The New York Review of Books, OCTOBER 28, 2010
The Elections: How Bad for Democrats?
How bad are things for the Democrats? It is generally assumed in Washington these days that in the November 2 elections the party will lose control of the House of Representatives, and possibly the Senate (although this is less likely). If the Republicans take control of one or both chambers, they and conservative commentators will proclaim that the voters have rejected “socialism” and will begin planting in earnest the idea that Barack Obama will be a one-term president.
The most damaging actual effect of such an outcome, one few people have focused on yet, is that once Republicans gain the chairmanships of House committees, they will begin launching investigation after investigation into the Obama administration, for example on charges that the Justice Department has shown racial favoritism in refusing to prosecute the New Black Panther Party of Philadelphia for alleged electoral irregularities. These will have little or no meaningful basis in fact but will attempt to distract the administration from its policy objectives, make it look dirty, and with any luck catch a big fish on the hook of perjury or obstruction of justice. (Look for the theme of “Chicago-style thuggery,” which was bandied about here and there earlier but never quite caught on outside the right-wing echo chamber, to reemerge.) The Republicans play to win.