Recently in this space, I suggested that a 54-vote GOP pickup in the House and as much as a 12-vote swing in the Senate could be coming in November. Reports last week suggest that Republican House gains may prove even larger.
On Wednesday Politico ran a front-page story (see http://tiny.cc/teo7k ) headlined, “House chairmen in [reelection] jeopardy.” The list included once invincible Barney Frank and John Dingell.
Frank is the author of the real “failed policies that got us into this mess,” to use the president’s phrase.
These were not the policies Mr. Obama keeps invoking as failed: cuts in tax rates, reduced regulations, stable money supply, control of spending, freer and more globally open markets. This Reaganesque package produced the longest peacetime expansion in American history – perhaps world history. It enabled millions of Americans to move themselves into higher income levels. Copied globally, it led to a twenty-five percent drop in extreme planetary poverty between 1981 and 2005, according to the World Bank’s website (see http://tiny.cc/z3esy ).
No, top on the list of true failures would have to be the housing policies of Congressman Frank and his policy partner, Senator Christopher Dodd. Starting as early as 2001, congressional Democrats led by these two economic geniuses successfully blocked repeated Bush Administration attempts to overhaul Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The Bush people warned of a financial crisis if the housing giants failed. Mr. Frank replied he was willing to “roll the dice”, that is, to bet that Fannie and Freddie were OK as they stood. Result: the biggest gambling debt ever recorded.
Until recently it looked as though, despite such catastrophically failed policies, Mr. Frank would win another House term. Now it appears constituents might hold him to account.
John Dingell is a different story. History’s longest serving House member, he essentially inherited his seat from his father. The elder Dingell was elected with Franklin Roosevelt in 1932.
The careers of father and son mark the full arch of American liberalism in power. The father entered Congress a dedicated and idealistic New Dealer. Among his achievements, he sponsored the bill that established the Social Security System.
In contrast, the son has made his name as a political thug, known for using Congress’ investigatory powers to all but bankrupt opponents. In the Reagan years, his malicious personal probes of officials who crossed him required his targets to run up massive legal fees defending themselves. Think of Burt Lancaster’s villainous J.J. Hunsecker in the 1957 classic Sweet Small of Success, and you have a good portrait of Mr. Dingell and of what modern liberalism has come to.
If these two Democratic icons are in danger, what Democrat is not?
You can sense the White House’s desperation. It isn’t just that advisor after advisor is jumping ship – or being pushed. Last week Vice President Joe Biden all but threatened the nation. Addressing a rally, he warned, “If we lose, we’re going to play hell”. He added that playing hell would be to protect the middle class from the Republicans (see http://tiny.cc/zei8s ). Apparently it is not the middle class that is poised to end the Democrats’ congressional dominance.
The Vice President preceded his promise of political chaos with a list of those aspects of middle class life that Democrats would defend.
Housing and neighborhoods led the rundown. Think of it. The Dodd-Frank Fannie-Freddie policies brought apocalyptic collapse to the housing market, to neighborhood after neighborhood, and to millions of American homeowners. Any more Democratic defenses like that, and we will have no more housing or neighborhoods to defend.
Next was good schools for all — this from the administration that has abandoned school choice. A film showing why opposition to school choice is so callous opened two weekends ago in theaters across the country. Waiting for Superman (see: http://www.waitingforsuperman.com/ ) was made by David Guggenheim, the director of Al Gore’s documentary on global warming. Guggenheim is no right-winger. But by the closing credits you are ready to grab a placard and march in support of the very school choice programs that the administration is shutting down in the District of Columbia.
Is the vice president this clueless or does he think we are?
Whichever, signs are accumulating that the country has had more than enough. The liberal media is trying to say that all incumbents are threatened. Not a single GOP Senate seat is in trouble this year. Very few GOP House seats are.
It’s not over ‘til it’s over. But House Republicans could be close to a victory beyond anyone’s expectations.