osewalrus (osewalrus) wrote,

Which Way Will Nervous Democrats Jump? And What Would Happen If Dems Lose Big in 2010?

Mind you, I find the fact that election news has replaced actual news rather appalling. But it is the sad reality of policy that even on January 3, 2009, when the new Congress was being sworn in, the biggest thing everyone was talking about were prospects for 2010.

The latest series of polls confirms the trends of earlier polls. Democrats generically are losing popularity among independents and among Democrats. Independents in particular are back in play again, with Generic Rs now beating Generic Ds by a significant margin (22%) in the Gallup poll linked to above.

From a policy perspective, the question is which way people will jump. One of the least endearing traits in the political system of the moment is that parties invariably double down on their most annoying tendencies under stress. Rs become more arrogant, more "my way or the highway," and do more to chase their base. Ds become more wussy, more "I have no spine, so your way or mine is totally fine," and piss more on their base in the pursuit of independent voters. But it appears that an increasing number of Ds are recognizing that they need to make some significant concessions to their base -- which is why Public Option did not die after the Bacchus bill passed out of Committee as widely predicted. Harry Reid's failing numbers in NV made him realize that even if progressive's could not mount a serious primary challenge, he would need their help to win the general election.

So it will be very interesting to see which way people jump and how, and whether this inspires more shows of rage against Wall St. -- the focus of much resentment -- or not. A key problem for the Dems has been their refusal to challenge the finance industry. Obama started weak, and the Congress undercut even those efforts. So lots of folks are still feeling the pinch, getting reamed on their credit card bills because of the ridiculously long phase in, in danger of foreclosure, and watching Wall St guys again get massive bonuses.

Which brings up the question: what happens if the Ds tank in 2010? Will Obama replace his current economic advisors who are telling him to coddle Wall St with harder hitting folks? It took the electoral drubbing of 2006 to get Bush to back away from Rumsfeld and to start looking for competence over ideological purity.

Again, I think polling is extremely premature at this stage. As NY-23 demonstrated, tests about generic Rs v. generic Ds are not as informative as one might think when an actual campaign gets underway and people have actual candidates to consider. But this will not stop Rs from blustering and Ds from squirming.

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