If you were wondering whether or not the Democrats learned anything – anything at all – from their recent shellacking, stop wondering: they have not.
Because he did ever-so-well in the last election cycle… although I’d like to correct Jim Geraghty’s count slightly on Tim Kaine’s Litany of Failure: Jim was only looking at the 2010 results. If you add in everything since the 2008 election cycle then you can add 2 governorships lost to the GOP and one Senate seat (the special election House results were pretty much a wash). This despite the DNC out-raising the RNC in 2010 by almost 40 million dollars, mind you; which makes it even more embarrassing, if such a thing is really possible.
So why are the Democrats doing this? Because Tim Kaine is the President’s creature, of course – and right now President Obama is starting to strip down the Democratic party to its essentials for the 2012 elections. ‘Essentials’ being defined as ‘everything that will help to reelect President Obama,’ of course. And, in a detached sort of way, this makes sense. The House is unlikely to flip yet again in 2012; and there are just too many Democrat Senate seats at risk and not enough Republican ones to justify a bold defensive strategy there. There are only eleven governors’ races in 2012 – and of them, the most important ones are North Carolina and Indiana’s. In short, the Presidential race is pretty much the only one – in the opinion of the President, and his allies in the Democrats’ Inner Party – that matters in 2012, and that can be really affected on a meta-level by resource allocation. So it’s smart for them to keep in place somebody who is reliable, even if he’s not skilled: nobody expects Tim Kaine to think.
And that’s why I stated that the Democrats have learned nothing from their shellacking – more accurately, their Outer Party wing has learned nothing. Because if they had, they would have recognized by now that their job in 2012 will be what it was in 2010: to soak up political bullets that might have otherwise impacted an Inner Party member. Oh, the Inner Party will sponsor plenty of Two-Minute Hates (that’s good for bringing the money in): but unless your name is Barack Obama, or you’re a candidate in a state that he needs to win, you’re going to be more or less on your own. It’s like triage, except that the people doing the triaging are themselves among the wounded.
So wait, no, it’s actually ‘despotism’ and/or ‘thuggery.’ My mistake.
Moe Lane (crosspost)