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The Makings of a Perfect Storm

During last year’s election cycle, the perfect storm was created, and Democrats from the Roundhouse to the White House prevailed. Come the day after the election, there were some lost seats that astounded everyone:

Nobody thought Karen Giannini was going to win.

Not local political junkies (like us at NMI) watching tight races on election night; not her new Democratic colleagues in the state House of Representatives; and certainly not her incumbent opponent, Rep. Justine Fox-Young, who was sitting in what everyone considered a safe Republican seat.

But somehow this Air Force veteran and divorced mother of three defied all odds and expectations by beating her well-financed incumbent opponent.

And she did it without spending a dime.

Of course, next year’s election is shaping up to be a little different. There are no indications on Main Street USA that the economy is improving. Quite the contrary, with even the Administration having to admit that the massive bailouts have been a failure. Instead of creating 3.5 million new jobs as promised, the bailouts, at best, have saved or created 600,000 jobs:

Just 10 days before taking office, Obama’s top economic advisers released a report predicting unemployment would remain at 8 percent or below through this year if an economic stimulus plan won congressional approval.

Yet the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that unemployment in May rose to 9.4 percent.

Biden said the White House is keenly aware of the gap between the rhetoric used to sell fast passage of the legislation and the reality that has 14.5 million people unemployed. The administration had predicted that the stimulus bill would create or save as many as 3.5 million jobs.

14.5 million people in America are now unemployed, and what lays ahead in the future? Well, for the answer we go straight to the top:

President Barack Obama offered stern words for Wall Street and a prediction of 10 percent U.S. unemployment even as he said the “engines” of an economic recovery have begun to turn.

Now, I know that some of you will consider leaving comments that unemployment is a lagging indicator, and that the economy is turning around. Personally, I don’t think so, but honestly, it’s nothing more than an academic discussion. What’s important is the political reality come Election Day 2010.

All of these people are not going to suddenly be employed by that point, and the people’s concerns quelled. Hungry, unemployed people really don’t care about lagging indicators. They care about providing for their families. In fact, if the public opinion trends continue, we have the makings of a Jimmy Carter situation:

Nearly seven in 10 survey respondents said they had concerns about federal interventions into the economy, including Mr. Obama’s decision to take an ownership stake in General Motors Corp., limits on executive compensation and the prospect of more government involvement in health care. The negative feeling toward the GM rescue was reflected elsewhere in the survey as well.

A solid majority — 58% — said that the president and Congress should focus on keeping the budget deficit down, even if takes longer for the economy to recover.

Yet, Congress is going to keep on spending because that is what Congress does – at least of late. We’ve got bigger and bigger and vastly more expensive programs coming down the pike. Now, you couple these federal problems with the never ever ending list of political scandals plaguing the Land of Enchantment, and you have the makings of a new perfect storm.

A storm where those that were swept in the last election cycle with little to no effort, could very easily find themselves just as quickly swept out. With this being the case, it’s probably no surprise that new candidates for the Roundhouse are starting to emerge at what may seem to many a very early date. Take for example Nate Gentry, a former aide to Senator Domenici, who has already launched his website to take on the accidental incumbent noted at the beginning of this post in House District 30.

Let the games begin.