So let’s talk politics on this semi-Super Primary Tuesday
We’ll start with Sean Trende at RCP who wonders if 2010 is Anti-incumbent, anti-liberal or anti-Democrat. Trende treats us to a very long and analytical argument which can be summed up with “yes, to all three questions”. Trende is of the opinion that Democrats could lose up to 60 plus seats. Newt Gingrich says 70 plus. I’m sticking with at least enough to make Nancy Pelosi something other than 3 heart-beats away from the Presidency. And I’ll be honest – I’m sort of hoping the Dems retain the majority in the Senate. Anyway, read Trende’s article, see if you agree.
Next up is Howard Fineman who is pretty sure that Obama’s strategy for the midterms is to run against the GOP. He sort of fired that first shot today when he said, in a speech, that if the GOP had had its way and his stimulus had not passed unemployment would be a lot worse than it is today. I’m sure someone will remind him soon of his claim that if the stimulus was passed, unemployment wouldn’t go past 8%. He also apparently challenged the GOP, in a speech in Youngstown today, to tell the workers in a steel plant he was touring “why doing nothing would be better for America”.
Here’s a wild stab – we wouldn’t be up to our asses in trillions of dollars of new debt we can’t afford and looking down a budgetary road that promises trillions more of debt we can’t afford.
But hey, that’s just me. Meanwhile, back to Fineman:
Two years later the president is tentatively unveiling the strategy he and fellow Democrats will pursue in this fall’s election season, and it has a heavy dose of … looking backward. It’s going to be as much about history as hope, and more about attacking Republicans than promoting his own vision. The goal is to give pause to independent voters eager to punish Obama for their economic insecurity by voting for GOP candidates. The message: we can’t return power to the very people who gave us the catastrophic Great Recession to begin with.
Does he honestly think that will sell? Seriously now … does anyone think that trying to blame the other party two years into your presidency and 4 years into a Democratic Congress is going to fool anyone but those who want to be fooled? If I were a member of the GOP I’d pray he did this – it would effectively kill the hope and change meme and squarely plant him in the “old style” politician he said he wasn’t. It’s also a strategy that says he can’t run on his record.
Peter Wallsten has a WSJ piece in which he claims Democrats face a threat from their own base. I heard a Pennsylvania Democrat say today he was voting for Arlen Specter because Pat Toomey, the Republican Senatorial nominee, polled much better against Specter than he does against Sestak. Wallsten claims the rebellion is brewing “among white, working-class voters” – the “bitter clingers” of the past campaign. They’re fed up with the Democrats and Obama.
Lloyd Briggs said he is “fed up” with Washington over the Wall Street bailouts. Peggy Cendarski frets that the Democrats’ “unfair” health-care overhaul will punish those who already have good insurance coverage.
These and other Democratic voters in this blue-collar town said they are ready for a change in Washington. Some are open to backing Democratic challengers to lawmakers the party has supported for many years, and some said they may leave the party entirely come November.
There isn’t any apparent passion for Democrats in PA, although there are some very interesting races. But it is clear that what Democrats have done in the past year – with bailouts and huge spending sprees – has not resonated among the base.
More than a third of Democrats, for example, feel their own party members in Congress are “more concerned about the interests of large corporations” than those of average Americans, according to a Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll released last week.
Not good news for Democratic incumbents, and I might add, not good news for a strategy that plans to call out the GOP for not voting to bail out Wall Street.
So watch the races carefully that are being voted today. They will provide an indicator of the mood of the country (as if VA, NJ and MA haven’t already given us an inkling). I’m particularly interested in the PA race (both senatorial and Murtha’s old district), KY (Rand Paul) and AR (Lincoln). We’ll talk about them tomorrow – but in the meantime, mull all of this over and remember it as we watch the year unfold toward the mid-terms.
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