Thursday, January 5, 2012

A stark choice

The upcoming presidential election presents a stark choice between competing visions of what kind of country the United States will be in the future.  Depending on one's views, it might be a battle of freedom and capitalism against a socialist dystopia, or a continuation of a progressive revolution against reactionary forces.  Most people would paint the choice less starkly then either of those descriptions, but you get the idea. 

But what, exactly, would be the difference between a second Obama administration and a new GOP administration.  Washington Monthly published a symposium outlining just that.  As described by Instapundit,
The Washington Monthly asked a group of distinguished journalists and scholars to think through the likely ramifications of a GOP victory in November. Here’s what they conclude:
David Weigel reports that the Tea Party will control the agenda regardless of which Republican wins the nomination.
Norman Ornstein and Thomas Mann predict that there’s a “better-than-even chance” that the Senate filibuster will be destroyed.
David Roberts shows that the GOP won’t eliminate the EPA, but will permanently cripple it.
Harold Pollack disabuses liberals of the hope that health care reform can survive a Republican presidency.
Dahlia Lithwick writes that one more round of judicial appointments by a Republican president will lead to a generation of anti-government rulings no future Democrat can undo.
Plus: Jonathan Bernstein on why campaign promises matter; Michael Konczal on the end of Dodd-Frank; James Traub on the GOP’s “more enemies, fewer friends” doctrine; and Paul Glastris on why, this time, conservative anti-government aspirations will be fulfilled.
In sum, they think that the decision is stark.  People on the right would be mostly delighted if things turned out as described.  People on the left would be mostly horrified.  I think that the outcome wouldn't be nearly as extreme as described, and most of the contributors are liberals.  Then again, the President's best chance of reelection is fear of the alternative.