So where has the Clinton formula gone wrong? It is not that the doctrinaire Democrat base is insufficiently jubilant over the health-care victory. It is because of the independents. The independents have suddenly arisen like the zombies in a horror movie and are throwing their votes to Republicans in unprecedented quantities. You see 70 to 30 leads for Republicans among independents in states like Massachusetts, an eventuality no political consultant could possibly have anticipated.
I think the answer is that the press overplayed its hand. It has thoroughly abdicated its role in questioning government when Democrats are in office. The same press crew that challenged Bush on the economy when there was 4.6% unemployment now reports as wonderful the fact that unemployment when up from 9.7 to 9.9 in April. This proves more people are optimistic enough about the future to re-enter the job market! Imagine if we hit 11 or 12, we will have to send a ticker-tape parade down Wall Street.
This tells the independent voter there is no longer a contest between Democrat and Republican. There is a contest between charismatic leaders surrounded by naïve sycophants versus practical leaders surrounded by skeptical interrogators. The independent has to vote Republican not because he buys the ideology but merely because he thinks it healthy to have a guy who is challenged rather than venerated.
We have gotten to that point with the Presidency. It is no longer one job. There are two distinct jobs of Democrat President and Republican President. One walks into the press room to meet the lemmings while the other must face the jackals.
Saturday, May 22, 2010
When The Press Refuses To Do Its Job, Independents Opt For Safety