The midterm referendum on Obama



9 November 2010

A conversation with Professor James Fallows, US Studies Centre and correspondent for The Atlantic, and Professor Morris Fiorina, Hoover Institution Stanford University.

Only two years after the sky high expectations surrounding his historic election as US President, Barack Obama’s Democrats suffered stunning losses in this month’s midterm congressional elections. Despite getting out of Iraq, making sure the GFC did not become a second depression, and passing major health care and financial reform, the US remains mired in deep economic trouble and Obama apparently can do nothing to stop the Tea Party-catalyzed rout.

Two of the US’s most experienced and distinguished political analysts discussed what happened and why, what the midterm rebuke means for the Obama presidency and American politics, and what the future holds for Australia-US relations.

Co-presented with Sydney Ideas at the University of Sydney.


  • James Fallows
    National Correspondent, The Atlantic

    James Fallows was the former Chair in US Media (2009-2013) and a Visiting Professor (2013-2015) at the US Studies Centre.

    He is currently the National Correspondent for The Atlantic Monthly magazine. As one of the world's leading journalists, Fallows is the author of nine books and over two hundred articles on a wide variety of topics, including US national security policy, the US Congress, Iraq, Japan, the future of print media, and the future of airline travel. Earlier in his career, Fallows served as the Chief Speechwriter for President Jimmy Carter.

  • Professor Morris Fiorina
    Wendt Family Professor of Political Science, Stanford University

    Morris P. Fiorina was a visitor at the US Studies Centre in 2010. Fiorina is the Wendt Family Professor of Political Science at Stanford University and a Senior Fellow of the Hoover Institution. Fiorina has written widely on American politics, with special emphasis on the study of representation and elections. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Academy of Political and Social Sciences and the National Academy of Sciences. In 2006, the Elections, Public Opinion, and Voting Behavior Section of the American Political Science Association awarded him the Warren E. Miller Prize for career contributions to the field.