Things have gotten so bad for the left that Democrats were celebrating holding on to John Murtha’s seat by eight points, though they have a two-to-one registration advantage in the district, and even though the turnout inspired by the Specter-Sestak race gave their pro-life, anti-Obamacare candidate a huge built-in advantage on Tuesday.
The results in PA-12 are a “false positive” for Dems, and if that “victory” tricks them into status quo politics through November it will truly be a Pyrrhic win. The president’s senate candidates in PA and Arkansas got hammered, and the biggest critic of the exploding size of the federal government and its attendant debt, Rand Paul, was Tuesday’s biggest winner. Karl Rove runs down the real story of Tuesday here, but Dems and their MSM pals think that they can sap some of the energy from the wave headed their way by proclaiming different story lines from the obvious one, so expect this narrative to continue to circulate inside the Beltway and especially among Democratic talking heads on television.
This is an almost exact reversal of the summer of 2006 when Republicans were whistling past all the bad news headed their way. The GOP lost 31 seats in November of 2006 and control of the House, and throughout the campaign they had predicted that while they would lose some seats they could comfortably continue to control the House after the smoke cleared.
E.J. Dionne is among the first to offer comfort to the Dems, and every lefty should read Fred Barnes as the antidote to E.J.’s optimism.
But they won’t. They want to believe that President Obama is still a transformational figure and that voters will forgive or forget the failed stimulus, the seizure of GM for the unions, the turning on Israel, the appeasement of Iran, the explosion of the deficit and the debt and, of course, the jam-down of the takeover of health care by the federal government. Obama’s true-believers haven’t all slunk away, which is why the erratic Joe Sestak toppled the worn-out Specter and why Blanche Lincoln is fighting for her life. The hard left of the Democratic Party hasn’t disbanded or given up. It will fight hard through November.
Their trouble, and the GOP’s and the country’s salvation, is that a large majority of voters reject the substance of the Obama agenda that has already passed and there is no more Obama agenda that will pass. The Congress is stalled out, with no budget in sight, and no realistic hope of jamming through cap-and-tax or amnesty. There is nothing for Obama to do, to talk about, to use to change the growing sense of an-in-over-his-head amateur.
Summer is about to arrive, and most of the energy in politics will take a vacation until Labor Day. Democrats will head off to Martha’s Vineyard and tell each other that Labor delivered in PA 12 and it can do so again across the country in the fall.
But conservatives and especially the Tea Party activists will continue to meet and will continue to organize, refining their message throughout the summer. The House GOP has already launched YouCut which generated nearly 300,000 responses in its first week, and the message of attacking the size and scale and grasping nature of government will spread as will the “quick case” against Obama. The “promise” of health care reform cannot be delivered because it wasn’t ever there to begin with –no start date, no expansion of benefits, nothing for the average voter paying ever higher taxes and watching the government reduce services across the board as the massive amount of taxes is siphoned away into the salaries of legions of federal bureaucrats and the retirement accounts of yesteryear’s government employees.
As Scott Johnson notes today, conservatives are in good spirits, in no small part because of Rush and the rest of conservative media that has refused to give up in the face of the giant Obama press corps singing Obama’s praises. The MSM has a new chorus now –one that celebrates PA 12 and which will ignore or discount the special election in Hawaii next week– which is just fine as the more Dems refuse to recognize the emerging verdict of the country on the Obama/Pelosi/Reid agenda the more D.C. Dems will dig into their failed policies and refuse to do anything that might actually stem the public’s rising anger.
Tim Burns ran a good campaign in PA-12, but was overwhelmed by the gerrymandered numbers and the Specter-Sestak turnout. Burns will be back in the fall for a challenge on much more level ground, and the situation on November 3rd will reflect just how misguided was much of the analysis of May 18.