Pride goeth before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall. But what comes after a fall? Recriminations, as Alex Sink reminds us in Florida. Politico interviewed the erstwhile gubernatorial candidate from Florida, who puts a large part of the blame for her loss on Barack Obama’s shoulders, and the rest on Rick Scott’s checkbook:
In the wake of the party’s worst election drubbing since 1994, the deep frustration felt by many centrist Democrats toward the White House and the national party is now out in the open. And it’s being aired in the battleground state that’s the biggest prize in presidential politics.
Florida Democratic gubernatorial nominee Alex Sink pointed an accusatory finger Friday at what she called a “tone-deaf” Obama White House to explain why she narrowly lost her campaign.
In an interview with POLITICO, Sink said the administration mishandled the response to the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, doesn’t appreciate the political damage done by healthcare reform and argued that her GOP opponent’s strategy of tying her to the president did grave damage to her candidacy in the state’s conservative Panhandle.
“They got a huge wake-up call two days ago, but unfortunately they took a lot of Democrats down with them,” said Sink of the White House.
She added: “They just need to be better listeners and be better at reaching out to people who are on the ground to hear about the realities of their policies as well as politics.”
Oddly enough, Sink doesn’t mention the fact that the DNC and Obama’s organizing wing OFA poured resources into Florida on her behalf to keep her competitive with Scott. Sink also neglects to mention that she had leads in polls in the final days of the election until she got caught cheating in a debate — and then lied about it. That didn’t do anything for her relationship to Florida voters, either.
Still, it’s interesting to see a high-profile establishment Democrat scold the administration on politics, policy, and performance. The White House continues to insist that it did a good job of responding to the Gulf oil spill, and while this midterm wasn’t a referendum on that disaster, it’s interesting to see how well Democrats fared in Gulf states on Tuesday. At the moment Democrats hold only one district directly on the Gulf coast, the New Orleans district lost by Joseph Cao. The GOP picked up at least two and possibly three districts on the Gulf. Despite a rather checkered history, Louisiana Senator David Vitter beat Democratic challenger Charlie Melancon by almost 20 points.
But the main thrust of the midterm election was the economy, jobs, and the radical agenda of Democrats. In that sense, Sink is right in saying that the results reflected the policies and performance of Obama and the White House, along with Nancy Pelosi and Congress. Perhaps Sink couldn’t have overcome that environment in any case, but she came close enough that her own performance was almost certainly the difference. And lying to defend cheating in the final week is enough to torpedo a campaign even in the best environment.