A bitter pill for Democrats

Mike Crissman

Democrats are in quite a pickle right now.

After suffering three consecutive losses in statewide elections, the Democratic Party is starting to realize it cannot defeat Republican candidates simply by associating them with the former president anymore. The voters who sent President Barack Obama and a plethora of Democrats to Washington almost 15 months ago were drunk on hope and change. Many have sobered up since and see that the left’s policies aren’t all sunshine and rainbows.

Last November, Virginia and New Jersey, states that Obama carried in the 2008 presidential election, had the distinct opportunity of being the first to make a judgment, in the form of an election, on how well the President and his allied Democratic Congress had done thus far in their first year. The verdict was guilty. Republican candidates Bob McDonnell and Chris Christie, from Virginia and New Jersey respectively, both won governor seats previously held by Democrats.

More recently, and much more surprisingly, was the special election held last week in Massachusetts to fill the Senate seat left vacant after the passing of Ted Kennedy. “The Lion of the Senate” served as senator in Massachusetts, a state that has historically been a stronghold for liberalism, for 46 years until his untimely death last August. The same constituents who kept Kennedy in office nearly half a century and John Kerry for about half that time just elected a Republican.

Senator-elect Scott Brown ran in direct opposition to the policies of Obama and company on Capitol Hill. He is the self-proclaimed “41st vote,” meaning he will be the vote that could potentially kill the current health care reform bill being rushed through Congress.

The legislation that Democrats have been working tirelessly to pass in recent months has proved to be wildly unpopular with a majority of Americans. The elections of Brown, McDonnell and Christie can be viewed as a direct reflection on the people’s opinion of the president and Congress. Democrats have been extremely partisan recently. They have largely left the right out of the legislation process, especially with health care. Although not good for democracy, Democrats could afford to do so with a super majority of 60 members in the Senate. With the election of Brown, however, Republicans can now stop the runaway train that is health- care reform through the use of the controversial filibuster.

A common theme in each of the three recent statewide elections is the Democrats’ use of the “Bush card.” Much like the race card, the Bush card is a desperate attempt to associate someone with something that is unpopular. The Bush card was used against all three winning Republicans during the campaigns of each competing Democrat. Each of the three losing liberal candidates attempted to tie their conservative adversary to the unpopular George Bush and the failed policies of his administration. To their dismay, the strategy was unsuccessful.

People have short memories. They don’t care anymore if a politician supported some of the things the last president stood for. All they care about is the current administration. They don’t want to hear Obama tell us for the thousandth time how he inherited a mess from Bush. They want to hear how we’re going to get out of it.

People are sick and tired of bailouts and continuing to increase the already historic national debt. Whether these things were necessary to keep the recession from becoming another depression is a debate for another day.

People will blame those in power when times are tough. Right now the Democrats are in power. As long as that is the case and as long as we remain in financial turmoil, they will continue to lose elections. Instead of continuing to play the Bush blame game, Democrats should focus more on creating jobs, turning our country around and listening to what the people of America actually want if they hope to turn their fortunes around.

The same winning formula that helped Democrats take the White House and most of Congress a year ago has become a bitter pill that some may find hard to swallow.

Mike Crissman is a freshman journalism major and columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact him

at [email protected].