The voters have spoken, and Barack Obama will be the next president. Watching the partisan reactions on both sides has been both amusing and disheartening. It seems as though most people see Obama as either the new messiah, or else the anti-christ.
Not a lot of middle ground out there.
Here at Inertia Wins, we proudly take that middle ground. We believe in skepticism without cynicism; in disagreement without contempt; in conviction without Certainty; and in politics without romance.
From that perspective, here are some predictions for how the Obama presidency will turn out:
-Obama will be a two-term president, though he will be significantly less popular by the time his presidency comes to a close. Stars that burn so bright tend to fade quickly. It will not help Obama that many of the problems with politics-as-usual that he speaks out against are systemic. Even the leader of the free world is powerless against the political process.
-One-party rule will not be good for Democrats. As happened with Republicans during the Bush era, unified government will lead to sclerosis, hubris, and an increase in corruption. Obama will not help; he will not risk angering his party by vetoing bad legislation. Democrats will lose their Congressional majority, probably in 2012. Voters seem to prefer divided government, which is why we’ve had it about two thirds of the time over the last century.
-We will not see a full-fledged nationalization of health care. The government currently spends about 54% of all health care dollars; I expect that figure to rise, but not above about 67%.
-Obama will withdraw most soldiers from Iraq sometime in 2011. Some small peacekeeping forces will remain there more or less permanently, as happened with Korea.
-Obama will ramp up our presence in Afghanistan, and it will not go well. This will contribute to his declining popularity. The U.S. military can fight and win almost any battle, but even they cannot build a nation. That kind of change can only come from within. Like Clinton and both Bushes, Obama will not learn that lesson.
-Taxes and spending will both go up, but not by catastrophic levels. Overall public sector growth will be slightly less than under Bush. That means Obama’s final budget will probably be the nation’s first to to exceed $5 trillion. When divided government returns, Obama will find his veto pen and strike down bad GOP legislation, no matter how similar it is to Democratic legislation. Government growth in Obama’s second term will be sharply lower than under his first term.
Agree? Disagree? Predictions of your own? Comments and emails are always welcome.