Some televised reports of exit poll data last night suggested that seniors had supplied Chris Christie and Bob McDonnell with large margins in their winning campaigns. Glenn Reynolds writes this morning that the president’s magic has faded, but it may actually be much worse than a fade. The president, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid may have succeeded in solidifying seniors and those who care for them into a massive anti-Democrat block, one that was first startled and is now deeply angry over the proposed massive cuts to Medicare and the inevitable rationing of health care embedded in all versions of Obamcare.
Mark Steyn thinks the president will read the results and push ahead with Obamacare on the hope that he can absorb lots of losses in 2010 and still recover in time for 2012. I think Mark is absolutely correct when assessing how the White House responds to the votes yesterday, but I can’t imagine Evan Bayh, Michael Bennet and Blanche Lincoln reaching the same conclusion.
These three senators own Obamacare. Any one of them can stop the debate from even beginning in the Senate. Any one of them can demand the deletion of the public option. Any one of them can insist that Medicare not be gutted. 40 Republicans have taken these stands, and if Bayh, Bennet or Lincoln joins them, the game is over.
If they don’t and instead allow the debate to begin, they own the result, and they know it will bring a 2010 campaign challenge very similar to that run by Bob McDonnell throughout 2009. Republicans across the country will be studying the McDonnell campaign and will also find some key lessons in Christie’s combative response to Corzine’s smear campaign. Both Republicans ran disciplined, issues-oriented campaigns that have now tested the key theme of tax cuts and private sector growth and found they still work even in the era of Obama.
The Congressional Democrats should know that seniors especially are watching every vote and that seniors know every single Democratic senator has the power to block the bill and stop the cuts to Medicare.
The Virginia and New Jersey elections were about policy, specifically the failed year-long effort to create jobs by printing money and the still on-going attempt to have the federal government seize control of American medicine while raising taxes to sky-high rates.
American voters suspended their suspicion of liberals and the left a year ago to give the young, attractive, new post-partisan candidate a try at bat in the middle of incredibly stressful times. Turns out that President Obama is a Chicago pol with not a lick of “new” when it comes to economics, but a great deal of “old” and “failed” economic theory and an incredible lust for centralization of power in D.C. The large lurch to the left that he has led has cost him the enthusiasm of all but his hard left base. Continuing to push the radical agenda will cost elected Democrats their jobs.
The first real referenda on the Obama Administration came in last night, and state wide votes in two big, diverse and important states sent a message to the Hill, one that the White House won’t want heard, but which every instinct of political survival will oblige Democrats to study carefully.
It will be very uncomfortable for Senate Democrats and Blue Dogs in the House to vote no on Obamacare and to actually use their power to block the bill, but uncomfortable beats unemployed, and if Obamacare passes, that’s exactly what is waiting for many, many Democrats.