The reason the midterm messaging has been so frustrating is that what’s finally landed wasn’t inevitable. But as this ad for Sharron Angle illustrates, with polls now finding her 4 points ahead, the Democrats failed to make the election about a clear choice, which would have demanded they provide a constrast, but also a plan going forward, so what’s happened is that the midterms have turned into a referendum on Pres. Obama. They’ve played defense the whole way instead of offense.
The Nevada Senate race was always the representative contest that most reveals the midterm mood. Two candidates that are disliked by voters representing two parties that no one likes, with “none of the above” getting plenty of attention.
A good sign that Harry Reid is in real trouble is when you see him doing media. He’s bad at it so it’s always a last ditch, dire option. A glimmer of movement has however shown up, via Jon Ralston, with Clark Cty Dems providing a “surge.” Harry Reid’s machine awakens?
So Sharron Angle’s closing argument is simply about tying Reid to Obama, then reminding Nevadans that the President told people not to come to Las Vegas to spend cash, which hurt middle class workers throughout the state, but especially in Sin City, which is the state’s economic engine.
It magnifies Pres. Obama’s tone deafness on white working-class voters who are now flooding back to the Republicans, because Democrats didn’t make the message about helping them, which could have come through a moratorium on foreclosures, as Hillary’s lead provided, but also many other issues on the economy, including the tax cuts provided in the stimulus that’s gone virtually unmentioned. That said, there really is nothing to save Obama or the Dems from their conservative compromising policy prescriptions on health care and financial regulation, which yielded mush and pissed people off, with far too few talking about specific changes that must be made going forward to make these things right.
The White House evidently never believed what might happen if the midterms became a referendum on Obama. They looked at his numbers, which remain high, because the man is well liked, but misinterpreted them, as many pundits, Dem strategists and talking heads have also done, thinking that his likability transfers to giving him a pass in the voting booth.
As much as people want to equate this election with ’94, even ’80, there is no comparison. The old Republican propaganda engine, right-wing radio, is now joined by Fox News, even more independent groups, new media, FB, with Sarah Palin and the conservative candidates seen continually on Fox, driving the anti Obama message every day. Couple that with the fact that the Tea Party, however it manifests, is the engine through which even Independents are being driven, and you’ve got an outside force in play that blasts out the old Perot model, especially when you add women who are likely to walk away from Dems for the first time since ’82.
The unpopularity of Obama’s policy prescriptions is manifest in that they weren’t effective, because they cut in half what might have worked for a corporate solution that was doomed to fail from the start. Instead of change voters can believe in it became about same old, same old, which was made worse when voters didn’t feel what it was doing for them.
Obama and the Democrats blew the midterm messaging a long time ago. It’s going to cost them a lot next Tuesday, because it’s setting up a scenario that will likely bring Congress fully back into Republican hands in 2012.
After the midterms, if Republicans really do decide that only goal is to keep Obama from a second term, as Sen. Mitch McConnell promised recently, they’ll have the numbers in Congress to keep the country economically on teeter, which could do it.