Nine Ways the Democrats and their Friends in the Press Will Spin the Election Results
In the context of historic midterm elections, it's not that big a deal. Expect to hear a lot of this one if the Democrats hold on to control of the Senate. In 1994, President Clinton and his Democratic Party lost both the House and the Senate to the Republicans. And Mr. Clinton didn't even get his health care bill passed. As recently as 2006, President George W. Bush and his Republican Party lost control of both the House and the Senate. In 1946, Harry Truman and his Democratic Party lost both the House and the Senate to the Republicans. And in 1954, Dwight Eisenhower and his Republicans lost both the House and the Senate to the Democrats.
The Democrats have been saying all along that between the financial "reform," ObamaCare, and the stimulus, they've had the most domestic achievements since the New Deal; it's not surprising that the public reaction is similar; Franklin Roosevelt's Democratic Party lost 72 seats in the 1938 midterm elections for the House of Representatives, which is more than most predict Obama and his Democrats will lose. Bottom line spin: Obama did better than Clinton, George W. Bush, Eisenhower, Truman, or FDR.
The foreigners bought the election. See President Obama's claim that "groups that receive foreign money are spending huge sums to influence American elections." He wasn't talking about the Sierra Club or about the Mexican Carlos-Slim-backed New York Times. Expect to see this as the rationale for a renewed post-election push for campaign finance "reform."
The Republicans won, but they have no mandate. Example: John McCormick and Heidi Przybyla in an October 28 Bloomberg News article under the headline "Republicans Win, Get No Mandate in Poll Favoring Clinton."
The voters are ignorant. Example: Hendrik Hertzberg, writing in the November 1 New Yorker: "Even among the small minority of voters who have some familiarity with Senate rules and their baneful consequences, few know that the Democrats had their filibuster-proof majority—sixty votes, not all of them reliable—for just seven of the Obama Administration's twenty-one months."
Another example: John McCormick and Heidi Przybyla in an October 29 Bloomberg News article that runs under the headline "Poll: Americans Don't Know Economy Expanded With Tax Cuts." The article explains that while "The Obama administration cut taxes for middle-class Americans, expects to make a profit on the hundreds of billions of dollars spent to rescue Wall Street banks and has overseen an economy that has grown for the past five quarters," Americans somehow haven't gotten the message.
And, related, it was a communications problem. "You can't be neglecting of marketing and P.R," is how President Obama put it in his interview with the New York Times, conveniently absolving his policies from any blame.
Obama wasn't "liberal" enough. The stimulus was too small and too focused on tax cuts rather than spending, as New York Times columnist, Paul Krugman endlessly argues. The president went too easy on the Wall Street banks in financial "reform" and too easy on the drug companies and insurance companies in health care reform, as Jon Stewart suggested in his interview of Mr. Obama. He failed to energize labor union support by putting on the back burner their "card check" legislation to bypass secret ballot elections in union organizing campaigns. A lot of the Democrats losing House seats are more moderate "Blue Dog" Democrats; they lost because they were too moderate, not too left wing, this argument goes. Expect to hear this from Robert Reich, the Nation magazine and from the Economic Policy Institute in Washington.
Obama is still the front-runner for 2012. By this reasoning, the 2010 election results were a repudiation of Congressional Democrats such as Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, but not of the president himself, who is more personally popular than congressional leaders of either party and who is polling well against the tired field of potential Republican challengers for the presidency in 2012, each of whom has significant flaws. Example: The Washington Post's David Broder, the "dean" of the Washington press corps, writing recently: "Obama can still storm back to win a second term in 2012. He is that much better than the competition. In what respects is he enduringly superior? Let's start with the basics. He is much smarter than his challengers in either party, better able to read the evidence and come to the right conclusions."
It was the fault of Summers/Emanuel/Orszag/ Insert the name of (preferably Jewish) departed staff scapegoat here. Example: President Obama's "Heck of a job" comment about Larry Summers to Jon Stewart. What are staff for if not to blame when things go wrong? If George W. Bush could fire Donald Rumsfeld to help deflect blame for Iraq, President Obama can replace his own political and economic team while still looking presidential. He can even claim he's being bipartisan by following Republican John Boehner's advice to fire his whole economic team.
It's Bush's fault. This was a big winner for Mr. Obama and the Democrats in 2008 so don't be surprised to see him try it again the morning after the election of 2010. He's never really stopped blaming Bush. Here he is in a speech yesterday in Cleveland: "We had a recession that was so bad we lost 4 million jobs before Joe and I were even sworn into office… We lost almost 8 million jobs before our economic policies could even be put into place…. the Republican leaders in Washington, they had a different calculation. Their basic theory was, you know what, the economy is so bad, we made such a mess of things, that rather than cooperate, we'll be better off just saying no to everything. We'll be better off not even trying to fix the economy. And people will get angry and they will get frustrated and maybe two years from now they will have forgotten that we were the ones who caused the mess in the first place."
What you probably won't hear, at least from many Democrats, is any admission that President Obama and his allies in Congress overreached by pushing a big-government agenda on a country skeptical of centralized government planning and bureaucracy and tired of excessive government spending.
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