Matt Malone Analyzes the Election

Hear more from blogger Matt Malone, S.J., in this special election podcast. Matt's key insight: "Don't mistake mood for mandate."

Tim Reidy



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8 years 5 months ago
William Galston, former Clinton administration official, writes today:

"But why did they [Independents] change? Here we reach the nub of the matter: The ideological composition of the electorate shifted dramatically. In 2006, those who voted were 32 percent conservative, 47 percent moderate, and 20 percent liberal. In 2010, by contrast, conservatives had risen to 41 percent of the total and moderates declined to 39 percent, while liberals remained constant at 20 percent. And because, in today’s polarized politics, liberals vote almost exclusively for Democrats and conservatives for Republicans, the ideological shift matters a lot.... This shift is part of a broader trend: Over the past two decades, moderates have trended down as share of the total electorate while conservatives have gone up."

No mandate, huh?
ed gleason
8 years 5 months ago
DOW up 200 points today  tells me Republican Wall Street thinks it will control the Tea Partiers with a lot of free lattes.
8 years 5 months ago
I listened to the discussion and there is not much there.  Fr. Malone is very measured and really does not say much.
In reference to the comment about mandate, all the commentary I have seen from the Tea Party, Republicans and Libertarian places I have seen,  say, do not 'get cocky.'   Given that they expect something to happen and it will be interesting how Boehner and the House approach this.  As far as the Tea Party is concerned, 40% of the voters said they support the Tea Party.  If true that is a huge number and means it will be an influence at least for the next election cycle.  And they will be looking at Republicans as well as Democrats.  It will be interesting to see where the Palin/Rove axis ends up.  Palin had some successes but some notable failures, especially in Alaska.
Fr. Malone seemed to get the financial bill wrong.  Wall Street is essentially a Democrat party operation.  People associate Republicans and business with Wall Street but that is no longer true.  Almost none of their money comes from activity in the stock market and nearly all from the buying and selling of bonds which are heavily influenced by Congress.  The biggest of all bond markets was mortgage bonds.  That is why Wall Street was a major contributor to Democrats and to Obama and why in 1993 Robert Rubin told Clinton that he had to cater to bond sellers and traders.  And that is why the first person to give a big greeting to Obama in early 2005 was Freddie and Fannie and he became their biggest recipient of donations.
Maybe we should have a discussion by Fr. Malone and the Finance bill and where Democrats and Republicans differ.  I do not think he has it correctly.
8 years 5 months ago
'DOW up 200 points today  tells me Republican Wall Street thinks it will control the Tea Partiers with a lot of free lattes.'

I heard that a lot of this exuberance is due to QE2.  And for those who do not know what this is, it means Quantitative Easing 2.  The Fed just put several hundred bullion of new dollars into the economy.  Essentially they printed new money.
8 years 5 months ago
This is related to a comment above.  Here are a couple headlines on the internet from this afternoon
''WORLD FOREX: Dollar Slides Day After Fed Decision; QE3 Possibilities Weigh''
''Street Doesn't Fight The Fed, QE2 Drives Huge Rally
Bernanke & Co. announce $600 billion in Treasury purchases Wednesday, stocks jump nearly 2% Thursday..
So essentially stock prices are higher but your money is worth a lot less around the world.   The Fed is hoping that this will cause money to turn and create business activity and more jobs.  But the bogey man in all this is when the money eventually turns, inflation is next and the 1970's showed that is a formula for disaster.

8 years 5 months ago
Came across something about 2 hours ago.  The Republicans in the House plan to use subpoena processes to question those involved in the Health Care Bill to find out exactly how the legislation was put together and to assess the actual cost of the legislation.  They also plan to take the popular parts of the plan and propose an alternative way of implementing these parts and then dismantling the rest.

Of course they cannot do the revising and changing without Senate and Presidential approval.  But if they are frustrated by votes by any Senators or the President then these will become issues for the elections of 2012.  So they are planning on a transparent modification of the Health Care Bill and we will see if this happens.

It is hard to see how anyone could object to this and I am sure there will be long discussions over the next two years.  Time flies.  It doesn't seem that long since the health care debates began early in the summer of 2009.
Stanley Kopacz
8 years 5 months ago
Interesting how the cornucopia of cash party's endless commercials appealed to the growing conservatism of the American electorate.  "Obama took $500,000,000 out of Medicare Funding", I heard endlessly.  Shouldn't this be applauded as a reduction in benefits?  Isn't Medicare one of those socialalist experiments that failed?  After all, people over 65 are still dying at a faster rate than anybody.  Another liberal fiasco.  But apparently, the Republicans support this namby-pamby liberal monstrosity.  Ayn Rand must be turning over in her nonexistence.
Stanley Kopacz
8 years 5 months ago
SOrry.  My mistake.  Thats $5x10^11
8 years 5 months ago
Well I guess if you thought my comments yesterday weren't sufficiently ''measured'', maybe you'll take the word of someone who writes in the New York Times.  From David Brooks' column this morning we find this paragraph:

''Some Democrats believe their policies have nothing to do with the debacle. It was the unemployment rate, they say. But it was Democratic economic policies that first repelled these voters. There’s been a sharp rise in the number of voters who think the Democrats are “too liberal.” Signature policy initiatives like health care remain gigantically unpopular. Republicans didn’t score gains everywhere unemployment was high (see California, for example). But they did score gains nearly everywhere where disapproval of President Obama and his policies was high.
When the successful Democratic Senate candidate in West Virginia takes a rifle and literally blows a hole in one of your major pieces of legislation in a campaign commercial, that is a sign that the voters are unhappy with your policies, not just the economy.''
Marie Rehbein
8 years 5 months ago
There are certain issues in West Virginia that cross political boundaries.  Given West Virginia's role in producing coal, it has a vested interest in being allowed to continue to produce coal, which reduces to being skeptical of any legislation that intends to reduce energy consumption as that would reduce the demand for coal.

Therefore, it was a pretty safe bet that shooting cap and trade would only help Joe Manchin.  Furthermore, despite the fact that Democrats are not identified with supporting unrestricted gun ownership, a number of West Virginia Democrats are hunters.  West Virginia is loaded with wildlife, and hunting is a respected method of providing for one's family.

In general, the election of Joe Manchin, the recent governor, who was well liked in West Virginia, has very little to say about the Obama administration's policies.  The campaign strategy, on the other hand, has a lot to say about the influence of Faux Noos on the priorities of some voters.

In other words, I disagree with David Brooks, and I base this on my first hand experience of living in West Virginia from 2001 to 2008.
8 years 5 months ago
"There are certain issues in West Virginia that cross political boundaries."

And Ohio? And Pennsylvania? And Upstate New York? And Michigan?  And Missouri?
Marie Rehbein
8 years 5 months ago
Not sure what you mean, Jeff.  Do these states you list have a single industry that defines them and their interests the way coal defines West Virginia?  My point was that the commercial wasn't anti-Obama, just normal West Virginia. 

Back in 2008, Hillary Clinton beat Barack Obama in the primary in West Virginia, 240,890 votes to 92,736. Where over 300,000 voters voted in the Democratic primary in 2008 in WV, only around 118,000 voted in the Republican primary.  A lot of the people who would have voted for Hillary Clinton voted for McCain instead of Obama in the Presidential election.  The more urban areas voted for Obama, and the more rural areas voted for McCain.

West Virginia would not be even where it is today were it not for government earmarks.  Senator Byrd was a pro at getting Federal money for the state.  Where there is good employment, it is largely due to government contracts and government agencies that have offices in the state.  Over all, the state has not been suffering from the economic downturn. 
8 years 5 months ago
I agree we need more ''measured'' analysis in America, especially political pieces from one consistent perspective.  (And why, if you're going to consistently post liberal analysis, do you object to conservative criticism? I though liberals liked "dialogue"?)

And if you're not clear about what the message is, maybe its because you either don't want to know what it is or because you are so far to one position you can't hear it.  It couldn't be cleaer.  Polls for months showed disatisfaction with the ''comprehensive reform of this that and everything'' approach.  The health care bill is extremely unpopular.  As David Brooks noted last night on the Newshour, 1/3 of voters thought the Obama stimulus bill (which is essentially his economic plan) was very wrong and another 1/3 thought it was wholly ineffective, actually increasing unemployment.    I find it mystifying that liberal pundits have said ''the voters want change but we aren't sure what kind of change'' as if somehow voting for a farily conservative Congress isn't ''change''.  They made a very very clear choice it seems to me.  Democrats are hiding behind the ''we saved the Senate'' argument as a counter to that.  Yes, but it has to be troubling that extremely flawed (''hilariously flawed'' in the words of Reihan Salam) took candidates like Harry Reid down to the wire. 

By all means read Galston & maybe that will lead to some more measured analysis besides the self-assuring rationalization that maybe, just maybe, a very liberal agenda WASN'T repudiated in the election.

As for the "Republican Wall Street" nonsense: look up campaign finance reports from Wall Street and you'll see a couple names are the BIGGEST target of donations: Charles Schumer & Barack Obama.  Harrah's Casino poured literally millions of dollars into the Reid campaign & essentially bused their workers to the polls to vote.  Is "Big Labor" money not as "evil" as big corporate money?  And unlike Big Labor, most corporations in this country give money to both sides equally.  Another self-assuring delusion.


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