The DJIA "is back over" 11K, corporations "are flush with" $2T in cash, "growth has held up for more than a year, and and interest rates are at record lows -- to cite a few promising signs of the economic recovery."
"But none of that does much to cheer the average voter, who remains fixated on the high jobless rate of" 9.6%. The "overwhelming importance of the job market" is "bad news" for Pres. Obama and incumbent Dems. "Voters are expected to target them next month in venting their anger and frustration at the languid economic recovery."
Ex-Clinton economic adviser Robert Shapiro: "Frustration has overwhelmed any sense of progress on the economy. ... Even if they end up losing 35 to 45 seats in the House and seven to nine in the Senate, Mr. Obama and the country still need a serious plan to restore people's incomes. Without it, the president in 2012 could find himself in the same position as [George H.W. Bush] in 1992" (Hill, Washington Times, 10/11).
Spendin' All Your Money
Wall Street Journal editorializes, "Perhaps you missed it, but then so did the Washington press corps. Late last week" the CBO "released its preliminary budget tallies for fiscal year 2010, and the news is that the" gov't "had another fabulous year -- in spending your money. We didn't expect President Obama to hold a press conference, but why are" GOPers "so quiet?"
"The 21.4% federal spending increase in two years ought to put to rest any debate about the nature of America's fiscal problem." House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's Congress "has used the recession as an excuse to send spending to record heights, and its economic policies have contributed to a lousy recovery. The solution is to stop the spending and change the policies. Polls open" Nov. 2 (10/12).
It's Time For The Big Guns
GOPers and Dems, "hoping to pick up seats in Congress through redistricting, are pouring money and political muscle into statehouse races in about 16 states."
The "key" nat'l orgs. "seeking to influence state elections will spend about" $200M this year, "double what they spent" in '06. GOP and Dem "strategists are focusing on races in states that they believe could eventually swing as many as 25 to 30 seats in the" House. The "top targets" are WI, IN, PA, OH and TX (Johnson/Mullins, Wall Street Journal, 10/12).
The Majority Report
Ex-Bush adviser Karl Rove, on whether the GOP can take the Senate: "They can. ... Republicans are likely to keep all of the five seats were thought at jeopardy on their side of the aisle in the beginning. There's three Democrat seats in the Republican column. I think Republicans are likely to take all six of the tossups. That comes down to, do the Republicans win a seat in California, Washington state, Connecticut or Delaware? And I think the best of those shots is Washington state. California is a good one. Connecticut's a good one. Delaware, right now, we're trailing. ... We're talking about Republicans being able to win. We're realistically thinking about Republicans being able to win half the Democratic seats that are up for election this year. 19 are up. Republicans are likely to take seven or eight or nine. And could conceivably take 10 of the 19 seats" ("GMA," ABC, 10/12).
New York Times' Brooks writes, "Sometimes a local issue perfectly illuminates a larger" nat'l "problem" -- "such is the case with the opposition of" NJ Gov. Chris Christie "to construction of a new tunnel between" NJ and NY.
"What nobody seems to be asking is: Why are important projects now unaffordable? Decades ago, when the federal and state" gov't "were much smaller, they had the means to undertake gigantic state projects." But now, with bigger gov't, "they don't."
"The answer is what Jonathan Rauch of the National Journal once called demosclerosis. Over the past few decades," gov't "have become entwined in a series of arrangements that drain money from productive uses and direct toward unproductive ones." The "situation, if you'll forgive me for saying so, has been the" Dems "epic failure." The antigov't-types "perpetually cry less, less, less. The loudest liberals cry more, more, more. Someday there will be a political movement that is willing to make choices, that is willing to say 'this but not that'" (10/12).
The New Radicals
Wall Street Journal's Seib writes, "What happens when the radicals are smack in the middle of the political spectrum? That may be the picture we're looking at today. Many of those seriously estranged from the political system and its practitioners appear to sit in the political center. They are shaping this year's campaign, but equally important is the question of what happens to them after the election Nov. 2, and especially on the road toward the next presidential campaign in" '12.
"Independent voters have become something like a band of nomad marauders, roaming across the American political landscape, hungry, angry and taking out their frustrations on the villages of the" Dems and GOPers "in turn." This "roaming army of independent nomads is getting pretty large. And who knows? If neither party can pacify it, maybe, just maybe, the army carries the seeds of a third-party challenge" in '12 (10/12).