Boehner and the Palin phenomenon
Someone who smokes two packs a day and hands out donations from the tobacco lobby to his colleagues on the floor of the House of Representatives would be disqualified from political office in a sane political system. But John Boehner will be the new Speaker of the House of Representatives.
Some quick observations on the mid-terms:
- The economy explains it all.
- This is the result you get when unemployment reaches 10 per cent and the industrial mid-west is stuck in gloom. No historical theories help. Marxists argued that economic distress would galvanise the working class. Liberals like the late Arthur Schlesinger Jnr believed American history was a cycle with periods of alternating liberal and conservative dominance. Rubbish. The conservatives hold power in America and the poor are demoralised and distracted by guns, religion and junk food.
- Obama can be re-elected nonetheless, just as Ronald Reagan was in 1984 after a serious mid-term rebuke in 1982.
- Sarah Palin has created a momentum she now can’t stop. Of course she will run for the Republican nomination. Of course she will win the Republican nomination. Her money and her supporters won’t settle for anything else. And she will be thrashed by Obama in the Presidential election (that is, unless the US economy sinks into prolonged deep recession).
Rupert Murdoch has sustained the Palin phenomenon by funding Palin and running Fox News as wall to wall Tea Party propaganda. And the Palin phenomenon will yield up a Republican nominee who independent voters will recoil from.
Paradox of unintended consequences.