In the aftermath of Tuesday’s special elections, Democrats are doing what many of us predicted: Panicking. And the leader of the pack is Democratic strategist James Carville, who wrote, “Today I was mulling over election results from New York and Nevada while thinking about that very question. What should the White House do now? One word came to mind: Panic.” Carville added, “The course we are on is not working. The hour is late, and the need is great.”
Carville’s counsel – that President Obama should “fire, indict, [and] fight” – is not terribly helpful. Like most Democrats, he (wrongly) assumes Obama’s main problem is messaging. But set that aside for the moment. What I wanted to call attention to is what Carville wrote two years ago.
“Today,” he proclaimed, “a Democratic majority is emerging, and it’s my hypothesis, one I share with a great many others, that this majority will guarantee the Democrats remain in power for the next 40 years.”
It turns out James was off by 39 years.
He was not the only one to miss the mark. In the judgment of Sidney Blumenthal , author of The Strange Death of Republican America, “no one can even envision when the Republicans will control the presidency and both houses of the Congress as they did as recently as 2006.”
Actually, some of us can.
And Michael Lind added this: “The election of Barack Obama to the presidency may signal more than the end of an era of Republican presidential dominance and conservative ideology. It may mark the beginning of a Fourth Republic of the United States.”
Or it may not.
Messrs. Carville, Blumenthal, and Lind can take a seat next to Sam Tannenhaus, who wrote The Death of Conservatism at just about the moment when conservatism was on the ascendancy once again.
To quote that eminent political commentator Emily Litella (Gilda Radner): “Never mind.”