Wednesday :: Nov 3, 2010

Bad Outcomes

by Steve

I don't want to trample upon Oly Mike's work, but I need to add a few comments before I head off for the day. There is no way Democrats can spin last night's results. Aside from the numerical drubbing they took in the House, Democrats lost all their gains in suburban districts from 2006 and 2008, and more importantly, lost their Rust Belt base as well. The biggest immediate impact is that John Boehner, Corporate America, and the Tea Party are in charge of budget and tax matters for the next two years, as well as the investigative committees. There is no Obama agenda after last night, and he'll follow his appeasement instincts and start dismantling things, in the name of "working together" with those who have publicly stated their intent to terminate his presidency.

As for the Senate, the talking heads at MSNBC missed a critical point last night: if Democratic control of the body comes down to relying upon Joe Lieberman, then say hello to Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. Frankly, I don't trust Ben Nelson for that matter. Unless the Democrats get Murray and Bennet re-elected, all bets are off. The operational impact there is that there will be no more Obama judicial nominees unless they are center-right, meaning that once again the Democratic base loses out on getting pro-consumer judges put back into the federal court system.

If 2008 was truly a change election, and the jury is still out on that as far as I am concerned, Barack Obama's only essential job functions for his first two years were to deal with the economy, and to cement in the gains from 2006 and 2008 so that a stable Democratic majority could take hold and begin repairing the damage from the last 15-20 years. He did neither of these things and instead governed for his legacy and his image, and now he finds himself playing defense with no agenda and no clue how to deal strategically with an opposition dedicated to his destruction. His best option now as I said last week is to play effective defense, and focus on the economy and middle class jobs above all else. Yet I fear we'll see a nauseating repetition of the "What, you don't want to work together?" behavior that got us here.

The exit polls showed that a large portion of the GOP vote last night was a rejection of Barack Obama, and not necessarily a vote for the GOP. So there are opportunities for Democrats to manuever if they focus on what matters and counterpunch against the real GOP agenda. Yet the Beltway media is already telling us that Obama lost because he didn't compromise enough, buying the GOP argument lock, stock, and barrel without actually looking at what Obama actually did the first two years.

The Democrats' plight the next two years is somewhat akin to successful sports efforts: work from what you do well as a base, and go after your opponent's weaknesses to put them on the defensive. In other words, keep it simple and focus on your strengths and their weaknesses. It's something Barack Obama completely ignored, and now must learn on the job.

Steve :: 7:35 AM :: Comments (19) :: TrackBack (0) :: Digg It!