Friday, November 05, 2010
David Brooks (yes, him) notes
The Midwest has lost a manufacturing empire but hasn’t yet found a role. Working-class people in this region overwhelmingly backed George W. Bush in 2000 and 2004 but then lost faith in the Republican Party’s ability to solve their problems. By 2008, they were willing to take a flier on Barack Obama. He carried Ohio, Indiana and Iowa.
Over the past two years, these voters have watched government radically increase spending in an attempt to put people back to work. According to the Office of Management and Budget, federal spending increased from about 21 percent of G.D.P. in 2008 to nearly 26 percent of G.D.P. this year. There was an $800 billion stimulus package, along with auto bailouts aimed directly at the Midwest.
Economists are debating the effects of all this, but voters have reached a verdict. According to exit polls on Tuesday, two-thirds of the Americans who voted said that the stimulus package was either harmful to the American economy or made no difference whatsoever.
Between June and August of 2009, the working class became disillusioned with Democratic policies. Working-class voters used to move toward the Democrats in recessions; this time, they moved to the right, shifting attitudes on everything from global warming to gun control. In Tuesday’s exit polls, 56 percent of voters said government does too much, while only 38 percent said it should do more.
On Tuesday, the Democrats got destroyed in this region. They lost five House seats in Pennsylvania and another five in Ohio. They lost governorships in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin and Iowa. Republicans gained control of both state legislative houses in Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Indiana and Minnesota.
You can argue about the health care legislation and the bank bailouts, but there is no doubt that government intervention saved General Motors and Chrysler from going under
- along with the feeder buisnesses. You would think that the industrial Midwest (especially Michigan and Ohio) would be firmly Democratic. But that didn't happen.
That's got to be a failure of messaging (White House), a failure of explaining (by the press), or a success of opposition politics (Fox News, Limbaugh). In any event it makes it hard to justify governing in a manner that helps constituents. There is no reward, so why bother?
There are not enough workers in those factories to swing the election. What you have are those who are marginalized and unemployed who were not saved from the relatively small stimulus.
Plus, the propaganda emanating from corporate media and right wing religious institutions can rarely be understated.
"...a success of opposition politics (Fox News, Limbaugh)."
All three but the stovepiping between left and right media spheres has now become almost completely installed.
America has little real media remaining, and such plain facts as the rescue of the auto industry don't fit within the storyline of the dominant corporate media. Thus, few voters are reminded of such (you'd think) tremendously pertinent facts.
Is David Brooks in waiting for the deanship at the WaPo when the WaPo wakes up and realizes that David Broder is asleep at the wheel?
google the states we lost: ohio, pennsylvania, iowa, wisconsin, etc.
type in the name of the state + outsourced. you'll finds scores of shops and factories that have closed down and jobs shipped overseas.
this wasn't obama's fault but it happened on his watch.
obama had two years to wage a war against outsourcing. he chose not to. even the issue in legislation form only surfaced weeks before the midterms. it was more of a token gesture. there was no concerted, sustained and sincere campaign to work to prevent outsourcing.