This week's elections have spurred extensive soul-searching
by Republicans, but Democrats have reason to reconsider their positions
as well. Election results revealed an excited conservative base, a listless liberal base, and a swath of independent voters
to Republican candidates. Democrats, especially President Obama, remain
popular, but as they continue to press an ambitious agenda, should they
worry about 2010?
- Southern Blue Dogs At Risk Nate Silver suggests the
populist tide put them at risk, but few others. "There's not really any
evidence that the [conservative populist]
movement is yet anything more than an isolated and regional one. It
will almost certainly have some implications in the South -- and if I
were a Democratic Congressman there, I'd be very nervous. But only 18
of the 52 Blue Dogs
in fact come from the South, and if I were a conservative Democrat in
California, or South Dakota, or Michigan, I'd be feeling rather
- The Enthusiasm Gap The Washington Post's E.J. Dionne urges
a return to "the excite-the-base, win-the-middle strategy Democrats
pursued so effectively in 2006 and 2008." Dionne notes "a spirit far
different than the buoyant confidence Obama inspired a
year ago. And the Obama change-agents, particularly the young, were
notably absent from the voting booths this week. In Virginia, a state
Obama carried comfortably last year, a majority of those who showed up
to vote on Tuesday said they had backed John McCain."
- Independents Aren't Moderates The Atlantic's Marc Ambinder cautions against interpreting the Republican tilt shown by Independents as a sign that moderates are fleeing the Democrats. "Yes,
independents are moving to the GOP. That's a big headline. Bad news for
Dems, etc, etc. But. And this is important: these are conservative
independents. Many disassociated with the GOP -- at least in terms of
what they tell pollsters -- because of the GOP brand problems and
because it's cool to be independent in parts of the country and in
parts of states. Don't confuse 'moderates' with 'independents.'"
- Worried? Pass Health Care Steve Benen blasts
"hand-wringing Democratic lawmakers" worried about their 2010
prospects, "nearly all of whom seem to be looking for an excuse not to
do any heavy lifting" on legislation. "Most of the panicky center-right
Dems who want to slam on the brakes
seemed to have no interest at all in generating any excitement within
the Democratic base," Benen writes. "If Dems had lost the special
elections, the weak knees would be
easier to understand. But this year, given a choice, voters sent more Democrats to the Hill, giving the party a better chance at passing its agenda. The party should take 'yes' for an answer."
- Exit Polls Show No Bad News Lots of analysts shrugged off yesterday's results as too local or too inconclusive to matter. In the New York Times, Ruy Tuxeira makes the case with extensive poll-reading. "Besides being far older and whiter than in 2008, the voters in Virginia
on Tuesday said they had supported John McCain last November by 8
points, meaning they were not favorably inclined toward President Obama
to begin with. In fact, given that only 43 percent of these voters said
they supported Mr. Obama last November, his 48 percent approval rating
among them does not indicate a shift away from him but rather toward
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