Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Pass the popcorn!

Now this is fun. Jim VandeHei and Mike Allen look at who will blame whom if the Democrats lose as badly as the polls are indicating they will on November 2. If the Democrats lose the House, the House Democrats will blame Obama. Rahm Emanuel will blame the "professional left" which will, in turn, blame him. Lots of people will blame the White House staff as if this is a problem of communication rather than substance. The White House communications staff will blame the media and Keith Olberman will blame Fox News. Hey, won't anyone blame Nancy Pelosi?

Of course, if the Democrats keep the House, we can all point fingers at Michael Steele, the Tea Partiers, or the GOP leadership.

But remember how forlorn any hopes of taking back the House would have been this time two years ago. Who would have thought that the GOP would have been in the position to win 40 or more seats just 18 months after the most ballyhooed president ever was sworn into office and stood poised to roll back the oceans? And for that rolling earthquake in politics, the Democrats will have a lot of blame game to go around. They had the torch and they failed. And however they want to circle around and fire at each other, they have no one but themselves to blame. Yes, the economy stinks and they can't realistically point to anything they've done that has changed things around. And then there is ObamaCare. Michael Barone has to reach back to 1854 to find a more unpopular bill.
I think what we're seeing is a rejection of the Obama Democrats' big-government policies. The president and his party thought that in times of economic distress most voters would be supportive of or at least amenable to a vast expansion of the size and scope of government.

They jammed the Senate version of their health care bill through the House in March, in the face of the clear opposition signaled by the voters of Massachusetts as well as every public opinion poll. I can't think of a more unpopular major measure passed by Congress since the Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854.

Back then the Democrats also had supermajorities in both houses of Congress and a young, previously little-known president who had defeated an aging war hero by a decisive margin. They realized that the Kansas-Nebraska Act promoting slavery in the territories would raise some hackles, but expressed confidence that voters would accept it when it was properly explained to them.

They didn't. Voters reduced the number of Democratic House members from 159 to 83, nearly eliminating the party in much of the North. Democrats didn't win a House majority for the next 20 years.

Today House Democrats have more money than their opponents and, unlike 1994, they've known for months that they might be in peril. They know that Republicans remain unpopular and hoped their own numbers would improve. But instead they're plunging to historic depths. Time for triage.
And it won't help their chances when the Democratic candidate for the Senate in Pennsylvania characterizes the Democratic attempts to pivot to the economy today as mere political opportunism.
Senate hopeful Rep. Joe Sestak (D) of Pennsylvania today backed President Obama’s call on Labor Day for $50 billion in new stimulus spending to create infrastructure jobs – and, anticipating the president’s speech in Cleveland on Thursday, another $200 billion in research-and-development tax credits for business.

But in a campaign seasons where the polls are running hard against incumbent Democrats, Congressman Sestak says he wishes his party’s focus on jobs had come about 18 months earlier – and not just because the polls have gone south.

“Why now? We’re doing it for the polls, we should be doing it because it’s the right thing to do,” he said in a speech on the economy at Carnegie Mellon University.
They're "doing it for the polls." Straight from a donkey's mouth.