Commentary Magazine


Re: Saving Obama from Himself

Linda, if logic rules the day and Obama takes the lesson of Massachusetts to hear,t then you are on the money. Certainly a course correction after a year in office is not unprecedented and would likely be welcomed by most voters. But all that assumes Obama and his congressional allies are amenable to reason and willing to listen to the electorate. That remains an open question. They didn’t, after all, take New Jersey and Virginia voters’ messages to heart in decisive gubernatorial losses for the Democrats in 2009. They ignored polling all year on health-care reform. So would a Scott Brown victory be any different?

Some Democrats are nervous it won’t be. ABC News reports:

Even before the votes are counted, Senator Evan Bayh is warning fellow Democrats that ignoring the lessons of the Massachusetts Senate race will “lead to even further catastrophe” for their party. “There’s going to be a tendency on the part of our people to be in denial about all this,” Bayh told ABC News, but “if you lose Massachusetts and that’s not a wake-up call, there’s no hope of waking up. . . It’s why moderates and independents even in a state as Democratic as Massachusetts just aren’t buying our message,”  he said.  “They just don’t believe the answers we are currently proposing are solving their problems.  That’s something that has to be corrected.”

As many a nostalgic Republican has remarked during the Obama presidency, “Obama is no Bill Clinton.” By that, they are referring not to Clinton’s personal morals but to his ability to read the electorate, shift gears, and slide back into the public’s good graces. Maybe Obama has that capacity too, but his contemptuous attitude toward opposition and disinclination to hear bad news suggest otherwise. If Brown does pull off a Massachusetts Miracle, we’ll find out soon enough.