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It occurs to me that I did make an election prediction back on October 17:

… I'm pretty much fretful that, no matter who wins, they'll invariably think they've won for the wrong reason.

Interpreted generously, this doesn't appear to have been badly off-target. Specifically, the electoral victors and their hangers-on seem to be teeming with bad ideas.

  • Via Virginia Postrel there's one indication of that in a Slate article by Jacob Weisberg, describing the "economic nationalism" of many of the victorious:

    Many of the Democrats who recaptured seats held by Republicans have been described as moderates or social conservatives, who will be out of synch with Speaker-to-be Nancy Pelosi. The better term, with props to Fareed Zakaria, is probably illiberal Democrats. Most of those who reclaimed Republican seats ran hard against free trade, globalization, and any sort of moderate immigration policy. That these Democrats won makes it likely that others will take up their reactionary call. Some of the newcomers may even be foolish enough to try to govern on the basis of their misguided theory.

    … but there's more substance than name-calling later in the article. You should also read Mickey Kaus for a needed distinction (ignored by Weisberg) between immigration law enforcement and protectionism.

  • It's not all semi-sensible at Slate, though. Timothy Noah giddily pens an article titled "Time To Socialize Medicine". Despite (as he admits): (a) socialized medicine was not a major, or even a minor, issue in the campaign; (b) the last big push for it in the 90s was a major cause of the GOP takeover of the House in 1994.

  • Of course, the Dems don't have to outright socialize medicine to mess things up, healthwise. Greg Mankiw notes that while the day-after-election overall stock market was up by 0.2%, the shares of four large pharmaceutical companies declined by 1.05% to 3.4%. Prof Mankiw speculates:

    The Dems will likely give us lower drug prices and less research into new drugs. Good news if you plan to be sick soon. Bad news if you plan to be sick in the more distant future.

    So plan accordingly!

  • I only got my prediction half right, though. I should have added there's a good chance the losers will also take the wrong lessons from their loss. Daniel Henninger looks at Dubya's recent foreign policy signals, detects wobbling, and is pessimistic.

    George Bush's foreign policy is at a tipping point. The administration's thinking on Iran and North Korea looks stalemated. He has taken to talking about the need for "fresh eyes" on Iraq. Looking back over the roster of the Iraq Survey Group, I'd say the eyes focused on his foreign-policy legacy, all essentially retired from public life, are anything but fresh. In response to Tuesday's election, House Republicans are about to usher in a younger generation of political thinkers. If he really wants to refresh his presidency, Mr. Bush should start looking in the same direction.

    That would be nice, but it's hard to see it happening.

  • [Christine and some hapless bastard] And, since I'm in prediction-reviewing mode, I was totally wrong (and mean-spirited) last Novermber when I deemed the newlywed young man pictured at right to be a "hapless bastard" in for an (estimated) six months' "all-expense-paid tour of Hell." In fact, scanning the gossippers, I can't see any indications of anything besides continued matrimonial bliss, while similar marriages have crashed and burned around them. Best wishes to Christina and Jordan on the upcoming one-year anniversary.

Bottom line: predictions are difficult, especially about the future.

Last Modified 2012-10-21 12:48 PM EDT