- The Washington Times - Friday, November 13, 2009

DON’T LOOK NOW

“Democrats have reason to look over their shoulder as the 2010 elections approach,” John Fund writes at www.opinionjournal.com.

“In the wake of GOP victories in last week’s elections in New Jersey and Virginia, Republicans have taken a 48 percent to 44 percent lead among registered voters in the ‘generic ballot’ question - i.e. which party voters say they support in local congressional races. Among all adults, the GOP lead is two points,” Mr. Fund said.

“Both results are extraordinary. As recently as last July, Democrats held a six-point lead on the generic question. Last December, just after the presidential election, Democrats held a 15-point lead, which had helped them pick up 20 House seats the month before.

“The new numbers are largely due to the collapse of support for Democrats among independent voters. The new Gallup numbers have independents leaning to the GOP by 52 percent to 30 percent. Last month, independents only favored Republicans by a six-point margin.

“Democratic and Republican voters show remarkable party loyalty within their respective bases - more than 90 percent of registered voters in either party plan to stick with their party of choice in the 2010 election. But independent voters are clearly swayed by arguments that the Obama administration and Democratic Congress are moving too far to the left too quickly. Gallup concludes: ‘The overall results would predict a likely strong Republican showing if the House elections were held today.’

“Look for nervous Senate Democrats to pore over these generic ballot numbers as they prepare to vote on a health care bill which is clearly stirring up opposition. The latest Rasmussen survey finds 42 percent of Americans strongly oppose the bill passed this month by the House, while only 25 percent strongly support it.”

MISCALCULATION

“Put simply, Obama has misread his mandate,” Steven Stark writes in the Boston Phoenix.

“Perhaps he thought he was elevated to pass health care - they loved it in Iowa! - but in fact it was the economic crisis that got him elected, is now our national preoccupation, and will be the solution of which (or lack of one) that determines whether he’s re-elected,” Mr. Stark said.

“Obama seems to have forgotten all the stuff he proclaimed in the campaign about a new type of non-divisive presidency, even though that promise of bipartisanship was the facet of his candidacy that appealed the most to independents. Of course, the Republicans have made bipartisanship difficult. But he was the one in the campaign who claimed he could deal in a new way with those across the aisle - in contrast with his primary opponent, Hillary Clinton, who once called that opposition ‘the vast right-wing conspiracy.’

“Obama further miscalculated what a president actually does and is expected to do in a constitutionally weak office. When it comes to the economy in an interdependent world, there’s not a whole lot under his office’s control.

“Now that we, as a nation, have awakened from our post-election, post-racial dream state, we’ve begun to notice that our president may not be much interested in being a chief ‘executive,’ given that he’s never run anything before or expressed the slightest inclination to do so. He has big ideas, to be sure, but that’s only a small part of the job. The hard, nitty-gritty labor of figuring out how government can actually work better - the operative word is ‘governing’ - seems to hold no appeal for him.

“Put another way, where are our flu shots? It’s worth recalling that, in what seems a lifetime ago, it was Clinton - not Obama - who promised to be ready on Day One.”

NOT OVER YET

“It’s not likely, but a huge embarrassment to Nancy Pelosi and Barack Obama could be shaping up in the 23rd Congressional District of New York,” John Steele Gordon writes in a blog at www.commentarymagazine.com.

Doug Hoffman, the Conservative Party candidate, conceded the race on election night when he was told that, with 93 percent of the vote counted, he was 5,300 votes behind and had barely carried his stronghold of Oswego County,” Mr. Gordon said.

“In fact he carried Oswego by 1,748 votes and, thanks to the recanvass, is now only 3,000 votes behind the Democratic candidate, Bill Owens. On election night, he was behind Owens by 300 votes in Jefferson County. He now leads there by over 400.

“So it boils down to the absentee ballots that are yet to be counted. There were about 10,000 absentee ballots sent out. If half of them were returned - not an uncommon percentage - Hoffman would have to win over 80 percent of them to overturn Owens’s victory. Very unlikely, but not impossible.

“If that were to happen, the political apparatchiks in the White House, who have been trying desperately to change the subject by saying that this election was the true test of national politics, not the governorships of Virginia and New Jersey, would have egg all over their faces.

“Worse, Nancy Pelosi would look like she played dirty by swearing in Bill Owns when there was no certificate of election from New York state. Each house is ‘the judge of the elections, returns and qualifications of its own members,’ but it is unusual not to wait for certification of the election by state election authorities. Pelosi didn’t in this case (or in the undisputed special House race in California), because she was desperate to have the two votes for the PelosiCare bill.

“I haven’t the faintest idea if the vote of an improperly seated congressman counts (and it wouldn’t reverse the outcome in any case), but if Bill Owens was indeed improperly seated, it will be truly delicious.”

DELAWARE OUTLOOK

“One of the toughest tasks for Republicans in the 2010 cycle will be keeping the House seat of Mike Castle, who’s running for the Senate in Delaware. But they have a candidate: businessman and political newcomer Frederick Cullis,” Jim Geraghty writes in a blog at www. nationalreview.com.

“There are two Democrats definitely running, former Lt. Gov. John Carney and transportation consultant Scott Spencer; there’s also a bit of speculation that if Beau Biden, son of Vice President Joe Biden, doesn’t run for his father’s old Senate seat, he might run for the House seat,” Mr. Geraghty said.

Greg Pierce can be reached at 202/636-3285 or gpierce@washingtontimes .com.


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