My namesake Joe Klein wrote in his latest Time Magazine column that nothing much happened in 2010. If he meant to say that the progressives did not achieve their agenda of fundamentally transforming America into a European-style democratic socialist welfare state, I think he is right. But in this case less is more.
The Republicans played good defense and prevented the creeping government take-over of key parts of our economy under President Obama from becoming a catastrophic rout of our free market capitalistic system . Fueled by the historic groundswell of the Tea Party movement, voters in the midterm elections restored some needed balance to our government – 63 House seats, 6 Senate seats, 5 governorships, 20 state legislative Houses, some 700 seats in state legislatures nationwide.
Klein pooh-poohed the Republican victories, calling them the inevitable reaction to a bad economy. In this, as in so many things, he has his facts wrong. The average first midterm loss for a president’s party has been less than twenty House seats and around 3 Senate seats. In 1982′s midterm election during Ronald Reagan’s first term when the economy was as bad as it was at the same point in Obama’s term, Republicans gave back 26 House seats, and actually gained a Senate seat.
As a consequence of what Obama himself called a “shellacking,’ he was forced to accept a supply-side, across the board extension of the Bush tax-cuts. Chastened by the shellacking, Obama is at least pretending to pivot towards the center, declaring that jobs and deficit reduction will be his top domestic priorities in 2011. We’ll see, but at least he is starting to talk the talk.
With his usual arrogance, Klein characterized the opposition to the Obama-Pelosi-Reid progressive agenda as “putrid,” ” half-crazed,” and “screechy.” And he could not resist taking another of his trademark shots at Fox News.
Klein just can’t accept the fact that the bubble which he inhabits with his left-wing colleagues in the media has burst. With cable news, talk radio and the 24/7 Internet, these pompous would-be opinion-makers are rapidly losing their influence.
In fact, one of the 2010 stories that Joe should be most concerned about was the sale of Newsweek for $1. Will Time, with its stable of columnists like Joe Klein, be the next magazine to be sold for what it is worth – say, about 50 cents?
Joseph Klein is the author of a recent book entitled Lethal Engagement: Barack Hussein Obama, the United Nations and Radical Islam.