Like the French aristocracy pre-1789 and the flappers pre-Crash, the Democrats are whooping it up. Thrilled with their own cleverness and accomplishments, they have taken several victory laps. But wait. Even the New York Times warns: there is a black cloud on the horizon that threatens not only their future but also the viability of their “accomplishment”:
Achievement of their decades-long quest for comprehensive health care legislation left Congressional leaders and White House aides jubilant. It broke, at least temporarily, the psychology of failure that threatened President Obama’s administration as it had burdened President George W. Bush’s tenure. But the new spring in the steps of Democratic lawmakers has not reversed the likelihood that there will be fewer of them next year. Mr. Obama’s signature on the health care law did not reduce a national unemployment rate that hovers around double digits and is likely to stay there through the November elections.
The Gray Lady repeats the favored line — this “stabilized” support on the Left — but can’t conceal the fact that this is of minimal value. After all, there weren’t enough liberals to save even Scott Brown in Massachusetts from the united front of independents and conservatives. Moreover, “Younger and minority voters, so crucial to Mr. Obama’s 2008 breakthrough, typically turn out for midterms at lower rates than seniors, the age group most skeptical of the president’s performance and the country’s direction.” In other words, the Obami have pleased people (including the uninsured, the target of ObamaCare) not all that inclined to vote.
So what are Democrats to do? Change the subject: “Democrats will turn unequivocally to the economy, putting forward additional efforts to accelerate the recovery and highlighting improvements already under way.” What — they don’t want to dwell on their victory? One would think that would be their sole topic of discussion, you know, what with the historic accomplishment under their belts. But no, they seem quite anxious to move on.
They repeat the mantra that cramming a grossly unpopular health-care bill through on a narrow party-line vote was a good idea. (“By winning on health care, Mr. Obama and his party ‘avoided disaster’ in 2010, said the Democratic pollster Mark Mellman. But ‘this doesn’t change the overall dynamic.’”) This unproved thesis is apparently providing them some solace as they stare into the political abyss. But the election is not merely a disagreeable ordeal. It is also a referendum on their handiwork, which threatens not only to result in a massive repudiation of their “historic” gain but also to begin the process of obliterating it. The Democrats could defy the will of the voters once, but neither they nor their legislation can survive cycle after cycle of the voters’ wrath. They now might want to change the topic, but the voters don’t. The partying will end, I suspect, once the reality of the electorate’s anger sets in and the recognition dawns that, like those of the flappers and the French monarchy, the days of ObamaCare are numbered.