Eugene Robinson is typical of the liberal pundits who are grudgingly acknowledging that Obama and his Democratic congressional allies are in deep trouble. However, he is less candid about the reasons.
Well there’s an “enthusiasm gap,” he says. He sneers: “Vocal opponents of the president and the Democratic congressional leadership are eager, motivated and so excited that they can’t wait to grab their ‘tea party’ signs and march around the neighborhood. Vocal supporters of the president are … well, at the moment they aren’t even particularly vocal.” But why? We’re told there are “reasons beyond the president’s control.” Ah, the Republicans (in the minority in both houses and discredited nationwide after 2008) opposed him. Really? The enthusiasm gap sprung up because the minority party opposed what he was doing? That makes no sense.
How about this one then: “The Senate bill is in many ways a breakthrough, especially in covering 31 million uninsured Americans and ensuring that no one can be denied insurance because of preexisting conditions. But progressives had to give up the idea of a public insurance option, and organized labor had to compromise on taxing ‘Cadillac’ health plans.” Well that explains why liberals aren’t very enthusiastic, but we’re not yet hearing why the other side is grabbing those signs. (Could it be what’s in that health-care bill? Could it be something the Democrats did? Nah! Press on!)
Or could it be Obama’s handling of the economy? Mai, non! “On the economy, there is probably not much more that the administration could have done to ameliorate the pain so many Americans are feeling.”
At the end of his search for reasons, Robinson tip-toes to the vicinity of the truth: “The other major reason for the enthusiasm gap is that Republicans have been winning far too many battles in the ‘message’ war — for example, turning ‘affordable health care for all’ into ‘big government takeover.’” It’s the message mind you; nothing the Democrats have done.
If you’re looking for any recognition that the Democrats have overreached, that they’ve freaked out the country, that the tea party protesters are protesting against something, that the country is in an uproar because Obama ran as a moderate and has governed (or tried to) from the Left, you’ll be disappointed. If a pending loss in Massachusetts hasn’t done the trick, it’s hard to see what might finally get through to them. I suppose crushing losses in November. We’ll find out.