Post Mortem #2: The Impending Democratic Armageddon
While the mainstream media- an unofficial arm of the Democratic Party- contemplates an alleged civil war within the Republican Party, largely overlooked is the impending battle within the Democratic Party. Unfortunately, that final battle may have been delayed two years by the voters of Nevada, particularly the lackey union members and Hispanics who fell for the garbage of Harry Reid. Had Reid lost to Angle and the Democrats remained in the majority in the Senate, there would have been a fight for Majority Leader. That battle was shaping up as Chuck Schumer of New York versus Dick Durbin of Illinois. Durbin is considered a staunch liberal. Schumer is considered less liberal, from everything I have read, which tells you something about how out of touch the Democratic Party is when they can consider Schumer to the right of Durbin.
That battle would have underscored the real political civil war taking place (again!) in the Democratic Party. The finger pointing has begun, but there is one common theme and bogeyman. The liberal wing believes that Barack Obama failed to capitalize on his political capital and force through a more aggressively liberal agenda. Wow! As if the government take over of the auto industry, odious banking reform, an energy policy based on questionable science, the government take-over of the health care industry, and over a trillion dollars in deficit spending is not liberal enough, they wanted more! To these people, they probably would want a government take over of the media and internet to silence the voice of opposition, unionization of all industries, protectionist trade policies, more spending of our money in a further attempt at wealth redistribution, and on and on.
Meanwhile, our esteemed President looks down his Ivy League-educated elite nose and accuses the bulk of America of “clinging to guns and Bibles.” He has psychoanalyzed the American electorate, describing them as irrational because they are scared and therefore, that is the real reason voters turned the House over to the Republicans and they lost 6 seats in the Senate. To Obama and company, it had nothing really to do with their policies. To them, it was a communication problem. To them, the best way to legislate is to pass something first in the name of victory and fix it later. They work under the erroneous assumption that people will come to accept their garbage encapsulated in over 2500 pages of something they pass off as “health care reform.” Despite a year of campaigning for health care reform and giving over 100 speeches and interviews- including a televised health care summit snorefest- the communication was there, but people still rejected it. Yet, the liberal wing of the Democratic Party wants to double down on spending and the nationalization of industries. To them, the Democratic Party squandered a great opportunity to reshape America in their socialist vision.
Then there are the moderates in the party who feel betrayed by Obama. Entering office, Obama promised bipartisanship- despite the large Democratic majorities in both houses of Congress. It did not take long for that dream to be shattered. I distinctly remember his address to Democratic lawmakers on their retreat somewhere in Maryland or Virginia when he jokingly looked at the camera with a message to the Republicans that drew applause and guffaws from the Democrats assembled: “Listen folks…we won the election.” So much for bipartisanship. The next time, Obama should just look in the camera and say, “Hey, Republicans…” then raise his middle finger.
Look at the results of the elections this year. The Blue Dog Democratic Coalition- a collection of allegedly fiscally conservative Democrats (unless they can wrangle a deal)- is decimated with half their ranks defeated at the polls. Despite being scared and clinging to guns and Bibles, it is apparent that the American electorate still has the capacity to recognize hypocrisy when they see it. Yet, Obama characterizes the losses of the Democrats as attributable to a communication problem.
Many Democrats made difficult choices and cast difficult votes over the past two years. They laid their political necks on the line to pass cap-and-trade legislation (thankfully languishing in the Senate), a do-nothing economic stimulus package laden with pay offs to Democratic constituencies, and Obamacare and all the negative side-effects that entails. And they paid dearly for it on November 2nd when they lost their jobs. It is interesting to note that even many Congressmen who voted against the Obama liberal agenda items also lost their jobs. That can only be interpreted as not only was liberalism dealt a blow, but the entire Democratic brand is now tarnished entering the 2012 election cycle which began on November 3, 2010.
The result is that both factions- the liberal wing represented by the likes of Dick Durbin and the more moderate wing represented by Evan Bayh- are now pointing their fingers straight at the White House. It is not a complaint that he did too little too late. The liberals complain that not enough was done while his popularity ratings were high. The moderates complain that he had misdirected priorities, that he failed to focus on the economy and jobs while pushing through cap-and-trade in the House and Obamacare, both actual job-killers that will result in increased medical insurance costs and energy costs for every American.
So as he described, he did take a “shellacking” on Election Day. Some Senate seats were saved- Boxer in California, Bennett in Colorado, and possibly Murray in Washington. These are phyric victories. Losing his former seat in Illinois and despite three trips to Pennsylvania since Labor Day, losing a seat in Pennsylvania is damaging enough. Manchin won in West Virginia by running away from the Obama agenda. Possibly illegally dabbling in elections in Pennsylvania during the Democratic primary (this must be investigated!) shows the Democratic desperation. Trying to get Kendrick Meek to withdraw in Florida puts an exclamation mark on that desperation. If Obama was the strong President and Democratic leader portrayed when he entered office, he has now managed to tarnish the Democratic brand now and in the future. Already there are inklings that Howard Dean and possibly Hillary Clinton might actually challenge Obama for the Democratic nomination in 2012. Forget about the comparisons to Jimmy Carter. The economy and Obama’s policies towards it are akin to Johnson’s Vietnam problem.
As further proof that the Democrats were rocked by the results of this election, the fact that many in Congress are now pointing the finger at Pelosi and possibly challenging her leadership role in the minority now illustrates a rift that runs deep in the party. While they can over-analyze the results of Republican gains as a “rift” in the Republican Party, they overlook the very real rift within their own party. I have respect for Lindsay Graham. During the health care debate, I e-mailed his office regarding my support. Despite having a policy of not responding to non-South Carolinians, his office sent me a letter thanking me for my support. OK- it wasn’t really his signature, but a stamp, but it was a response nevertheless. Conversely, when I e-mailed and snail-mailed my Senators- Robert Menendez and Frank Lautenberg- I got NO response from either. That being said, Graham needs to keep his criticisms regarding the electability of candidates in check.
By sticking to the real issues facing Americans everywhere, the GOP can make additional gains in the next two years. And once the political process has worked its way through, Republicans need to coalesce around the annointed candidate. The time for the philosophical battles is in the primaries, not the general election. And if that means biting the bullet and supporting a Ken Buck, Sharron Angle or Christine O’Donnell, then Republicans need to respect the choice of the primary voters in the respective states. Democrats will, of course, try to deviate from the message with charges of prosecutorial malfeasance, or being out of the mainstream, or even accusations of anti-masturbation witches. And that works both ways. Despite how any Republican feels about Olympia Snowe or Kay Bailey Hutchison in 2012, should they win their primaries, the GOP apparatus owes their support to those candidates who stand as the Republican nominee after the primaries in Maine and Texas. Let the Democratic rift play its way out to their detriment. Their differences run deeper than any in the Republican Party.