Dems getting the spin ready for the midterm debacle?

posted at 9:30 am on October 4, 2010 by Ed Morrissey

Democrats are starting to roll out two new narratives.  First, they’re now claiming that their base has re-energized and that they will hold the House and the Senate — and then they’ll go to West Virginia! Pennsylvania! Wisconsin! Nevada!  Yeeargh! But just in case that meme proves wrong, Democrats also have begun to shrug at losing control of the House, spinning that Republicans won’t be able to govern and that 2012 will just reverse the loss, providing Democrats with an even bigger mandate.  Al Hunt reports this at the New York Times, and warns Democrats that the reality of minority status in Congress is not pleasant:

With a looming sense of a debacle in the U.S. midterm elections, some Democrats are rationalizing a silver lining: It may not be a bad thing if Republicans win control of at least one chamber of Congress on Nov. 2.

Then, the argument goes, the opposition would be responsible for governing decisions, and its positions — for privatizing Social Security, rolling back health-care benefits and giving huge tax cuts to the wealthiest Americans — would backfire.

The Democrats would come roaring back two years later. The model is President Bill Clinton’s re-election in 1996, two years after Republicans took over Congress.

Er, okay, but Clinton won in a three-way race against Bob Dole.  How did Congressional Democrats do against Republicans?  They lost. They lost in 1998, too, and in 2000, 2002, and 2004.  As it turned out, Republicans felt pretty comfortable in governing and making tough decisions like welfare reform and tax cuts.

Hunt doesn’t buy the spin, either.  As he notes, having the majority means controlling both the agenda and the pursestrings.  The GOP can’t repeal ObamaCare with the kinds of majorities they can possibly get in the Senate, assuming they get a majority at all, but they can cut funding to enough of it to make it stall.  Either Barack Obama has to come down from the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue to get things done, or he has to play hardball and hope the GOP blinks first.  Given his poor performance in the first two years, Obama can hardly afford to play chicken.

Besides, if he does dig in his heels, Republicans in the House can busy themselves with other tasks, as Hunt reminds Democrats.  Once they regain the majority, they also control Congressional subpoena power.  Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) will become chair of the Oversight Committee, and he plans on probing stimulus spending in depth.  Issa is also likely to issue subpoenas in the case of Gerald Walpin’s firing in order to find out what was really behind the sacking of an Inspector General who objected to a sweetheart settlement with Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, an Obama ally.  Issa will also target the DoJ’s refusal to prosecute in the New Black Panther Party case.  Obama leaves Republicans with time on their hands at his own peril.

After the midterms, Democrats will likely reassure their base that they’ll soon get power back on Capitol Hill.  If they don’t learn the most important lesson — that their agenda was too radical for America — they may not be back for a generation.

Addendum: Hunt writes this warning at the end, but leaves out a couple of key points:

Finally, those Democrats who see a silver lining in losing the House and forcing responsibility on the opposition should remember that Congress remained in Republican hands in that 1996 election. Two years later, in a lame-duck session, that House majority voted to impeach Mr. Clinton for lying about sex.

When you tell lies about sex in a bar or at a party with friends, they’re just lies about sex.  When you lie under oath in a deposition on a salient point in a sexual-harassment lawsuit, it’s called perjury — which is the charge on which Clinton was impeached, and for which a federal judge ordered Clinton disbarred.


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Yeeargh!!11!!1, indeed.

Thanks for the LOL, Ed!

-Aslan’s Girl

Aslans Girl on October 4, 2010 at 9:36 AM

Great strategy, dems. Go for it.

(And btw, there’s no need to read all the way to the end of the article.)

LASue on October 4, 2010 at 9:36 AM

Why do people continue to compare 96 and the coming 12?

Desperation.

The UE rates won’t even be close.

artist on October 4, 2010 at 9:37 AM

and warns Democrats that the reality of minority status in Congress is not pleasant:
===================================

If any one remembers the 1994 Republican *evolution,
and remembers the Lib fits,then

November 2 2010 will rock their political world and
end their power,

this will be a Monumental Liberal Cat-In-iption Fit!!

Jus sayin!!!

canopfor on October 4, 2010 at 9:37 AM

Given his poor performance in the first two years, Obama can hardly afford to play chicken.

His chickens have come home to rooooooost!

It had to be said ;)

-Aslan’s Girl

Aslans Girl on October 4, 2010 at 9:37 AM

Chickens running scared.

Bishop on October 4, 2010 at 9:38 AM

Stay clueless, Dems. November 2nd is going to be sweeet!

kingsjester on October 4, 2010 at 9:38 AM

Finally the Democrats are planning ahead for a disaster.

NoDonkey on October 4, 2010 at 9:39 AM

If they think losing the House is good…just wait until 2012, they are going to love that election…

right2bright on October 4, 2010 at 9:39 AM

The other thing to note is if the Democrats do retain control of the Senate, that’s a completely different situation from 1995-96. If that happens, then it’s a 2-on-1 match pitting Obama and Harry Reid or Dick Durbin/Chuckie Schumer against John Boehner and the House Republicans, with the Democrats having to argue that the House’s actions are blocking the White House and Senate from following through on all their wonderful plans from the past two years.

Clinton was able to run as the moderate between the fully GOP-controlled Congress and the Hillary wing of his own party (back when Hillary was the darling of the left). Unless Obama can get the Senate Majority leader to play the evil, far-left, let’s-spend-our-way-into-bankruptcy-and-free-all-the-Gitmo-terrorists-while-we’re-at-it bad guy here, that’s not going to be an option if Obama plans to place himself as a ‘moderate’ going into the 2012 elections, because he’s too scared to openly challenge the left wing of his own party.

jon1979 on October 4, 2010 at 9:40 AM

The Ownage Cometh.

blatantblue on October 4, 2010 at 9:41 AM

Chickens running scared.

Bishop on October 4, 2010 at 9:38 AM

Chickens with their head cut off!

dhunter on October 4, 2010 at 9:42 AM

So they passed on Jon Stewart’s new Democrat slogan: “We came, We saw, We suuuuucked”?

forest on October 4, 2010 at 9:44 AM

BAnkruptcy is such an energizing force, while you wait in line until you die for your government death care.

tarpon on October 4, 2010 at 9:46 AM

Those who keep trying to encourage Democrats with the “Clinton won his second term because he moved to the right” schtick need to remember that Clinton never won either term with 50% or more of the vote. Americans never wanted Clinton by a majority.

texabama on October 4, 2010 at 9:47 AM

So they passed on Jon Stewart’s new Democrat slogan: “We came, We saw, We suuuuucked”?

forest on October 4, 2010 at 9:44 AM

Is that “We” or the other “We”, the “We” that got Sancheese fired…it is getting so complicated…

right2bright on October 4, 2010 at 9:47 AM

Breaking,

ACME ROPE COMPANY is pleased to annouce a successful rope
production period of over two years,

and would like to thank the Obama Administration,the
Lefty Faction Groups,and especially the DNC,

for another fine job,and consistant LeaderShip of help
ing All Democrats to Politically Hang themselves before
every Election Cycle!!(snark).

canopfor on October 4, 2010 at 9:48 AM

Why do people continue to compare 96 and the coming 12?

Desperation.

The UE rates won’t even be close.

artist on October 4, 2010 at 9:37 AM

Exactly. These comparisons to Clinton and Reagan and how they had similar poll numbers at this point in their first terms are ludicrous. Does anyone think the economy in 2012 will be anything close to the one in 1996? Unless the House Republicans are THAT damn good, I don’t see how it’s possible. And the economy in 1984 was booming thanks to Reagan cutting taxes. Obama is on the verge of doing the exact opposite in a few months. And that’s after piling on the burden of Obamacare and a trillion in stimulus.

And as for this notion that the House can be flipped back to the Dems in 2012, how is that possible? What will the Dems run on? The same agenda they’re currently running away from as fast as they can? What about the Senate where they’ll have a ton of vulnerable incumbents in 2012 who will have to answer for their Obamacare, Porkulus, and/or TARP votes?

The dirty little secret the Dems will never concede is that their party is about take a series of beatings over the next few election cycles that’ll take years to recover from. And even that can happen only when they clean house and find some newer, younger, and more centrist leaders. In other words, every constituency we saw at that One Nation rally needs to be told to take a hike.

Doughboy on October 4, 2010 at 9:53 AM

Well said…particularly the last point!!!!

winston on October 4, 2010 at 9:53 AM

So is this the new DNC Theme Song?

Soy un perdedor
I’m a loser baby, so why don’t you kill me?

pilamaye on October 4, 2010 at 9:54 AM

they may not be back for a generation

Yeah, we’ve heard that before.

The Dems ran the most radical Leftist in American history (on a major party ticket) and he won rather easily.

mankai on October 4, 2010 at 9:54 AM

Dear leader will double down and blame gop obstruction…the 91% approval from AA will stay high, running the race card meme

cmsinaz on October 4, 2010 at 10:00 AM

Clinton won in a three-way race against Bob Dole. How did Congressional Democrats do against Republicans? They lost. They lost in 1998, too, and in 2000, 2002, and 2004.

I have to repeat this all the time to people. I don’t know why it is so easy to forget.

Vashta.Nerada on October 4, 2010 at 10:02 AM

Dead or Alive – You Spin Me Round (Like a Record)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zJv5qLsLYoo

canopfor on October 4, 2010 at 10:03 AM

Obama can hardly afford to play chicken

Yeah, right.

/the chicken

The Mega Independent on October 4, 2010 at 10:03 AM

Look out for as many and as dirty of ‘October surprises’ as they can muster, as well as record numbers of the dead voting. They will NOT go quietly.

michaelo on October 4, 2010 at 10:05 AM

Some on call that lonely Maytag repairman, the washer’s (Democrat’s narratives), stuck on the spin cycle.

Rovin on October 4, 2010 at 10:06 AM

The Dems ran the most radical Leftist in American history (on a major party ticket) and he won rather easily.

mankai on October 4, 2010 at 9:54 AM

That’s because he didn’t run as the most radical Leftist in American history; he ran as a left-leaning moderate who was going to be a post-racial, bi-partisan reformer.

If Obama had run as what he really is, he never would have won. Which he knew, of course, and that’s why he pretended to be something else.

AZCoyote on October 4, 2010 at 10:08 AM

You got that right Michaelo

cmsinaz on October 4, 2010 at 10:08 AM

They always wanted to manage a decline, now they will have their chance.

NoDonkey on October 4, 2010 at 10:08 AM

Dear leader will double down and blame gop obstruction…

cmsinaz on October 4, 2010 at 10:00 AM

cmsinaz: And then,a two year old temper tantrum ensuses
State by State,as the dominos fall and Liberals
one by one begin to snap!!:)(sarc).

canopfor on October 4, 2010 at 10:09 AM

Fiscal year 2010 has ended, and the US debt increased from $11.909 trillion in 2009 to $13.561 trillion in 2010 – A mere $1.652 trillion increase. Way to go Pelosi-Reed-Øbama!

In terms some can understand a $1652 billion increase in debt in one year. A new record high. Beating last year.

Dasher on October 4, 2010 at 10:16 AM

Canopfor, heh will be a popcorn fest indeed :)

cmsinaz on October 4, 2010 at 10:18 AM

Clinton won in a three-way race against Bob Dole. How did Congressional Democrats do against Republicans? They lost. They lost in 1998, too, and in 2000, 2002, and 2004.

-
And this is why all the Murkowski types must be crushed at the polls… Otherwise look for a third to come from a non-accepting of their primary loss R.

RalphyBoy on October 4, 2010 at 10:20 AM

The Dems ran the most radical Leftist in American history (on a major party ticket) and he won rather easily.

mankai on October 4, 2010 at 9:54 AM

He ran as a “reformer” to change the way politics were being “done”. To end the divisiveness…remember “Hope and Change”.
And lo and behold, he becomes the consummate liberal, which is why he is taking a beating.
He was going to end “racism”, and he fueled it and wrapped himself with the ugly cloak
He was going to end unemployment, and it gained strength.
He was going to help the middle class, it is being destroyed under his economic policies
He was going to lower health care, and the costs are soaring
He was running on “Hope and Change”, and it ended up “Nope and the same”….only worse.
He won on lies, and is now being judged on performance…

right2bright on October 4, 2010 at 10:22 AM

How did Congressional Democrats do against Republicans? They lost.

Actually, the Democrats gained 8 seats in the House in 1996, 5 in 1998, and one in 2000. They lost 7 in 2002 and 2 in 2004, before the big 31-seat gain in 2006. Granted, the swings weren’t much after 1994 until ’06; various factors, including the advantages of incumbency, protected the Republican majority. But the Democrats were never net losers: from 1996-2004, they were +5.

irishspy on October 4, 2010 at 10:22 AM

Thanks for the heads=up Cap’n Ed.

This bunch trots out a new narrative every week or so, don’t they?

And here I thought they had decided on thier three big narratives for the fall: That (1) the dumbass hillbillies in “flyover country” simply don’t get the nuanced Brilliance! of Obama’s governing style and agenda; (2) that the American public are acting like a bunch of shortsighted, self-centered, spoiled teenagers instead of doing what’s “resposnible” (the Democrat agenda, of course); (3) that eeeeeevvvvolllllll “big business” was deliberately sabotaging the economy in order to undermine the greates president EVAR!.

I guess that in addition to thier other incompetencies, they’ve forgotten that you essentially pick three which encompass your desired message/agenda, and stick to’em.

But, you know, maybe I’m just one of the rubes I mentioned in #1, and can’t comprehend the brilliance…

RocketmanBob on October 4, 2010 at 10:23 AM

Look out for as many and as dirty of ‘October surprises’ as they can muster, as well as record numbers of the dead voting. They will NOT go quietly.

michaelo on October 4, 2010 at 10:05 AM

It won’t work…Grayson has tried it, Brown has tried it…it is failing, that “October surprise” has gotten old and people are weary (and wary) of it.

right2bright on October 4, 2010 at 10:24 AM

Yeah, well I obviously can’t close HTML tags, even when buttons are provided, or spell “greatest”…

RocketmanBob on October 4, 2010 at 10:24 AM

Canopfor, heh will be a popcorn fest indeed :)

cmsinaz on October 4, 2010 at 10:18 AM

cmsinaz:U-Betcha:)

canopfor on October 4, 2010 at 10:25 AM

canopfor on October 4, 2010 at 10:09 AM

Quiet, you! I need to hear from Drywall.

Lanceman on October 4, 2010 at 10:25 AM

hammertime comes!

lovin’ it.

ted c on October 4, 2010 at 10:27 AM

We need nationwide voter Id and paper trails on EVERY vote, ASAP!

I’d also drop this early voting BS. WHY have it again?

Come in person, do your duty, or you con’t count! Absentee voting ONLY with verified and cross checked registered voters.

We HAVE to repair these elections FIRST THING!

NO MORE FRAUD!

golfmann on October 4, 2010 at 10:28 AM

Right2bright, that won’t stop them from trying…

cmsinaz on October 4, 2010 at 10:30 AM

canopfor on October 4, 2010 at 10:09 AM
=============================
Quiet, you! I need to hear from Drywall.

Lanceman on October 4, 2010 at 10:25 AM

Lanceman:Thats WroughtWall,haha!!!:)

canopfor on October 4, 2010 at 10:32 AM

Right2bright, that won’t stop them from trying…

cmsinaz on October 4, 2010 at 10:30 AM

Exactly, I am counting on it…it has worked in the past, but not this time.
McIntyre, out here in NC, tried a dirty ad, and he lost 3 points before he could pull it…that just about sealed his fate.

right2bright on October 4, 2010 at 10:32 AM

Dear leader will double down and blame gop obstruction…the 91% approval from AA will stay high, running the race card meme

cmsinaz on October 4, 2010 at 10:00 AM

Ed Schultz has already codified that narrative through Saturday’s pep rally and his inflammatory rhetoric.

onlineanalyst on October 4, 2010 at 10:34 AM

Is this what ObaMao meant when he told his civilian troops to “buck up”?

onlineanalyst on October 4, 2010 at 10:36 AM

I can see November 2nd from my keyboard!

kingsjester on October 4, 2010 at 10:37 AM

Right2bright, excellent :)

cmsinaz on October 4, 2010 at 10:37 AM

Look out for as many and as dirty of ‘October surprises’ as they can muster, as well as record numbers of the dead voting. They will NOT go quietly.

michaelo on October 4, 2010 at 10:05 AM

And the republicans,if in control of the house better be prepared to prosecute the living HELL out of them. Time to put a stop to this crap, could start by getting the dead off the voter rolls and keeping them off!

heshtesh on October 4, 2010 at 10:39 AM

Good piece: We are at the tipping point.
http://spectator.org/archives/2010/10/04/the-tipping-point

onlineanalyst on October 4, 2010 at 10:40 AM

Onlineanalyst, pathetic group running in circles it seems

cmsinaz on October 4, 2010 at 10:40 AM

Great piece Onlineanalyst….thanks

cmsinaz on October 4, 2010 at 10:44 AM

Ed, one tiny nit to pick with you. Judge Wright did not order Clinton disbarred. In fact, no federal judge has the power to order anyone disbarred. Wright referred Clinton to the Arkansas Supreme Court. While that referral was pending, Clinton agreed to his disbarment as a part of what was essentially–though not technically–a plea agreement with the Independent Prosecutor (the guy who replaced Ken Starr–the name escapes me at the moment).

The point–important though highly technical–is that state courts have jurisdiction over the admissions to their Bars, and it would be a tremendous violation of the principles of federalism for a federal judge to order a state to disbar someone.

Anonymous Finch on October 4, 2010 at 10:53 AM

I sincerely hope that the democrats believe their own spin.

Because short of that, there is nothing to keep them from destroying the republic in their lame duck session of congress.

Rebar on October 4, 2010 at 10:56 AM

Republican leadership need to put on blinders to what the White House and even the Senate want.

ALL spending bills MUST start in the House.
Write the legislation, including balancing the budget, with the tax changes etc.
DO NOT PUT ANY Social or sweeping changes, like Social Security reform or any Earmarks in the first new budget.
Send it to the Senate.
DO NOT NEGOTIATE.
Shut down the government if required.
The Senate will eventually agree. (If there are no Social changes, like gay marriage or DADT stuff.)
Send it to the White House.
He will threaten to veto and he might actually veto.
Leave the government shut down, except millitary at 100%, Justice at 80% and SS at 100% until he signs it all.

AFTER he has been “broken”, then the next year, start on the “other” items.

barnone on October 4, 2010 at 11:03 AM

Hey, didn’t Ed Rendall actually get on the air yesterday and tell viewers, with a perfectly straight face, that even if you don’t like the candidate or what they did and didn’t do, you should still vote Democratic anyway?

Is this guy for real or wha?!!!

pilamaye on October 4, 2010 at 11:03 AM

It seemed like forever getting here, but we are less than one month away from the mid-term elections. Pedal to the metal, people!

Christien on October 4, 2010 at 11:12 AM

Let’s see .. the Democrats took the House and Senate in 2006, but when the economy crashed starting in 2007 and in a big way in 2008 ..
the Democrats Bush got blamed

J_Crater on October 4, 2010 at 11:51 AM

They seem to be forgetting that the market loves stagnation, it is predictable. The market will get better the next two years(my opinion). But it won’t be great until we can start repealing ObamaCare and gives everyone tax cuts.

jeffn21 on October 4, 2010 at 11:58 AM

@barnone on October 4, 2010 at 11:03 AM

ALL spending bills MUST start in the House.

snip

AFTER he has been “broken”, then the next year, start on the “other” items.

Great plan. Unfortunately, it requires the GOP finding a set of testicles somewhere. Possible, but altogether unlikely…

Diogenes Online on October 4, 2010 at 12:13 PM

Actually, I’ll go Ed one better. The headline story on the morning after the Nov. election will be “Democrats did not do as bad as some expected.” With a sub-heading: “Obama strengthened for 2012 run.” With the Democrats it’s always about the spin. Even if the Republicans win 75 new seats, they will point out that some said 125 were in play, so from that perspective things didn’t work out so bad for the Dems. Also with Republicans now with some power in Congress, Obama has what he has always lacked: a believable enemy who is preventing him from delivering the Utopia he promised in 2008.

Fred 2 on October 4, 2010 at 12:19 PM

Or perhaps “Dems do better than expected.” It’s even more upbeat.

Fred 2 on October 4, 2010 at 12:20 PM

Take the spinning Democrats, wrap them in copper wire, put some big permanent magnets next to them and you will SOLVE the energy problems of the Nation.

Of course we should have done that with the corpses of the founders long ago…

ajacksonian on October 4, 2010 at 12:23 PM

it’s called perjury — which is the charge on which Clinton was impeached, and for which a federal judge ordered Clinton disbarred.

The liars will NEVER own up to this… it is easier to pull their hair out than to get them to admit the facts of this matter.

leftnomore on October 4, 2010 at 3:03 PM

Democrats also have begun to shrug at losing control of the House, spinning that Republicans won’t be able to govern

Hum? So if the Repubs take the house they will be held accountable for governing?

Does that mean we should hold the Dems accountable for governing for the last 4 years?

Dems took both houses in 06 election, our economy has been crashing ever since.

DSchoen on October 4, 2010 at 3:41 PM

but Clinton won in a three-way race the meme of the Journolisters with over three third party articles is who will be or lead a third party Bloomberg, or Ron Paul, or someone will co-opt the Tea Party to unelect NObama there better Not be a third party

mathewsjw on October 4, 2010 at 6:38 PM