Democracy Soup

Making sense out of the world of politics

Even if things are looking good for Obama, this isn’t the time for Dems to stop and smell the roses

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Barack Obama’s poll numbers are up, the economic numbers are better, Mitt Romney is doing worse with independents. You can hear the smugness on the part of liberal pundits. They feel really good about their chances of keeping the White House for 4 more years.

Even though February has an extra day in it this year, this is only February. Counting chickens before you have eggs is rather foolish.

These liberal pundits also forget that the House and Senate races are almost as important. And they also should consider that their chances in a number of House races are reduced because enough Republican governors got elected in 2010 to affect the redrawing of Congressional districts.

While the Dems retained control of the Senate, the margin is extremely tight and Harry Reid’s leadership can’t be as effective because of the pressures of representing a red state. And as poorly as 2010 went, everything else can go the Dems way and the GOP might still take the Senate. You can have Barack Obama and Nancy Pelosi, but not much will get done with Mitch “Turtle” McConnell. If Antonin Scalia or Clarence Thomas die between 2013-2017, liberals want strong choices to replace them. In a GOP-controlled Senate, that might not happen.

Too often, the Dems focus on the White House and not Congress. To be fair, the Democratic Party went 40 years without having to worry about losing the House until 1994. In those days, even with the GOP would occasionally control the Senate, the Dems still had a lot more political control than they do now.

The Republicans play the way they do in part because they went so long without that control. They want to go beyond where they are, and they are never satisfied.

These liberal pundits remind me of a person being chased by a bear in the woods. The person loses the bear for the moment, and is so happy that the bear appears to be gone, even though the bear is still chasing after the person. Even if having the bear lose track of you, still need to keep running since you aren’t out of danger.

Barack Obama had some coattails in 2008, but under ideal circumstances (2008), the coattails weren’t that long. Even if Obama is re-elected, there will be no coattails in sight and the Dems need a more elaborate strategy to retake the House.

Yes, if the Republican presidential candidate seems inferior, even by standards outside Dem circles, the false sense of security could have some truth within it. Though, even Newt Gingrich or Rick Santorum will still get 35%-40% of the vote. And they will still draw conservatives to the polls, helping other races down the ballot.

Though the Obama Administration and the liberal pundits think Mitt Romney would be the most dangerous threat, ironically, Romney offers the best hope of bringing down GOP turnout, improving the likelihood of Dem pickups (e.g., 1992, 2008) down the ballot. Romney, of course, has the best chance from the GOP side to win the White House.

Though the timeframe is different, Republicans at this point in 1992 thought they had nothing to fear from Bill Clinton and the Dems in 1968 didn’t think much of Richard Nixon in February. Races are won in November, not February. And even if the Dems can be a little confident, they shouldn’t gloat until all the votes are counted in November. Even after a little gloating, there is a whole lot of work to be done.


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