Nominal Democrat Pat Cadell gets to the rub of Obama and the Democrat’s problem this election year. Because President Obama is so far from Candidate Obama he can’t do what Reagan did – go out and say “Stay the course.” Reagan could because once he became POTUS he did what he said he’d do as a candidate. Things were rotten as the first midterm of his presidency approached. Voters took it out on Republicans. They did not reject Reagan explicitly. This midterm is unlike 1982 in a very important particular – It’s a referendum on Obama and the Democrats as much or more than it is on the economy in general. No one thought Reagan overreached. No one thought Reagan betrayed his own campaign. Obama does not have this luxury. He has overreached and he has betrayed his stated goal of being post-partisan. Voters were impatient in 1982. In 2010 they are angry, startled, and scared.
This year’s election is closer to 1994. Both Clintons were ‘on the ballot’ that year. They were both spanked. This year’s power couple up for a beating are Obama and Pelosi. Yes, the economy is bad which hurts the party in power. Yes, the healthcare law remains unpopular. Yes, Obama has made a series of unforced, silly, errors. But the issue this year is Obamalosi. It is personal. The most energized voters are hankering to punish Obama. It is telling that Obama is still not coming in for most of the blame for the economic meltdown- yet Democrats are still polling horribly. Why the disconnect? If this election was mostly about the economy the Democrats could expect to lose some seats, but survive. Yet, they are expected to suffer a blow out. If things remain on track for a Democratic slaughter it will be hard to escape the fact that Obama and Pelosi are the reason.
A sense of betrayal has set in. Personally, I blame ill-informed Obama voters as much as I blame Obama for this. Obama changed his rhetoric after winning, he did not change his spots. If elections in this country were more than feel good beauty contests far more serious questions would have been asked about Obama in 2008. Many Obama voters feeling betrayed now need to question their decision-making process when entering a voting booth.
Regardless, this year it seems many of those same voters will take out their frustration on Obama by voting the only way that will express their disgust. They’ll pull the lever for Republicans. Meanwhile, if Obama calls for the nation to ‘stay the course’ Democrats will lose even more voters. “The course” is the problem. Obama is the problem. He’s got two months to change this inconvenient fact. Can he? I doubt it. Does he even want to? I doubt it even more.