Commentary Magazine


RE: Bad News Gets Worse for Dems

As I said, things may be even worse than Nate Silver has disclosed to the glum readers of the New York Times. Politico reports:

In conversations with more than two dozen party insiders, most of whom requested anonymity to speak candidly about the state of play, Democrats in and out of Washington say they are increasingly alarmed about the economic and polling data they have seen in recent weeks.

They no longer believe the jobs and housing markets will recover – or that anything resembling the White House’s promise of a “recovery summer” is under way. They are even more concerned by indications that House Democrats once considered safe – such as Rep. Betty Sutton, who occupies an Ohio seat that President Barack Obama won with 57 percent of the vote in 2008 – are in real trouble.

It turns out that Robert Gibbs’s sin was not of excessive pessimism but of excessive candor. (“A Democratic pollster working on several key races said, ‘The reality is that [the House majority] is probably gone.’ His data shows the Democrats’ problems are only getting worse. ‘It’s spreading,’ the pollster said.”)

When things go south, the finger-pointing begins. Not without good reason, Democrats are “furious with the White House for keeping the debate over a New York mosque in play for two weeks — and then announcing that Obama will use a prime-time address next week to discuss Iraq, not the economy. By the calculations of House Democrats, this means that by Labor Day they will have spent nearly nine weeks this summer beating back negative or unhelpful story lines instigated, in part or in total, by the White House.” Good point on the mosque, fellas, but in Obama’s defense, what good would it do to talk about the economy? It’s sinking, and the “recovery summer” spiel is now an embarrassing reminder of the White House’s cluelessness. Things are so bad, they can’t even blame George W. Bush. (From a former state Democratic Party chairman: “You can only blame Bush for so long.”)

The extent of the unraveling and the ferocity of the infighting before the election are remarkable. Just imagine the food fight after the results are in.