George Stephanopoulos gives the White House response to last night’s election debacles in Virginia and New Jersey in what must be the biggest case of bravado or cluelessness yet seen from the White House. After Stephanopoulos reviews the excruciating detail of the flight of independents from the Democratic Party just a year after the election of Barack Obama, he tells Diane Sawyers on today’s Good Morning America that the Obama administration sees the economic worries that drove them to the GOP as a clarion call to … stop spending so much money? Downsize a bloated bureaucracy? Cut the ever-popular waste, fraud, and abuse in government programs?
Not exactly. Think hair of the dog. Click on the image to watch:
“I asked a White House official about [the effect on health care] this morning, and they’re going to try to push HARD on their argument that by addressing health care, you are addressing the problem of the deficits in the future. Now, that’s going to be a hard sell with some of these, especially, moderate Democrats in the Senate who are very wary of health care right now. … Speaker Pelosi needs every Democrat she can get. But I think the election results last night will give PAUSE to some of the centrists.”
So the answer to a big backlash over the radical direction of the Democratic agenda and the failure of Obamanomics to address unemployment is … to offer a big dose of what ailed Democrats in the first place? That might work for the progressives, but they don’t have to worry about holding their seats in the 2010 midterms. Every member of Congress and the Senate whose constituency didn’t produce more than a 15-point Obama win in 2008 — the margin of victory in suddenly-red New Jersey — has to know that carrying Obama’s water will mean surrendering their seat next year.
If the White House really believes this, they’re delusional. No one expects ObamaCare to cut the deficit, and the massive spending and taxes it will take will perfectly set the GOP up for next November. I’d call this half-hearted spin, and I’d also guess that more Democrats will come out this week looking for Joe Lieberman’s incrementalist approach over Pelosi’s radical overhaul.
And indeed, some of them already are:
Jim Costa’s path to reelection isn’t the toughest among House Democrats, but that doesn’t mean the California Democrat feels safe voting for a House health care overhaul bill that he says is too costly and does too little to help rural districts like his own.
“I think we’re all vulnerable next year,” said Costa, who won with nearly three-quarters of the vote last year in a district that President Barack Obama carried with 60 percent.
Costa is one of a handful of moderate House Democrats from relatively stable districts who aren’t yet on board with the health care bill and whose “no” votes could force colleagues in more marginal districts to cast offsetting — and potentially perilous — “yes” votes.
Rep. Dennis Cardoza (D-Calif.) — from a 59 percent Obama district — is another. Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Texas), who won with 69 percent of the vote in 2008 and has never gotten less than 59 percent, is also in play, calling himself “undecided.”
Expect to see more skeptics among Democratic moderates, not less, after this election.