Tuesday 24 Jul 2018 | 01:39 | SYDNEY
Tuesday 24 Jul 2018 | 01:39 | SYDNEY

US mid-terms: A selection of punditry


Sam Roggeveen


4 November 2010 09:44

The Nelson Report:

First, and very broadly, for Asia and trade interests, there seems no question that the Republican takeover of the House should make it far easier for Obama to pursue a more proactive trade agenda as part of his goal to increase exports as a key domestic economic boost.

John Judis:

...if I am right about the fundamental problems that this nation suffers from at home and overseas, then any politician’s or political party’s victory is likely to prove short-lived. If you want to imagine what American politics will be like, think about Japan. Japan had a remarkably stable leadership from the end of World War II until their bubble burst in the 1990s. As the country has stumbled over the last two decades, unable finally to extricate from its slump, it has suffered through a rapid of succession of leaders, several of whom, like Obama, have stirred hopes of renewal and reform, only to create disillusionment and despair within the electorate.

Greg Sheridan:

The disillusion with Obama seems savage and frankly a bit exaggerated. But the moral, I guess, is that he who runs like a celebrity dies like a celebrity. I don't mean that Obama conducts himself in any personal sense like a celebrity. But in his campaign for the presidency he seemed to be presented as a cross between Oprah Winfrey and the Pope. People invested all their hopes, all their vicarious identity, their very emotional being, in him. No politician can ever live up to those sorts of dreams. People elect them and then find life hasn't changed at all, and the object of their affection, the embodiment of their adulation, is reduced to talking about taxes and legislation and Predator drones and all the other boring stuff of politics and government.

There was something of this in the Kevin07 hysteria surrounding Kevin Rudd's candidacy in 2007, whereas a plainer politician such as John Howard runs only as an honest man who can bring the budget into balance, keep defence strong and maybe cut your taxes a bit. He's not going to transform your soul but if everything goes right he might run the country OK and perhaps, as a bonus, you'll feel some pride in his performance.

Dan Drezner:

Congress doesn't have too much sway over foreign policy. Sure, things like foreign aid and treaty ratification rely on the legislature, and the election results will affect those dimensions of foreign policy. But think back to 1994 and 2006, in which both houses of Congress turned over to the opposition party. Was there any real change in U.S. foreign and security policy' The Clinton administration was still able to send troops to Bosnia, and the Bush administration was able to launch its "surge" strategy.

Foreign economic policy might be an exception. After both of those elections, the president found it harder to get trade deals through Congress. Given that this president hasn't been all that keen about trade anyway, I don't think the midterms will matter all that much -- though the South Korea-United States Free Trade Agreement (KORUS) might finally be put to a vote with the hope of securing GOP support.