Note to White House: It’s ugly out there. The base actually matters. Do something. Fast.




The poll numbers that we’re seeing this week should be sending shivers up the spines of Democrats across the country. We’re heading for trouble. Big trouble. Hurricane Earl looks like a summer breeze compared to the storm that’s coming.

The first question is whether our leaders, starting with Obama, can do anything to fix it. Of course, they can. But, there’s another, more important, question: Will Obama do anything to fix it. Based on the track record of the White House for the past 19 months, I’m not hopeful.

First, from Tom Jensen at PPP:

A couple months ago I thought the Pennsylvanias and Missouris and Ohios of the world were the biggest battlegrounds for 2010 but when you see numbers like this it makes you think it’s probably actually the Californias and the Wisconsins and the Washingtons.

There’s not much doubt things are getting worse for Democrats…and they were already pretty bad. Somehow the party base needs to get reinvigorated over the next two months or there’s going to be a very, very steep price to pay.

In a post appropriately titled, The Impending November of Doom, Markos looked at the latest Gallup Generic Tracking Poll, which is also pretty ugly. Actually, Gallup calls the GOP’s 10 point lead “unprecedented”:

There’s an ongoing enthusiasm gap between GOP voters and Democratic voters, too.

Markos, with Digby’s input, explains the situation (hard to beat an analysis that includes those two):

Now, an enthusiastic vote counts just as much as an enthusiastic one, but it’s also harder to get that unenthused voter to the polls. The Democratic turnout machine, which has made great strides in recent years, is going to have its work cut out just getting base voters out, and even then we’d still come up short. Yeah, it’s bleak. And the White House can whine all it wants about the “professional left”, fact is that this goes far beyond some blog or cable news host. So what to do?

Digby:

I don’t know about you, but it seems to me that if you want to get people enthusiastic you might want to pick a big old fight right about now instead of trying desperately to avoid controversy (also known as “kerfuffles”.) In case the Democrats don’t realize it, Republicans and right leaning Independents aren’t going to vote for them no matter what they do. Even if they open up those FEMA camps and start rounding up every Muslim and Mexican looking person they see, it won’t work. Neither will rolling over and playing dead.

This goes beyond “doing something”, and into the realm of actually doing something to excite the base. The administration has done virtually nothing designed to reward its partisans. Half measures and compromises with Republicans who voted against final legislation certainly doesn’t count. Failing to follow through on promises on everything from comprehensive immigration reform to DADT doesn’t help. Fighting to open up more shoreline to drilling doesn’t help. Lilly Ledbetter was a step forward, then the Stupak Amendment was two steps back.

The administration has always seemed annoyed by its partisan base. All we’ve asked is that Obama keep his campaign promises. For that, we’re castigated and mocked by the geniuses in the White House — the ones who destroyed the vaunted Obama brand and all it stood for.

Markos is right on this, too:

No, this mess is the administration’s making, with a healthy assist from Harry Reid’s Senate. The shame is that Nancy Pelosi’s House, which did its job, will bear the brunt of the voter backlash.

That is a shame. And, sure the White House will pay a price if the GOPers take back the House. But, their suffering will be over politics and subpoenas and useless investigations. Lots of Americans will face real hardship and suffering. That’s the real tragedy.


On October 27, 2010, Joe was one of five bloggers who interviewed President Obama. Joe is a DC-based political consultant with over twenty-five years of experience at both the state and federal level. Joe has managed political operations and legislative efforts for both candidates and issues-based organizations. For seven years, he was the Director of State Legislation at Handgun Control, Inc. He served as that organization's first Political Director during the 2000 cycle. Joe is a graduate of the University of Maine School of Law. In addition, he has a Masters in Public Administration from Lehigh University and received his B.A. from the University of New Hampshire. Joe also has a fun dog, Petey, a worthy successor to Boomer, who got Joe through eight years of Bush and Cheney. Joe likes to think he is a world class athlete having finished the 2005 Chicago Marathon in the time of 4:10. He has completed six other marathons as well -- and is still determined to break the four hour mark.

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