Does it really matter who is elected to the presidency in November?
Regardless of who is elected the U. S. will continue to be interventionist in its foreign policy.
Regardless of who is elected the Bush tax cuts will be sustained. There may be some tweaking around the edges.
Regardless of who is elected healthcare costs will continue to rise and healthcare will comprise a larger share of federal spending.
Regardless of who is elected the detention center in Guantanamo will be maintained.
Regardless of who is elected the security apparatus put in place in the aftermath of the attacks in New York and Washington, DC in 2001 will only be expanded.
Regardless of who is elected the non-existent Social Security trust fund will be drawn down at an accelerating rate.
Regardless of who is elected large banks will continue to be subsidized. Small banks will continue to be absorbed by large banks.
That’s just scratching the surface. In comments please make a case for why it will make a difference. (Please!)
I might add that I think it’s very likely that whoever is elected the U. S. will experience another economic downturn during the next presidential term.
Doug Mataconis over at OTB has picked up the torch on this topic. A number of the commenters there emphasize the likelihood of one or more Supreme Court justices being appointed during the next term. I think they’re over-estimating the predictability of Supreme Court justices and not reflecting sufficiently on what sort of justice would be likely to receive Senate approval with the likely composition of the Senate in the next term.
Barring its being overturned by the Court, I think the PPACA is here to stay regardless of who is elected. I have little doubt that Republicans will continue to hold the House or that the House Republicans would dearly love to repeal it. In the event that Republicans take control of the Senate, too, it will be by the narrowest of majorities—not enough to overcome the filibuster Senate Democrats would be likely to mount.
Ezra Klein responds to my observations above:
I toy with this sort of argument myself. But I think the beginning of wisdom on this point is to recognize that the differences between the two parties are largely swallowed in congressional gridlock. The issue here isn’t that Mitt Romney and Barack Obama wouldn’t like to govern very differently. Obama, for instance, would very much like to pass a cap-and-trade plan to regulate carbon followed by an immigration-reform bill that included a path to citizenship. Romney would not like to pass those laws.
and goes on to observe, correctly, that it’s Congress that really matters (other than in the foreign policy and security areas that I mentioned in the original post where the president really holds the cards).
However, I disagree with Mr. Klein’s claim. I think that if President Obama had really wanted to pass a cap-and-trade plan he would have done so in the last term. I’d like to know how you go about measuring very much like to. I think it should be by effort expended.
I have no doubt that President Obama would very much like to give the impression that he would very much like to pass a cap-and-trade plan. Is or was he really interested? And how could you tell?