Click on WORD or PDF for full content
Roger Simon sets the tone for how we might think about last week’s results.
… Too bad there’s no time to celebrate. We almost lost our country. There’s no time to lose getting it back.
Depending on whether Barack Obama decides to behave like an adult or not in the face of massive defeat, all Hell can break loose in the next few months. He can subvert Congress and initiate an absurd amnesty program that nobody wants except for perhaps some random aging members of La Raza. Just as bad, or maybe worse — it involves weapons of mass destruction — he can subvert Congress again and sign a deal with the Iranian mullahs that, on latest reports, relies on our good friends the Russians to police the Iranian nuclear program. How insane is that? Ask any Ukrainian.
And that’s only getting started. The litany of possible mischief small and large is endless from Obamacare to accusations of racism (how else could Obama lose?) to that monumental absurdity the “War on Women.” (That one doesn’t seem to be working out too well lately with the Senate filling up with Republican women.) …
… Okay, now I’m going to celebrate. But just for a few hours. In the end, it’s just like tennis. The minute you think you’re ahead, you start to lose. Stay hungry.
Craig Pirrong at Streetwise Professor has a note of caution.
… Practically, however, I think the results will be fairly barren, and may in fact set the stage for a Constitutional crisis, or crises. Obama is still president, and can block any substantive legislation emerging from the solidly Republican Congress. More ominously, given Obama’s personality, ideological rigidity, and hatred of Republicans (and I do think he viscerally hates them), confrontations are inevitable. Obama will not take his whipping and emerge more conciliatory and willing to compromise. To the contrary, to someone of his narcissistic temperament, yesterday’s repudiation is an existential affront that he must confront. He will channel his inner Alinsky, and attempt to use every executive power to achieve results that he cannot implement through legislation. He will double down on the divisive rhetoric and policies that he has employed in the past couple of years. A Constitutional confrontation over immigration, or some other issue (climate?), could well result when Obama attempts to exert executive power unilaterally.
Perhaps most importantly, his obsession with completing a deal with Iran, which has warped virtually every aspect of American foreign policy (Syria most notably) lays the groundwork for confrontation as he will likely attempt to implement it without Congressional approval. The substantive ramifications of such a deal are also very frightening, because they could lead to an even greater crisis in the Middle East and an intensification of the Shia-Sunni/Arab-Persian conflict that is already the source of chaos and misery. It is beyond bizarre that a man who claims to strive for nuclear disarmament is pursuing, Ahab-like, a deal that would likely lead to the nuclearization of the most unstable and conflict-ridden part of the world. …
Jennifer Rubin posts on Wednesday’s presser.
President Obama is a singularly ungracious and non-self-reflective person. In his press conference today he refused yet again to acknowledge reality.
He tried to downplay the Democrats’ loss of the Senate by talking to the two-thirds of people who did not vote. He tried to insinuate that it was a bipartisan rejection. He reminded us several times that he is still president. (“I’m the guy elected by everybody.”) He boasted about an economy most voters think is rotten. He has, however, learned nothing. After a historic repudiation, he is staying the course and still threatens unilateral action by year’s end on immigration reform. One would have thought his policies were not on the ballot or that his party saw historic losses in consecutive midterm elections. He defiantly announced that he will veto some bills and that Congress won’t like his executive actions. He insisted it had to be his way: “If there are ideas that the Republicans have that I have confidence will make things better for ordinary Americans, the fact that the Republicans [are] suggesting it, as opposed to a Democrat — that’ll be irrelevant to me. I want to just see what works.” In other words he sees no reason to compromise; Republicans must agree with him. …
David Harsanyi on the press conference too.
In his post-midterm press conference today, President Barack Obama reaffirmed his commitment to taking executive action on immigration, “before the end of the year.” Obama argued that most Americans desire reform and consequently he has an imperative to act. Because, as everyone knows, polls, rather than elections, are by far the best measurement of what the electorate desires.
If Obama moves forward a number of things are bound to happen: First, and most definitely, there will be no way Republican leadership can engage the administration in any meaningful bipartisan legislation for the next two years. With a freshly enraged base, the GOP will be powerless to work with the White House unless it’s willing to risk civil war. Second, kicking off a new round of needless acrimony highlights the fiction that Obama has any intention of recalibrating his strategy and finding common ground moving forward.
An example of perfect puerile presidential petulance comes from the tete a tete with Michael Jordan. Yahoo Sports has the story of Jordan saying The One was a “sh*tty” golfer. We didn’t include any of that in Pickings because it was of little consequence, but then the childish chief narcissist had to respond and it became a story.
“[T]here is no doubt that Michael is a better golfer than I am,” Obama said. “Of course if I was playing twice a day for the last 15 years, then that might not be the case.”
Obama rounded out his response with a final burn on Jordan, whose NBA franchise returned to its original name this season, saying, “He might want to spend more time thinking about the Bobcats — or the Hornets.”
Given the nationwide Republican wave in Tuesday’s elections, perhaps Obama has bigger problems than what His Airness thinks of his golf game.
Scott Johnson of Power Line also posted on the Michael Jordan kerfuffle and then compares that to reactions to the election.
President Obama is a man who does not respond well to criticism. He can’t even fake it. When Michael Jordan recently observed that Obama is a “shitty golfer,” to take just one small example, Obama responded in a Milwaukee radio interview that he gave to lend his magic touch to Wisconsin gubernatorial candidate Mary Burke the day before the midterm elections: “[T]here is no doubt that Michael is a better golfer than I am.” Obama couldn’t leave it at that: “Of course, if I was playing twice a day for the last 15 years, then that might not be the case. You know, he might want to spend more time thinking about the Bobcats — or the [NBA's Charlotte] Hornets.” (Jordan is part of the Hornets ownership group and the team if off to a poor start.)
This unfunny gibe wasn’t enough for Obama. He deepened his critique of Jordan: “I love the man, though. He brought [the Chicago Bulls] a lot of championships. He does like talking trash sometimes, even when he doesn’t know what he’s talking about.” Obama’s sympathetic radio interviewer found this hilarious. The New York Daily News has posted the entire interview at the link. I’m embedding it below. You can check it out yourself.
I may be wrong about that example, but I’m not wrong about this one. Obama is seething with anger in response to the repudiation he and his policies received in the midterm elections. It comes through loud and clear in the press conference he held to address the results of the midterm elections (White House video below, White House transcript here, Washington Post transcript here). I can also say with certainty Obama rejected the good advice that Peggy Noonan offered him before the votes were counted. Noonan advised him to be gracious in defeat and gave him a good example. (The example was George W. Bush’s, and it was brilliant.) Sorry, but Obama doesn’t do gracious. …
Now even Chris Matthews is fed up. We get this from National Review.
MSNBC host Chris Matthews expressed dismay over President Obama’s post-election press conference on Wednesday, calling him entirely deaf to the millions of Americans who voted against his plan to grant executive amnesty for as many as 6 million illegal immigrants.
“The people, if you look at the polling, their problem is illegal immigration,” he said. “He says, ‘I’m going to fix the problem.’ He doesn’t mean he’s gonna stop illegal immigration. He’s not going to do anything to stop illegal hiring, which is the magnet for illegal immigration, really. He’s going to basically say, ‘I’m going to deal with them by giving them green cards.’”
“What bothered me about him tonight — he keeps talking about common ground,” Matthews said. “Damnit, there’s very little common ground between left and right! But what there is, is compromise.”
“There’s something in this guy that just plays to his constituency, and acts like there’s no other world out there,” the MSNBC host lamented. “And that’s going to be a collision at the end of this year like you’ve never seen. I do believe it’s will be waving a red flag in front of the bull. I think Mitch McConnell’s headed for a fight with the president.”
Jonathan Tobin has more on the presser.
… Rather than taking a page from Bill Clinton’s book and understanding that he had to adjust his policies and ideas to political reality, Obama seems to think he has no lessons to learn from the voters who broadly rejected the policies that he told us last month were on the ballot yesterday.
Asked several times by members of the press if he was prepared for genuine compromise, all he gave them was the usual boilerplate he’s been employing throughout his presidency about being willing to listen to Republicans if they come up with reasonable ideas. The only problem with that: he believes the only one with reasonable ideas is Barack Obama. …
And Tobin also had lists of the biggest winners and biggest losers in the Wave of 2014.
The 2014 midterms turned out to be the wave election that Republicans dreamed of and Democrats dreaded. But amid the debris of what turned out to be a stunning repudiation of the administration, there are some people who must be judged to be the big winners and losers on both sides. Here’s my list:
The first and most obvious winner is Mitch McConnell who will be the majority leader in January. Earlier in the year, he looked to be under siege in his race for reelection but ran among the smartest campaigns in the country as he first swamped a Tea Party challenger and then destroyed Alison Lundergan Grimes, the candidate the Clintons helped handpick to oppose him, in the general election. McConnell finally gets his chance to run the Senate and the man in position to put the heat on President Obama even if he won’t have an easy time with some members of his caucus.
Tom Cotton came into 2014 as the most hyped GOP Senate candidate but was thought to have run a lackluster campaign that turned an easy win into a nail biter. In the end, he won his Arkansas seat in a landslide. That puts him back into the conversation as the most highly regarded young (37) Republican and a future leader of his party.
In the course of the last year Joni Ernst …
Boston Herald columnist posts on the results from Hillary’s perspective.
Hillary Clinton put her political clout and even her political future on the line in this election — from Massachusetts to New Hampshire and in races clear across the country — and as the dust settles this morning we’ll see how it paid off.
The news that Republicans took control of the Senate despite Clinton’s best efforts doesn’t bode well for her desire to become the next president of the United States. …
… But don’t worry about Hillary. To explain away any weak points in the national Democratic mosaic, Hillary Clinton has what every political Clinton needs — a fall guy.
That would be President Obama. Expect to see Obama shoulder a lot of the blame for a lot of Democratic woes, thanks to his abysmal job approval ratings and back-to-back scandals, from Obamacare’s stumbling launch, to the renewal of combat operations in Iraq and now Syria, to Ebola … the list goes on.