This will go down as one of those, “Pigs Flying” “Snowballs in Hell” moments in journalism. Time Magazine, home of the progressive whoppers has written about the mid-term elections and have said that the Democrats are in a state of panic.
Under pressure, the Democrats are cracking. On both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue, there is a realization that Nancy Pelosi’s hold on the speakership is in true jeopardy; that losing control of the Senate is not out of the question; and that time, once the Democrats’ best friend, is now their mortal enemy. Since January, when Scott Brown won Ted Kennedy’s Massachusetts Senate seat, the President’s party has tried to downplay in public what its pollsters have been saying in private: that Obama’s alienation of independents and white voters, along with the enthusiasm gap between the right and the left, means that Republicans are on a trajectory to pick up massive numbers of House and Senate seats, perhaps even to regain control of Congress.
In fact, many pundits show that not only are the progressive Democratic in danger of losing the House of Representatives, but some see a path for the GOP to take over the senate.
Evidence of the pervasiveness of this view: Sunday’s New York Times op-ed page, which featured a series of short essays from leading Democratic and Republican strategists about how Obama could go about staging a political comeback, focused not on November’s midterms but on 2012 — an indication that Washington conventional wisdom has already written off prospects of Democrats sustaining a majority in the legislature
Republicans should not however pop the champagne bottles yet, the only way to guarantee that victory is to keep the pressure on.
Two more pieces of good news for the GOP came out today. Rasmussen reports that republicans have increased their lead in the generic ballot to 9 percentage points over the Democrats. Amongst independents, the deciding factor in most elections the GOP has a 26% (47-21%) lead.
Also today the Wall Street Journal is reporting that some Republicans see a path to winning the senate.
Time Magazine says that the only thing keeping congressional Democrats from jumping out the window or staging an open revolt is that there is still time to turn things around, and the White House has a plan–blame Bush.
The two-part scheme was pretty straightforward. First, Democrats planned a number of steps to head off, or at least soften, the anti-Washington, anti-incumbent, anti-Obama sentiment that cost them the Massachusetts seat. Pass health care, and other measures to demonstrate that Democrats could get things done for the middle class; continue to foster those fabled green shoots on the economy, harvesting the positive impact of the massive economic stimulus bill passed early in the Administration; heighten the contrast between the two parties by delivering on Wall Street reform and a campaign-funding law to counteract January’s controversial Supreme Court decision. Use all of those elements to contrast the Democrats’ policies under Obama with the Republicans’ policies under Bush, rather than allow the midterms to be a referendum on the incumbent party.
The second strand of the Democrats’ plan was more prosaic and mechanical. Recruit strong candidates for open seats. Leverage the White House and congressional majorities to raise more money than the other side. Make mischief by playing up the divisions between the Tea Party and the more traditional elements of the Republican Party, in part to increase the chances that more extreme, less electable candidates edge out moderates in GOP primary battles. Do extensive opposition research and targeted messaging in the fall to delegitimize Republican candidates in the minds of centrist voters. Coordinate below the radar with labor unions, environmentalists and other allies on get-out-the-vote efforts, focusing on young, nonwhite and first-time voters who came out for Obama in 2008.
When Robert Gibbs’ said two weeks ago that the GOP had a chance to win the house, the house Democrats went crazy because it was an clear indication that the first part of the President’s plan (blame Bush) wasn’t working.
Public and private polling suggests that anxiety over the lack of jobs and anger over the big-spending ways of the Administration will trump the merits of the stimulus spending, health care reform and the financial regulation bill in voters’ minds. Neither the economy nor voters’ perceptions are likely to be turned around by Election Day. Congressional Democrats were aware of this hard reality before Gibbs opened his mouth, but having him say it out loud was apparently too much for those on the Hill to bear
Democrats also fear that Gibbs’ admission will impact the flow of donations from corporate interests and lobbyists, who tend to want to bet on the party more likely to win the majority. Open musing about a speaker John Boehner, House Democrats believe, will drive mercenary donors to shift their support to the GOP. The huge fundraising hauls by GOP Senate candidates just reported for the second quarter of the year were not, of course, the result of Gibbs’ statement, but the momentum suggested by those figures could be hypercharged by White House pessimism.
If the money continues to shift away from the Democratic party things will get even worse for the progressive incumbents.
After days of public intraparty acrimony, a cold peace has been restored, with Democrats all around saying they share the same goals and strategy for November. But if the party’s poll numbers stay bad and it loses big, expect a fundamental difference between the White House and congressional Democrats to emerge in sharp relief after Nov. 2.
Even if the midterms end the Democrats’ one-party rule, the President may well believe that his accomplishments during his first two years in office were worth it. But it’s a sure bet that the vanquished House Democrats who lose their jobs and their gavels won’t share that assessment.
Even more so beyond the party losses, will remaining Democrats stay with the President, when they voted for some of his most controversial programs, he promised them it would be OK. Obviously that was a lie, will they believe him about anything else.