It is the debate season in Campaign 2010.
There will be memorable moments. Democrat Ed Perlmutter’s slap at Republican Ryan Frazier was by far the worst of the weekend gaffes, though the lefty blogs are trying mightily to turn Ken Buck’s 30 seconds on nature v. nurture into a Michael Bennet lifeline –a very hard task given Colorado’s economic woes and Bennet’s dreary campaign. (And of course the left is overplaying the exchange so mightily that it may have already boomeranged on Bennet. When Beltway elites are announcing, as the Washington Monthly’s Steve Benan did today, that “I like to think Colorado is better than this, but I suppose we’ll find out in 16 days,” the reaction in the Rocky Mountain State isn’t going to be “You know, that Beltway condescension is deserved. We have to live up to Steve Benan’s expectations!”)
My Washington Examiner column begins with the most memorable of all the debates thus far, Harry Reid’s slow motion meltdown from Thursday –an incredible train wreck of an appearance that is being quietly ignored by Harry’s pals in the Beltway-Manhattan media elite though not by Nevada voters or media. The stumbling, bumbling Reid shocked his supporters with his deep incoherence, and rallying them again will be difficult.
But debate failure that isn’t the main problem for Reid, or Bennet, or Perlmutter, or Ted Strickland or Barbara Boxer or any Democrat.
Their biggest problem is the utter failure of the president’s policies. Obamacare, 9.6% unemployment and the “stimulus” are on the minds of voters, and a thousand side-shows won’t change that.
On what Politico.com is calling “The Democrats’ Brutal Weekend,” the president went to Columbus yesterday. A not overwhelming/not-bad crowd of 35,000 showed up in the college town, and the president tried, again, to blame the GOP for the economy:
“This is the same theory they have been peddling for years,” Obama said of GOP policies on regulation, taxes, trade and other issues that he blamed for causing the recession. “And Ohio, it is up to you to tell them we do not want what they are selling. We’ve been there before, and we are not going back.”
But in the crowd was this man:
Ben Boeke, 30, a Grove City engineer who attended the rally with his wife and 3-year-old son, said he is leaning toward supporting Kasich in the governor’s race because “nothing’s really changed the last four years with Strickland.”
How many other Ben Boekes come out to see the president in his many stops on the campaign trail and bring their children because he is the president, and then get out an vote for John Kasich and every GOP challenger across Ohio and all the other states? Millions of course.
“It’s the economy, stupid” as the Clintonistas used to say, again and again. Obama and his Congressional allies took a panic that was almost over and turned it into a debt crisis and a stagnating economy full of employers and employees fearful of skyrocketing taxes and a volcano of regulations. All the gaffes, near-gaffes, and non-gaffes in the world cannot change the fact that Obama/Pelosi/Reid have a horrible record that is hurting job creation even as the fundamentally unpopular Obamacare rolls out across the country, breaking the president’s oft-given “guarantee” that everyone could keep the insurance and doctor they liked.
The attacks on the Chamber and Rove, the rush to try and wound Ken Buck on what is a minor fumble on a question few if any voters think is in the top 100 this year –really, David, nature v. nurture when the tens of millions are unemployed or underemployed? What would Tim R. say?– the ridiculous attacks on Meg Whitman, all of these side shows and the rest that will come in the next 14 days cannot change a thing about the fundamental and very troubling direction of the country.
When there is this much concern over the hard left lurch the president has sprung on the county, the MSM’s ability to run with an anti-GOP story isn’t curtailed.
It just isn’t effective.
I do have to wonder: If Ed Permuller had been a Republican, and Ryan Frazier a Democrat, how much more play would the “slap” be receiving today?