Midterm Tea Leaves (or: The People Are Pissed Off)

Here's Charlie Cook's take (link):

When one party has control of the White House and both chambers of Congress, a midterm election is pretty much a referendum on that party. The electorate's anti-everything mood is likely to manifest itself only one way in November -- that is, against Democrats. Between now and then, however, a different dynamic could be in play. Republicans in particular should watch upcoming primaries apprehensively to see whether their party is nominating candidates with the potential to attract broad-based support and take full advantage of the anti-Democratic tide, or if it is opting for candidates who might be too extreme even in what should be a great year for the GOP.

But have no doubt: The anger is real. The only question is precisely how it will be channeled.

I've been reading this kind of thing all year and will probably continue to read it.  Here's the part I don't entirely get:

But on some level, much of the anger at Washington is the result of the Troubled Asset Relief Program and several bailouts and takeovers, which, even if designed imperfectly, did in fact save our economic system from tipping over into an abyss. Yet the current General Motors ads in which the company's CEO explains that the automaker has paid back government loans, with interest, five years early don't seem to be having much effect on public opinion.

It is enlightening to listen to pollsters talk about the difficulty of explaining to average Americans that many of these extraordinary measures had to be taken -- some by President George W. Bush's administration and others under President Obama -- and actually worked. The fact that the Dow Jones industrial average, which peaked above 14,000 in October 2007 before plunging to 6,600 in March of last year, has bounced back to around 11,000 is remarkable. At certain unnerving points, a second Great Depression had seemed to be a real possibility.

On a fundamental level, I think the problem is trust.  I'm not sure how our institutions go about rebuilding trust, but I'm pretty sure that a GOP wave election isn't what's going to get it started.

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