It is obvious now that President Obama is attempting to
pretend that the voters did not reject him and his policies on
November 4. Is it self-deception or just another conscious
effort to try to make his words push past political reality?
It doesn’t matter. The defeat was not small by any
standard. It was not a small “wave.” Mr. Obama’s string
has run out.
The Old Media which promoted him, ignored his gaffes,
denied his failures, rationalized his constant amateurism,
and always praised him excessively, has begun to move on.
Even most of them find his denial too much to take.
But what about the rest of the Democratic Party? The
Democrats in the U.S. house of representatives have returned
Nancy Pelosi, herself a specialist in obvious political denial,
to her leadership position one more time. The Democrats in
the U.S. senate have voted to keep Harry Reid, the poster boy
villain in the voters’ eyes in 2014, to his leadership position.
So much for the message that voters clearly sent to
Washington, DC just a few days ago.
It was an awkward and transparent ploy for Senator Mary
Landrieu of Louisiana to co-sponsor a bill in the senate to pass
the Keystone Pipeline (she’s facing a run-off election on
December 5, and needed to show she had some influence in
her job), but even that fell short, although she had every
GOP senator’s vote. The Pipeline is overwhelmingly supported
by most Americans, but most of her Democratic colleagues
failed to help her out.
Attention now naturally shifts to Hillary Clinton’s 2016 run
for president in 2016. As the presumptive Democratic nominee,
it might be expected she would show some acknowledgment,
in some form or another, of the 2014 electoral results. So far
nothing, but she might yet do so. Meanwhile, pundits are
floating alternatives to her candidacy as a way to pass the time.
Some have suggested it could be Governor Jerry Brown, the
aging but persistent wannabe from California who will be 78
years old in 2016. Others have suggested Elizabeth Warren, a far
left figure who makes George McGovern seem like a right winger.
I myself have suggested Andrew Cuomo, a hothead who at least
has both experience and personality. But it’s probably going to
be Mrs. Clinton.
The Republicans have yet to play their cards. Many conservatives,
beaten down by the past six years, remain stubbornly skeptical
that their party can win back the White House, although many of
the liberal voting myths were shattered in 2014, and the GOP
leadership in Congress showed considerable skill and discipline
in the past year.
At the grass roots level, however, many thoughtful Democrats
were sobered by the 2014 election results. Contrary to the palaver
of their party leaders, they saw that many voters, especially the
vitally important independent voters, had enough of the
leftward shift of the Obama years, of the lack of transparency
in the U.S. senate and administration policy, and of the nasty
snobbery of liberal figures such as Jonathan Gruber. For these
grass roots Democrats, they see no truly serious alternative to
Mrs. Clinton (so they will vote for her), and they fear the next
election might be a final rejection of the aspirations and beliefs
they continue to have.
2014 was a wave election, but so was 2010. In 2012, however, the
Democrats recovered. The man who brought them back turned
out to be just another pied piper. With Mrs. Clinton’s party
ascendancy seemingly assured, media attention will now shift
significantly to the Republican contest. It will be, as it was in
2011-12, a very large field of candidates, most of whom represent
factions of the party and cannot be elected. There are at least
three or four possible GOP figures, some of whom may not run,
who have the stature and the breadth to become president in 2016.
Their drama, and the melodrama of their supporting cast, will
now be played out in full sight and spectacle. At least one of
them presumably has no delusions about what happened in 2014.
Copyright (c) 2014 by Barry Casselman. All rights reserved.