Monday, November 02, 2009
It Looks Like the Republican Brand Isn't Dead Afterall - Oh What Short Memories Americans Have
Democrats are set to lose two Governors races this week, and both will be viewed by TV and radio pundits as big victories by Republicans and as a barometer for the political climate a year before the 2010 midterm elections. Democrat Creigh Deeds is trailing far behind Republican challenger Bob McDonnell in the Virginia Governors race. Incumbent Democrat Jon Corzine is also trailing his opponent Chris Christie, although that race is closer. But as it stands, it appears that Corzine is likely headed for defeat.
Both local and national politics are at work in these two races, but I believe national politics and the return of the same failed Democratic Party campaign approaches are playing a bigger role. The American public has started to hold Barack Obama responsible for the current economic situation, even though the pain people are feeling stems from the failings of the Bush Administration. This recession began in December of 2007. Americans believed, mistakenly, that jobs would magically appear on Obama's second day on the job. But of course this was never going to happen. With employment being a lagging economic indicator, it will take several months, and perhaps a couple of years, before employment levels return to what they were before the recession. But Americans, with their "I want everything now" thinking, either aren't willing to wait that long, or they don't understand how long it will take before the economy gets back to normal (if it will reach "normal" anytime soon, and assuming that we know what the new "normal" is going to be).
The Deeds race in Virginia is not that much of a surprise to me. I think this is a case of a State going back to its default political position - Republican. Virginia is a right of center State. And it doesn't help when the candidate is seen as mediocre. But it doesn't mean that Democrats won't win in Virginia again in the near future. The Corzine race is much more interesting. Republicans will see an advance in the northeast as a really big victory.
But clearly the public is beginning to blame Obama for the nations economic problems, despite the fact that he was not responsible for the broader recession which started in 2007 or the 2008 meltdown that came later. They just want to hold someone responsible...and sometimes the Party that is in power gets the backlash, whether they are responsible for current conditions or not. Obama's poll numbers are the worse they have been since he took office. Rasmussen is showing that his negatives are now larger than his positives. See Obama's numbers over time, according to Rasmussen (other polls have been a little more positive). The first thing that I thought was - Americans really have short memories. Not only are they blaming the wrong person and Party for the economic conditions, but they haven't given Obama enough time to mitigate the problem. It is true that his Stimulus Plan didn't perform as advertised, just as I warned it wouldn't back in January...and for the exact reasons I mentioned. I warned that the "Stimulus" was too narrow and did not put enough emphasis on job creation.....that Obama should have went for a broader Roosevelt style approach to help launch sustainable industries, such as Green Industries. This would have created tens of thousands of new & lasting jobs. But he has been in office less than a year. Americans gave Bush a pass for a number of years before turning on him....even re-electing him by a bigger margin than the first time. Bush got a free pass for 5 or 6 years. It wasn't until approximately late 2005, into 2006 that Bush's polling started to invert and fall well below 50%. Why can't Obama get the same courtesy?
Hopefully the economy will begin to turn around by November 2010....and will get significantly better by 2012. But that's only if the U.S. stays out of any new wars, and can find a way to get its debt under control. Unfortunately I don't think Obama has an aggressive plan to control the debt or the yearly deficit.. But the point here is that this is why Obama should not have taken his eye off the ball (fixing the economy). Healthcare Reform has not helped him..it has been more of a distraction. In fact, he has taken a beating in opinion polls over the last few months, because the Healthcare Reform efforts riled up the base of his opposition and left him open to all kinds of political attacks, distortions and propaganda. He has yet to recover from the attacks of July, August and September, even after lies have been debunked. That's because most people only hear the initial lies...they don't hear the debunking. Most Americans are too lazy to pay enough attention to an issue and dig around to separate the truth from the lies (Republicans and their media have this down to a science...they understand this all too well).
Hopefully these Democratic defeats won't be the story of how Democrats will do next year or in 2012. Unfortunately the Democratic Party returned to its same old ways after Obama's election. The complacency set in almost immediately. They still don't seem to understand the importance of controlling their message, and establishing a communications infrastructure (their own media) that would allow them to do so successfully. I often go to The Daily Kos to try to explain this to Democrats, but they fail to get it each time. The result of their return to old practices has meant that Republicans have an edge when it comes to communicating.... what they say doesn't even necessarily have to be true... the point is... they know how to reach people, and stir emotions in such a way (including by way of dog whistle politics) that gets people to react positively to their message... even when the Republican brand isn't so popular.
Posted by Brian at 4:02 AM