In recent weeks Democratic leaders seem to be transitioning to a severe case of anxiety neurosis. A few data points:
- August 1, VP Joe Biden uses "terrorists" to describe Republicans in Congress.
- August 20, Rep Maxine Waters: "The Tea Party can go straight to Hell."
- August 29, Rep Andre Carson of the Congressional Black Caucus, some Tea Party members in Congress "would love to see you and me...hanging on a tree."
- September 5, Teamster President Jimmy Hoffa, "lets take these son of bitches out".
- September 5, VP Joe Biden refers to Republicans as "barbarians at the gate".
- September 11, Columnist Paul Krugman, "fake heroes like ... Rudy Giuliani and... George Bush rushed to cash in on the horror."
These may not be total flacks like Keith Olberman, Ed Schultz, Bill Maher, or Randi Rhodes who need incendiary blather to hold minimalist media ratings, but they are at least the "B Team". Republicans' first reaction is to wonder about the hypocrisy of Obama calling for civility or the relative silence of the mainstream media. A bit of reflection:
- The general "of course no reasonable person would think..." has worked for three years in vilifying: anybody who likes Sarah Palin; anybody who wants to know about Obama's early life; anybody who wants a balanced discussion of global warming; for awhile, anybody who liked the Tea Party.
- With President Obama sinking into the low 40's on job approval, unemployment predicted to remain in its current 9.1% range through 2012, no credible plan to revive the economy in the short term or reduce the deficit in the long term, and the Democrats likely to lose the Senate in 2012, the Democrats are in a box, looking for a line of attack that has more to it than just hoping that the Republicans screw up the election. With cheerleaders like the Huffington Post admitting the potential of a wipe-out and Maureen Dowd writing about "One and Done", some are having a breakdown.
- Just maybe, with the Republican congressional win in Brooklyn we are passing from Denial to Anger to Exploration in the "dealing with death" cycle.
- This is just a beginning. With a billion dollar campaign fund and a set of anti-business policies demanded by the environmental and union supporters, there is little choice but for Obama to go negative. And to be fair, just because you think that everybody is out to get you doesn't mean that they are not. this could be the most negative campaign ever.