Tuesday, October 26th, 2010

What Will Happen After The Election

You have seen this, or something similar, throughout the last week and will continue to see variations for another couple months at least:

With conventional wisdom congealing around the idea that Democrats are likely to lose the House and narrowly hold on to their majority in the Senate, there are already plenty of people talking about what the election results a week from today might mean for President Barack Obama's 2012 re-election race.

The most common analysis emerging from this chatter is that the election is nothing but bad news for Obama — a rejection of the agenda he pushed over the last two years and a spark of encouragement for the men (and woman?) who are preparing to run against him on the Republican side.

But, a new Pew poll suggests that there is danger in reading too much about 2012 into next week's results.

So much conventional wisdom! So much repudiation of the conventional wisdom! So much repudiation of the conventional wisdom BECOMING the conventional wisdom! It's tiresome, no? I read a ton of political blogs, and this is pretty much the takeaway from all of them. I'm here to tell you that while perhaps there is something to this analysis, there is one other highly likely scenario that risk-averse pundits are ignoring so that they huddle safely in the comfort of the Lamestream Media-approved narrative. But what is it?

Republicans will re-take the House and just barely miss taking the Senate. They will announce that unless the President agrees to the repeal of the health care bill they will prevent any other legislation moving forward, and will block the consideration of all nominees requiring Congressional approval.

President Obama, delivering his first State of the Union address with John Boehner seated behind him, will lower his head and announce his disappointment over the opposition party's unwillingness to make any serious efforts to help heal the country in this time of national crisis. Then, staring at the ceiling, he will transform into a beam of pure energy, all light and fire, and soar through the Capitol roof. The message left on his teleprompter will read "UNLESS."

Seeking to take advantage of this bizarre and unprecedented event, the House will immediately begin impeachment proceedings against newly-installed President Joe Biden on the grounds that his hair plugs constitute high crimes and that in any event the founders never intended anyone from Delaware to hold the highest office in the land. Biden's Senate trial will result in his being removed from office after Chief Justice John Roberts, the presiding officer, rules that corporations should also be allowed a vote in the matter. John Boehner, following the rules of succession, will be sworn in as President of the United States. His nominee for Vice President, Wal-Mart, will be swiftly approved, although there will be confusion over how it will be able to fit into its alloted space in the West Wing.

The economy will continue to stagger, leading to rising anger among independents and Democrats, although President Boehner will retain the support of Tea Party groups, who, when asked to reconcile their positive feelings about the new administration even in the face of growing deficits, will respond, "Oh, we were never really serious about that. It was the black guy thing, actually. Jeez, we thought that was pretty obvious." Disappointed liberals, meanwhile, will attempt to form a counter-movement, but give up as soon as Steve Jobs unveils a new edition of the iPad, which will keep them busy for the next couple of years as they talk to each other about all the amazing features.

After audiotape emerges of President Boehner referring to Sarah Palin, host of the number one-rated Fox program "America's Most Hottest," as "dumber than a pack of Camel Lights" and claiming that "my tan is brighter than she is," the former Alaska governor will threaten a primary challenge against the incumbent, "unless me and each memeber of my family gets $40 million dollars tax free, plus clothing expenses." Seeking to avoid a divisive campaign, the Chamber of Commerce will solicit the full amount from anonymous Chinese donors, leaving the Republican nomination in Boehner's nicotine-stained hands.

Amid a chaotic Democratic National Convention in Minneapolis, Hillary Clinton will be on the verge of accepting her party's nomination when suddenly a beam of pure energy, all light and fire, will soar through the hall. A shining Barack Obama will emerge at the podium and deliver the following speech:

Good evening. I have spent much of the last year and a half journeying through the cosmos, visiting other civilizations so vastly different from ours that you could scarcely comprehend their existence. I have seen things that I cannot even convey to you, so unfathomable are their mysteries. I have made this journey with one purpose in mind: to save the United States of America and all that she stands for.

As I look at you all tonight, I regret to tell you that it is an impossible task. Left to your own devices you will continue to grow larger and dumber until you are easy targets for the mutant animals created by your toxic stew of chemical spills. Those of you who are not eaten will sweat to death or drown in tsunamis in previously landlocked areas. But with proper guidance, perhaps there is a chance to change course. Unless—

At that very moment the celestial Obama's attention will be distracted by a shiny new iPad in the front row, and he will step down from the podium to play around with it. A couple of months later a small boy in Montana will accidentally set a fire that burns the whole country to the ground, and the world's greatest hope for democracy will return to ash.

The other possibility is that the employment slowly picks up, Republicans overplay their hand, and Obama gets re-elected based on the fact that voters pretty much only care about the economy. But I think we'd be wise to pay attention to the "beam of light" scenario. I know history doesn't repeat exactly, but this is pretty close to how it played out for Harry Truman back in '48.

41 Comments / Post A Comment

dntsqzthchrmn (#2,893)

If you make an official Awl UNLESS teleprompter shirt I will buy several.

Eric Spiegelman (#3,968)

This is more or less what Ezra Klein said on Maddow last night.

deepomega (#1,720)

"I've seen things you wouldn't believe. Senate subcommittees on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched roll calls glitter in the dark near the Tanhauser Gate. All these fillibusters will be lost in time, like tears in rain. [pause] Time to post-racialize."

HiredGoons (#603)

I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by non-profits, starving for attention hysterically naked,
dragging themselves down the West Side Highway at dawn looking for an angry busboy,
asymmetrically-headed hipsters burning for the newest atavistic connection to the disco-balled dynamo in the servo of night-life

boyofdestiny (#1,243)

It's too bad he won't get reelected! But then again, who does?

saythatscool (#101)

Let's just hope the unicorn doesn't fold up in 2012.

petejayhawk (#1,249)

I've seen things you people wouldn't believe…and from this side only. The flight of a half man, half bird. Dinosaurs nuzzling their young in pastures where strip-malls should be. Cookies on dowels. All those moments, lost in time; gone like eggs off a hooker's stomach.

Time to die.

deepomega (#1,720)

Couric: You\'re in a subcommittee, voting along party lines, when all of a sudden you look down…
O\'Donnell: What one?
C: What?
O: What subcommittee?
C: It doesn\'t make any difference what desert, it\'s completely hypothetical.
O: But, how come I\'d be there?
C: Maybe you\'re getting shuffled there to keep you busy. Maybe you want to make a name for yourself. Who knows? You look down and see a position paper, Christine. It\'s lying right in front you…
O: Position memo? What\'s that?
C: [irritated by Christine\'s interruptions] You know what opposition research is?
O: Of course!
C: Same thing.
O: I\'ve never seen a position paper… But I understand what you mean.
C: You reach down and you flip the paper\'s cover sheet over, Christine.
O: Do you make up these questions, Ms. Couric? Or do they write \'em down for you?
C: The position paper lays open, revealing a bill that won\'t pass on its own. Not without your help. But you\'re not voting for it.
O: [angry at the suggestion] What do you mean, I\'m not helping?
C: I mean: you\'re not helping! Why is that, Christine?
[Christine has become visibly shaken]
C: They\'re just questions, Christine. In answer to your query, they\'re written down for me. It\'s a interview, designed to provoke an emotional response… Shall we continue?

DoctorDisaster (#1,970)

I am not a witch replicant.

Smitros (#5,315)

You may need to keep going.

Enhance 34 to 46. Pull back. Wait a minute, go right, stop.

Matt (#26)

Hey, man. That Delaware crack hurt, bro.

HiredGoons (#603)

24hour news cycles make me want to take up smoking crack.

DoctorDisaster (#1,970)

The two have basically the same effect on your brain.

barnhouse (#1,326)

I think the Dems will hold onto Congress, and maybe the Republicans figure out that Sarah Palin is a net liability. (Then what?)

p.s. this was so good.

laurel (#4,035)

I like it when Balk does a thing.

brent_cox (#40)

At the risk of not being sarcastic: is shit more fucked up now than ever, or just as fucked up as always?

As a young, I have little perspective and am thus freaking out. Makes me want to stick my head in the sand, but I can't get a 3G signal down there.

brent_cox (#40)

I think I'm leaning towards (a). Not that we haven't always had stupid people, but they seem to be girding themselves for some Final Conflict of Stupid.

HiredGoons (#603)


DoctorDisaster (#1,970)

I personally think it's a little of column A, a little of column B. The stuff people really freak out about is not that big a deal. (AQUA BUDDHA CONDOMS CAUSE AIDS OMFG!!1) Citizens United, on the other hand, is fucking terrifying.

barnhouse (#1,326)

Every time I start feeling that way, I go to the library and read some old newspapers. The wrongheadedness is really staggering. The amount of terror wasted on things that never came to pass, and the total failure to anticipate the horrors just ahead, and the constant fracking repetitiveness of it all. I think the Depression might have been the worst bit of recent history, because WWII was just around the corner and then just years of not knowing what the hell and people dying like flies, by the millions. Not that 1916 was so great.

boyofdestiny (#1,243)

So which one of the Koch brothers is the Once-ler?

libmas (#231)

The name of that little boy in Montana? Alex Balk, Jr., sent outside to play so that Daddy could spend some quality time alone in the converted missile silo with his robot mistress and a bottle of Ten High. "How you like me now, old man?"

Bittersweet (#765)

Although, to be fair, Joe Biden's hair plugs are pretty serious crimes against humanity.

garge (#736)

It drives me insane that no one is willing to acknowledge that Matt Lauer has hair plugs. It is like the emperor's new clothes!

Niko Bellic (#1,312)

Elections results don't result in anything. Rather, they are the result of things.

Patrick M (#404)

Is there really going to be a new iPad?

wb (#2,214)

Between this and the post where Dick Cheney guides G-dub's hand to sketch out the white house, I really think someone needs to give Balk a book contract for an alt-history of contemporary politics.

Joey Camire (#6,325)

Or they take office, America realizes they have no ideas and come 2012 they re-lose the house and the Presidential election. Wishful thinking?

garge (#736)

Your wishful thinking needs to buck up! Republicans lose seats in the House and Senate, are shamed by mainstream culture for their heinous social positions in the immediate present, the Tea Party explodes all over Sarah Palin, who has mismanaged her finances worse than MC Hammer and applies for food stamps; meanwhile, somehow employment does pick up, Joe Lieberman falls down an elevator shaft and dies after his gurney falls down a second elevator shaft at the hospital, I am somehow able to use my google voice independent of any cell phone contract without being super ghetto about it, and Obama wins 2012. Now THAT is wishful thinking.

DoctorDisaster (#1,970)

That whole comment deserved a thumb but Lieberman vs gravity most of all. It has been a good day for elevator shafts.

Joey Camire (#6,325)

Just… beautiful. A wayne's world bow is in order.

dntsqzthchrmn (#2,893)

"Norm Ornstein, a political scientist at the American Enterprise Institute, says that while corporate America and the Tea Party will stand together on some issues, big business could be disappointed by the ripple effects of electing politicians whose priority is limiting government size."


Is the rent still going to be too damn high?

C_Webb (#855)

not if you marry a shoe. There's a tax break for that.

We have maybe 10 more years of angry white people being able to make a difference in the national election cycle. Unfortunately, they're not going to become less noisy as they fade from relevance. So, gird yourself for the volume of reactionary horseshit to increase before it finally dims and dies.

dntsqzthchrmn (#2,893)

If only demographics trumped compound interest.

kneetoe (#1,881)

How many blogs in a ton? I'm guessing three, because you're too good to be reading political blogs. And too lazy.

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