Do You Hear What I Hear?
Friday November 7, 2014
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When Sen. Barack Obama was sworn in as the 44th President of the United States on January 20, 2009 there were 257 Democrats in the U.S. House and 59 Democrats (and independents) in the U.S. Senate. In April, Arlen Spector of Pennsylvania crossed the aisle and became a Democrat giving the Ds and filibuster-proof 60-40 advantage.
His job approval was at 68 percent and he was just months away from being named the recipient of the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize.
By the time the dust settles after this year's mid term elections there are likely to be about 185 Democrat members of the House and 46 Democrat members of the Senate. That's minus 72 in the House and minus 14 in the Senate.
His job approval is at about 41 percent and the Nobel Committees have lost his address.
Barack Obama may be the worst thing to happen to the Democratic Party in America since, well, ever.
Democratic and Liberal apologists claim that the reason for the huge losses in the House is the purely partisan redistricting Republicans have foisted on the nation since the census of 2010.
That is a fair assessment if you think the current lines were drawn in time for the 2010 mid-terms (in which the GOP picked up 63 seats). But, you would be wrong. The first election under the current redistricting was 2012 (in which Republicans went down from 242 seats to 234 seats - minus 8).
2012 was the election, you remember, after which we were told that Obama had run on, and won on, the issue of Obamacare so Republicans could just shove a sock in it.
Not only that, but neither reapportionment (the number of Congressional Districts per state) nor redistricting (how those Districts are drawn) has any effect on races for the U.S. Senate. Every state gets two. North Dakota gets the same number as California.
On Wednesday, President Obama held a news conference during which he declined to characterize the results of the election other than saying "Republicans had a good night."
He didn't want to make headlines by calling the elections a drubbing, a thumping, a thrashing, a pasting, or the biggest calamity since that asteroid crashed into the Gulf of Mexico 64 million years ago wiping out the dinosaurs.
The Washington Post did quote Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) as saying the election was a real "ass-whuppin'" although there was some discussion in the newsroom during the day as to the exact spelling of that phrase.
What Obama did say was:
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"To everyone who voted, I want you to know that I hear you. To the two-thirds of voters who chose not to participate in the process yesterday, I hear you, too."
Not, perhaps, the drama of President George W. Bush with a megaphone at Ground Zero, but we got what he was saying: With only a third of the electorate participating, Republicans shouldn't think they got a mandate.
If people weren't voting for Republican candidates then they must have been voting against Democratic candidates. If they weren't voting against Democratic candidates they must have been voting against Barack Obama.
The only rallying cry Democrats could muster was: "Wait'll 2016!" when, they believe, the Earth will again spin correctly on its axis and the power of a strong Democratic Presidential candidate - read, Hillary Clinton - will again cause all those minorities and young people to flock to the polls.
Maybe, but the Washington Post's Karen Tumulty distilled what must be weighing heavily on Democratic planners when she Tweeted on Wednesday:
"One loser last night may be Dems' much vaunted, high-tech ground game. Appears the 'Obama coalition' doesn't show up for anyone but Obama."
Will Black and Hispanic voters turn out in Obama-like numbers to vote for a White woman? Will young people turn out in force to vote for a candidate who will be 69-years old on election day?
If Hillary runs, we'll know the answer to that exactly two years from tomorrow.
Meanwhile, we have two more years of the Presidency of Barack Obama. He said he hears the voters (and the non-voters) but no reporter asked him what he heard.
He most certainly didn't hear what I heard.
On the Secret Decoder Ring page today: A link to the CNN election tracker that will continue to update and a link to the Joe Manchin piece in the WaPo.
Also a pretty funny Mullfoto that I did not stage.
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