Alternate headline: “Lame-duck Blue Dog free to admit what every other Democrat already knows.” The good stuff comes at the beginning, but if you give up before the end, you’ll miss him talking about what a horrible political miscalculation ObamaCare was. Yes, after 60 years of trying, they finally got a foot in the door of socialized medicine, but they knew the price they’d pay was steep. Did they know it’d be quite this steep, though? Kaus-ian Democrat-bashing Democrat Pat Caddell raises the stakes:
Unlike President Reagan at his first-term midpoint, in 1982, “Obama is not able to go out there and say, ‘Stay the course.’ That’s just not possible. The Democrats’ hope with health care was that ‘people will like it after we pass it.’ Well, they hate it, and you don’t see any effort to promote it. The Democrats had a chance to do this right — most people supported aspects of reform — but because of the way it was passed, as a crime against democracy, the country has simply not accepted it. The lies, the browbeating, the ‘deem and pass’ — all of it was a suicide mission.”…
Can Obama soften the blow at the eleventh hour? Caddell says it will be tough. Any efforts by Obama to right his ship, he says, will still face an electorate largely uninterested in new West Wing talking points or presidential maneuvers. Caddell believes that 2010 will be a louder, more raucous moment than 1978 in American politics. “The discontent is much larger than the turnout at Glenn Beck rallies,” he says. “A sea of anger is churning — the tea parties are but the tip of the iceberg. People say they want to take their country back, and, to the Democrats’ chagrin, they’re very serious about it.”
For what it’s worth, I think Larry Sabato’s estimated gain of 47 seats is just about perfect in terms of what the GOP should aim for. Anything less than 40, which is what they need to take back the House, will seems like a disappointment whereas matching 1994’s total of 52 seems like an unrealistically tall order even with everything breaking their way. Although you should definitely read this rosier-than-rosy assessment by Sean Trende at RCP positing a pick-up somewhere between 60 … and 90. Until I see it happen with my own two eyes, I’m assuming that a net gain in the high 50s is the best any party can hope to do in our roughly evenly divided nation. Anything above it would be Beamonesque.