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By Anonymous Mike, pseudonymously.

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Saturday, November 8, 2008
Events Dear Boy

I discussed earlier in the week the things that could stop the Democratic juggernaut, or if you like the new era of hope and change, come January. I mentioned the phenomena of events and I thought I would elaborate here.

The title is taken from a quote from Harold Macmillan who assumed the British premiership and was asked what could derail his government. Supermac should know; his predecessor lasted less than 2 years in the job due to the Suez Crisis. John McCain could have told you about events. His campaign was cruising along on a massive post-convention surge until the Lehman Brothers/AIG crises triggered the financial meltdown that in large part doomed his candidacy.

Somewhere Obama or perhaps the Democrats as a whole have a plan for "hope" and "change." Let's say they can overcome all the other obstacles that I listed and are able to transform their electoral coalition into a governing one. Then, even after all of that, they are still at the mercy of events that could come as suddenly as Lehman Brothers.

There could be a scandal in the Administration; even if the President is squeaky clean it doesn't mean all his people are. People could emerge from Obama's past, what if the good Reverend Wright makes another public appearance or if Rezko's continued pre-sentence singing is suddenly heard in Washington. Probable? I doubt it but you get the idea, every administration seems to be tripped up by such things.

Additional financial shocks beyond the control of an Obama Administration, say on Wall Street or even in other parts of the world, could extend or deepen the recession forcing the Democrats to shelve plans for additional spending or anti-business measures.

More likely the events will come in the arena of foreign policy. The world is, after all, full of actors with their own agendas. This was demonstrated this week by Russia's decision to move Iskander missiles to the Kaliningrad enclave supposedly in response to the proposed missile shield but more than likely as a way of driving a wedge into NATO. It was only a few months ago that Russia invaded Georgia and no doubt it still has further designs in its "near abroad." That's not to mention all the other hot spots.... Iraq, a nuclear and terror-enabled Iran, the stability of nuclear-armed Pakistan. Afghanistan, Taiwan, North Korea, Venezuela... Keep in mind that a number of those countries depend on oil revenues for their stability and with the recent plunge in oil prices may slip into turmoil

A good deal of the Obama campaign appeal was a lower military posture in the world, a kinder and more huggable America. Also a number of domestic spending programs implicitly rely on dollars freed up from the defense budget and a winding down of the Iraq War.

So what happens when, not if, events don't go along with what the Democrats want? Do they change course or plunge straight ahead?

Remember part of the Democrats' collective history was the moment in 1993 when another Democratic president cut back an ambitious domestic program coupled with tax cuts out of fears of how the bond market would react. Some have vowed that never again would they trim back a transformational program for such crass and passing concerns, we shall see.