by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Jim McTague devotes his latest Barron’s “D.C. Current” column to a synopsis of his recent conversation with Bernadette Budde of the Business Industry Political Action Committee, “one of Washington’s sharpest political analysts.”
Though she expects Obama to triumph because his well-organized party will generate a better turnout than the GOP, his victory will not provide him with the proverbial “mandate” from the people. She calls this the “Tina Turner election” and references the singer’s hit, “What’s Love Got to Do with It.” Democrats no longer have the passion for Obama that was evident in 2008, she says. But they have better electioneering technology and a superior get-out-the-vote organization to employ on Obama’s behalf.
Voters are willing to accept incremental gains. If Obama tries his “My way or the highway” approach, he will risk Democratic control of the Senate in 2014, she believes.
MEETING THE GOP HALFWAY should be much easier post-election than pre-election, she says, because there already has been some “consensus building” concerning some of the largest, most important issues facing the nation.
“There’s an agreement among Republicans and Democrats that the Simpson-Bowles deficit-reduction plan needs to be revisited, even if they don’t buy the whole package,” she says. This is causing people like Budde to believe that gridlock over the ways to reduce the debt and fix the nation’s fiscal problems will be broken and an agreement quickly reached.
“There’s also a consensus that we need tax reform and rates should be reduced,” she says. “There’s consensus on the importance of domestic energy; a consensus that manufacturing and trade go together; and a consensus that we need to address workplace skills, which means improving education.”
She also believes that Democrats appreciate that the Dodd-Frank financial-reform law and the Obamacare law are flawed and must be tweaked, and that Republicans under pressure from the business and financial communities will help with constructive fixes.