Voters appear to be so fed up with the Democrats that they're ready to toss them out in favor of the Republicans -- for whom, according to those same polls, the nation has even greater contempt. This isn't an "electoral wave," it's a temper tantrum.
In reality, Eugene ignores that the people's decision to vote for Republicans is based on personal interest and trust - given the horrible state of the US economy, Americans were compelled to ignore their contempt for the GOP and vote with their pocketbook. According to the Rasmussen poll of likely voters, Americans "now trust Republicans more than Democrats on all 10 of the important issues regularly tracked by Rasmussen Reports." The table below compares the voters' trust for Democrats and Republicans.
It is unconscionable to think about dispatching more young men and women to Iraq without the realistic expectation that their presence will make a difference in a war that is no longer in our control. Here in Washington, proponents of a troop "surge" speak of giving the whole Iraq adventure one last try. But they sound as if they're more concerned about projecting an image of American resolve than anything else. Does anyone think a symbolic troop increase is going to have the likes of Moqtada al-Sadr or Mahmoud Ahmadinejad tossing and turning through sleepless nights?
Doubling the number of American troops in Iraq would be wrong -- we need to get out, now, before we set the whole Middle East on fire -- but at least a surge of that scale would have a purpose. The modest increase now on the table would be purposeless and wrong. What could be more immoral than sacrificing American blood and treasure to save face in a lost war?
But still, if I am generous enough to ignore the various fallacies in the article - does Eugene's main argument that Americans lack patience and need to give more time to the Democrats in power hold water? After some analysis it struck me that what we experience today with the Democrats in power has a close analogy in the latest few economic (and intellectual) bubbles that burst in the last 10 years. I want to remind the readers that back in 2000, some economists and journalists predicted that the Dow Index could reach 50,000 in the near future and that at 36,000 "stocks are both safe and undervalued". Note that it is 10,460 today - after the dot come bubble, the housing bubble and the banking bubbles burst. If you remember the 90ies, I am sure you can recount multiple experts asserting the people that the new economy was different, that the dot-com companies did not have to follow the old traditional Price per Earnings expectations (or as our affirmative action genius "unexpectedly" changed it to Profits per Earnings). A few pedants can even remember the now infamous book "Dow 36,000: The New Strategy for Profiting From the Coming Rise in the Stock Market". According to publishers, "In Dow 36,000, James Glassman and Kevin Hassett see a bright future for stocks, but rather than looking at external factors, the two base their prediction on the intrinsic value of equities and their ability to generate cash." And there are predictions that look downright hilarious these days. Do you remember the claims that housing market will keep going up? Here is a book named "Why the Real Estate Boom Will Not Bust - And How You Can Profit from It: How to Build Wealth in Today's Expanding Real Estate Market" - and its title will make even Al Gore to giggle.
But this is not the end of it - let's not forget the predictions of the end of history by Francis Fukuyama - he even wrote a book in 1992 entitled "The End of History and the Last Man" to prove that the world history has come to an end - democracy won over all other regimes. In short, "Nothing to see here, comrades, walks away slowly". Of course, Fukuyama is indeed a rather peculiar character in his own right. I don't think there are a lot of people with his credentials - a Ph.D. from Harvard, prediction that the world "struggle between ideologies is largely at an end" in 1992, recommendations to president Clinton to support Iraqi insurgencies in the overthrow of Saddam Hussein, advice to president Bush to remove Saddam Hussein from power in 2001, and opposition to the US attack on Iraq in end 2003. Today he equates neoconservatism with Leninism and believes that president Bush "overestimated the threat of radical Islam to the US." As luck would have it, he is now a strong supporter of Barack Hussein Obama, and given his perfect record, I think it's a very good sign for Republicans.
Just in case anyone is interested, I have put the front covers for these three books side by side. As the Romans said "Sic transit gloria mundi", which can be vaguely translated as "Thus passes the glory of the world".