Charlie Cook on Obama WH: “this isn’t a communication problem..this is a reality problem”
And yet the clowns on the Hill think ramming ahead on the health care bill is the way to go…KNOWING that they will have to push through higher taxes if they do this…utterly clueless..unless the higher taxes is the ultimate goal. In which case they can Forget About It! Ain’t Gonna Happen. Americans are already saying N-O.
NationalJournalInterview (go read the whole thing!!):
NJ: If Obama has a communications problem as you suggest, then what should he do to reach out to the American people? Should he try to appear more populist?
Cook: I sort of reject the notion that there is a communications problem with President Obama. I think it’s just fundamental, total miscalculations from the very, very beginning. Of proportions comparable to President George W. Bush’s decision to go into Iraq….
…This was a case where I think the White House people could see, look at the president, the White House and congressional Democrats as sort of checking the box on stimulus, but found that kind of boring, and moved on to health care and cap-and-trade. And the thing is, Democrats piled all this cotton candy and pork and junk and pet projects into it, so it discredited the stimulus package in the minds of a lot of voters and at the same time, it wasn’t big enough. It was totally insufficient, yet they wanted to keep it under a trillion dollars because they didn’t want to spend a lot of political capital on a really big stimulus package because they wanted to save it for cap-and-trade and health care. And so we start off with the original sin of a very imperfect and inadequate economic stimulus package and then moving off the economy almost entirely going into cap-and-trade and health care.
And then when unemployment numbers started proving to be much, much tougher and it started becoming more clear that the stimulus package hadn’t worked properly, they just kept plowing ahead on health care. And this isn’t a communications problem. This is a reality problem. And I think they just made some grave miscalculations and as it became more clear that they had screwed up, they just kept doubling down their bet.
And so I think, no, this is one of the biggest miscalculations that we’ve seen in modern political history.
Continues after the break:
NJ: What do Democrats have to do to correct this?
Cook: I’ve spent the last couple of days talking to some of the brightest Democrats in the party that are not in the White House. And it’s very hard to come up with a scenario where Democrats don’t lose the House. It’s very hard. Are the seats there right this second? No. But we’re on a trajectory on the House turning over….
There are nine months, certainly things could happen, but the odds of unemployment being below 9 percent are minimal by the time of this election. We’re probably going to have a year of basically, more or less, 10 percent unemployment, which hasn’t happened since the Great Depression. I mean, in fact, in an even-numbered year there’s only been one month of double-digit unemployment in the post-War era. One month. And now we’re going to have probably about a year.
NJ: Name some places where Democrats should be focusing their energy, states or districts where it’s really going to be a tough sell but you think that its worth making.
Cook: Well when a Democratic Senate candidates loses Barney Frank’s district and loses Massachusetts, I think it raises a legitimate question of what is safe — not what’s in danger, but what is safe.
But if you were going to build a profile of where is it going to be absolutely the worst for Democrats, I would say the Deep South, Old South, the border south, states and districts with large small-town and rural populations, maybe lower percentages of college graduates — in other words, sort of yuppie types. I would say fewer transplants from the north. Places where Obama did worse than John Kerry did in the general election.
And there’s sort of like a Nike swoosh, eastern Ohio, West Virginia, western Pennsylvania, down and across Tennessee, across the south and all the way to Oklahoma that Obama — I mean, 70 percent of the counties in America, Barack Obama did much better than John Kerry, but there is a sort of a swoosh of counties where Obama underperformed John Kerry — and let’s face it, John Kerry wasn’t exactly a son of the South — so that was like particularly bad.
Or you could look at, where did Obama lose to Hillary Clinton. A lot of working class white areas, that sort of thing. I mean I think those are going to be sort of the ground zero states and districts where it’s going to be bad. But I don’t know that there are many places that aren’t going to be bad, I mean, that are going to be good….
The thing that I think a lot of Democratic strategists are really concerned about is that some of these districts are going to be gone for a generation or more. I mean, they’re not coming back. They’re ones that had somehow managed to hang on in Democratic hands even after the Democratic Party fell out of favor in a lot of the South. But once they slip away, I’m not sure they’re coming back….
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