Monday, April 26, 2010

Dems best hope

Senator Jim DeMint... and that famous Dick from Wyoming

It appears that the Democrats are set to get their proverbial tail feathers kicked in the next round of mid-term election. The polls indicate that the Republicans will make significant gains in both the House and the Senate. The most optimistic of their number believe that they may be able to grab a majority in one or both houses of Congress. Most Washington insiders believe the Republicans are likely to gain at least six seats in the Senate, which would leave them just shy of a majority.

The mainline view as to why is that the Democrats are set to get their ass kicked because of voter hostility to health care reform. The Clarion Content thinks that there is a modicum of that in the air, but much less than the punditry thinks. As the Clintonistas famously once said, "Its the economy, stupid." The American public continues to be, quite reasonably, nervous about the state of the overall economy. The President's focus on health care, despite his rhetorical efforts to paint the policy as fiscally responsible, did not respond to the people's concern about the health of the economy. Whether the health care bill helps or hurts the American economy remains to be seen. The point here is simply there is no sense in the country that it has any kind of immediate turnaround implications.

The recovery, such as it is so far, at best is divided between the rich and the middle. Real unemployment remains at its highest point in generation. The stock market has rebounded. Goldman Sachs's profits have skyrocketed, but the average American family has seen only a minute uptick in their net wealth. Their home values are still dented, far below their highs, though for the fortunate majority, above water. While near a tipping point, the crisis of confidence, the fear of total collapse, has abated for the moment. The perception is Democrats have not done anything decisive for the economy. Because worry remains high and many believe the Democrats priority bill, health care, will actually hurt their pocketbooks, their political fortunes appear bleak.

The Clarion Content would argue that the best thing that could happen for the beleaguered Dems is what is happening in the state of Florida. The Republicans, including influential national voices, are pushing their mainstream Senatorial candidate aside to nominate an extreme right-winger. The same thing is underway in Colorado and California, and is being considered in Kentucky, Nevada and New Hampshire. The Republican leadership, especially certain myopic elements, like the Dick from Wyoming and Senator Jim DeMint of South Carolina, cannot see the forest through the trees. They are being lured and deluded by extreme elements like the Tea Party activists. This small, but very vocal minority is leading the Republican party down the primrose path. The country does not trust anything perceived as Democratic or left-wing extremism. But they are worried about the economy, and ideologues from the far right, are not the answer they are seeking. The are looking for centrist compromisers, just like the candidates that the extreme right of the Republican party is casting aside. The shocking Senatorial election to fill Ted Kennedy's seat in Massachusetts did not bring a Scalia/Gingrich-esque ideologue to power.

Again, it is the economy, stupid.

The Republicans are poised on a ledge. They have an opportunity to make historic inroads in these mid-term elections. It is not out of the question, if the economy continues to stagger along its present path until November, that they could recapture, one, or even both houses of Congress. However, putting up easily discreditable, far right fringe candidates is not the way to do it, indeed that is the Democrats best hope.

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