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Is It a Little Late for That?

Democratic consultants and pollsters Douglas Schoen and Pat Caddell are back trying to save the Democrats from themselves. No one listened before to their pleas. But perhaps the polling slide Obama and his party have suffered since they passed ObamaCare against the wishes of the voters will convince them to consider the duo’s warnings. In short, the two advise Democrats to be more like the Tea Partiers. They explain:

To turn a corner, Democrats need to start embracing an agenda that speaks to the broad concerns of the American electorate. It should be somewhat familiar: It is the agenda that is driving the Tea Party movement and one that has the capacity to motivate a broadly based segment of the electorate. …

The swing voters, who are key to the fate of the Democratic Party, care most about three things: reigniting the economy, reducing the deficit and creating jobs.

These voters are outraged by the seeming indifference of the Obama administration and congressional Democrats, whom they believe wasted a year on health-care reform. These voters will not tolerate more diversion from their pressing economic concerns.

So what can Obama and the Democrats do now? On this the pair are less clear, for of course a great deal of the damage has been done. For one thing, stop “working systematically to protect the interests of public-sector employees and organized labor — by offering specific benefits such as pension protection and tax reductions at the expense of all taxpayers.” But again, it may be too late for that. Well, they could “adopt an agenda aimed at reducing the debt, with an emphasis on tax cuts, while implementing carefully crafted initiatives to stimulate and encourage job creation.” In other words, do what the Republicans want to. But is that happening? No.

Sometimes there comes a point in an election cycle where it’s just too late to reverse course, when the voters have already made up their minds and a party has already established a track record. In 2006, by the time the Mark Foley scandal hit, voters were going to dump the Republicans no matter what. In the fall of 2008, when the financial collapse hit, John McCain’s fate was sealed. This time around, the degree of the thumping is still to be decided, and better candidates may wiggle out of the fate of their colleagues. But the notion that Democrats can suddenly escape the wrath of voters by doing everything they didn’t do for over a year seems, well, silly.


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