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Democratic Candidates Win by Opposing Obama "Bipartisanship"

By May 26, 2010

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Senate primaries in 2010 have, so far, delivered one searing message: party bases, both liberal and conservative, are mad as hell, and they're not humoring mediocrity anymore. Seniority, tradition, and incumbency be damned.

One wonders, though, if and when President Obama will "get" the message. Such clarity would help Mr. Obama understand why virtually all Senate candidates he's backed thus far in 2010 have suffered setbacks and humiliating defeats.

Democratic voters across the nation are adamant in their message that the meaningless middle is wholly unacceptable. For example:

  • In Pennsylvania, progressive Rep. Joe Sestak, the highest ranking former military officer ever elected to Congress, clobbered five-term Sen. Arlen Specter by tagging himself as "the Democrat in the race." Specter spent his 30-year Senate career straddlng the centrist middle, and switched politcal parties in 2009.

    Joe Sestak won despite a remarkably intense effort by the Obama-controlled DNC to persuade Keystone state Democrats to vote for Arlen Specter. (See photo, and Profile of Rep. Joe Sestak, Senate Candidate from PA.)

  • In Colorado, progressive Andrew Romanoff, former state House Speaker, garnered 60.4% of the vote at the Colorado Democratic convention this past weekend, to 39.6% for incumbent Sen. Michael Bennet, a mild-mannered centrist appointed a year ago with the express blessings of President Obama.

    Romanoff campaigned by angrily orating against incumbents "refusing to take Democratic ideals far enough and making typical Washington compromises at the cost of the people."

    As a result of his convention victory, Romanoff secured coveted top billing on Colorado's August 10, 2010 Democratic primary ballot. Since Bennet won over the requisite 30% minimum, he also qualifies for the primary ballot.

  • In Arkansas, progressive Bill Halter, state Lt. Governor, nearly defeated two-term incumbent Sen. Blanche Lincoln, a pro-business centrist who enraged liberal activists by forcefully opposing a public plan option as part of health care reform. President Obama staunchly endorsed Lincoln's reelection bid.

    Halter, who won 43% of the vote to 45% for Lincoln, has forced the incumbent into a June 8th runoff. Halter is favored to win the race.

It's easy to understand the unbridled enthusiasm of both party bases: Americans have the dark feeling that our great country is running off-course, and they desperately want to support candidates who stand for something. Candidates who thirst to boldly lead the U.S. back onto course.

To both liberal and conservatives voters in 2010, the middle seems to stand for nothing, except shady, disloyal under-the-table deals. As New York Times columnist David Brooks recently observed:

"... these days, the political center is a feckless shell. It has no governing philosophy. Its paragons seem from the outside opportunistic, like Arlen Specter, or caught in some wishy-washy middle, like Blanche Lincoln."

In 2010, voters "get it" that the U.S. needs bold, principled leadership, and increasingly, candidates "get it," too, as shown by Sestak, Romanoff, Halter, and dozens more Congressional and state candidates from all corners of the country.

What's puzzling is that President Obama, who was a dazzlingly intuitive politician during his presidential campaign, still doesn't "get it.":

  • Still doesn't "get" that in 2010, Americans crave decisive leadership.
  • Still doesn't "get" that Democratic voters, his base, are demanding candidates loyal to liberal values.
  • Still doesn't "get" that his fetishized concept of "bipartisanship" is hollow to almost everyone, including voters and Congressional leaders of both parties. (Except, apparently, to Arlen Specter, Blanche Lincoln, Bob Bennett, and Joe Lieberman.)

    What's puzzling is how President Obama could be so blindly oblivious to the mood of voters in 2010 that yesterday, he once again kowtowed to the minority party, Congressional Republicans, literally begged them to support his "bipartisan" initiatives, and, per the New York Times, bragged that "in office he had made decisions unpopular with his progressive base, and he urged Republicans to do the same."

    Huh? Senate Republicans spurned him. Of course. Democrats would, too, although likely a tad more nicely.

    Why doesn't President Obama "get" how his mushy lack of loyalty to Democratic values is adversely affecting the candidates he's supporting in 2010?

    One needs to look no farther than the Democratic races for Senate seats in Pennsylvania, Colorado and Arkansas for proof that Obama's political midas touch has turned to ballot box-poison in 2010.

    Obama needs to "get" the message very soon, or his agenda will be deader than Arlen Specter's Senate career.

  • Comments

    May 31, 2010 at 3:25 am
    (1) Riley says:

    How does Mark Critz’s “big” win fit into your thesis? Not so well, I suspect. He’s the pro life, pro gun rights, anti-cap & trade, anti-obamacare “Democrat” that replaces Murtha. With that platform he managed a 54-43 win in a gerrymandered district that is 2-1 democrat for an election where turnout was driven by the Sestek-Specter contest. Don’t expect that in November.

    June 6, 2010 at 4:05 pm
    (2) Brice says:

    Most Americans genuinely like Obama? Are you kidding? What planet are you on? have you seen his ratings, the guy is a bumbling idiot!

    Go Flyers

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