and address systemic risk? And let's not forget Obamacare and its promise to fix health care, provide health insurance to everyone (especially the chronically poor), lower premiums, and help the long-term budget outlook. Does vanden Heuvel really want to blame the HealthCare.gov debacle on Republicans? She can certainly try, I suppose.

And then, of course, if you turn to things like the war on drugs, immigration,transparency, or all the scandals that took place under this administration (VA, the IRS, and Fast and Furious, etc, etc), vanden Heuvel shouldn't be surprised that Obama has become unpopular even with his own base.

That's putting it mildly. One of the reasons why libertarian ideas are getting a longer look than ever before is precisely because both conservative Republicans and liberal Democrats have gotten to implement their visions in the recent past. Both major parties and the ideologies they represent have gotten to do exactly what they wanted to do and in each case the only clear result was…putting the other side in power. Time for an alternative, maybe?

De Rugy concludes:

Just as Republicans need to admit that the Bush years were hugely disappointing for those of us who believe in free markets and small government, Democrats should admit that it's the failures and shortcomings of the Obama administration that have put the GOP back in control of Congress.

Full thing there.