As November disaster looms, Dems forming circular firing squad
The standard MSM trope is that the GOP is riven by conflict, but even they are beginning to notice Democrats turning against one another. There is going to be hell to pay for the Democrats in November. Having rammed through a disastrous transformation of health care, a lot of congressional Democrats and many more down the ticket suspect that voters will vent their anger at the party that foisted the travesty on us.
As the old saying goes, “Success has a thousand fathers and failure is an orphan.” So Democrats are scrambling to make sure that their backs are protected when Demageddon happens. Against this dynamic, a variety of issues are being contested. Two analysts today lay out the fault lines. Michael Barone:
Now in the sixth year of the Obama presidency, with his job approval stuck below 50 percent, there are signs of strain. And choices made earlier, when Democrats held congressional supermajorities, are starting to prove troublesome.
One choice was to not bring forward immigration legislation that would provide a path to legalization for immigrants in the country unlawfully. This was a top priority for the Hispanic Caucus, but Obama and Democratic congressional leaders chose not to advance an issue that would cost them the support of some Democrats and require Republican votes.
During the 2012 campaign, this caused Obama few problems, except for some pointed questions in a Univision interview. But the president's job approval among Hispanics plummeted 23 points in 2013, according to Gallup -- more than any other demographic group.
And it may be plummeting even more. Hispanics are more likely than average to lack health insurance, and Obamacare was supposed to help. But, with a Spanish language website non-functional for two months, few uninsured Hispanics seem to have signed up, and the latest Pew Research Center poll shows Obamacare approval among Hispanics down to 47 percent.
There is also tension on greenie front:
One issue the Obama Democrats put ahead of immigration was global warming. In June 2009, Nancy Pelosi's House passed a cap-and-trade bill. That had political costs -- it was a career-ender for many Blue Dog Democrats -- and the issue never reached the Senate floor even when there were 60 Democrats there.
But it was a top priority for green gentry liberals. Green in their concern for the environment -- and green in terms of money. This year, San Francisco hedge fund billionaire Tom Steyer pledged to spend $100 million to elect candidates opposed to the Keystone XL pipeline.
Upwards of 60 percent of voters favor a permit for Keystone XL. Canada is a safe source of energy, and pipelines are the safest way to transport oil.
Then there are millennials:
...it is hard to see what they have gotten from the Obama Democrats. The 2009 stimulus package, Princeton political scientist Julian Zelizer points out, sent money to states to protect jobs of public employee union members rather than create new jobs for young people.
The public employee unions, after all, give lots of money to Democrats. The Millennials, the chumps, just give them votes -- or did.
Millennials also came out on the short end of Obamacare, which was designed to have under-30s with negative net worth subsidize premiums for peak-net-worth elders aged 50 to 64. Evidently, Obamacare's architects were focused on whom they could pay off rather than whom they were gouging.
And don’t forget the teachers unions, who hate charter schools, versus parents (especially urban, poor, minority parents) who see them as a lifeline.
Were the Democrats facing success, theses tensions could be papered over. But with faiulure looming, they are heightened.
Alex Roarty at the National Journal highlights the progressive/”moderate” split:
The moderate wing is prepared to blame the party for avoiding centrist initiatives like free-trade deals and entitlement reform, while the Left will argue party leaders didn't do enough to protect benefits.
"This is a coming divide for the Democratic Party," said one progressive strategist, who was granted anonymity to speak candidly. "Not only about explaining 2014, but laying the groundwork for 2016." (snip)
In Third Way cofounder Matt Bennett's telling, it wasn't a lack of populism that caused the party's problems. It was an incessant focus on class-war rhetoric in 2013 that repelled some voters.
"Democrats lost touch with the middle class," he said. "We engaged in arguments that have intellectual but not emotional resonance. Income inequality is a problem, but that doesn't make it something that will land in public," Bennett said.
Bennett's group has led the charge for Democratic lawmakers and the president to back a socially liberal but economically centrist platform—and in doing so, has become enemy No. 1 of many activists.
Alex Lawson, executive director of Social Security Works, was blunt in his rebuttal: President Obama's flirtation with a so-called grand bargain—an agreement offering Republicans the option of reducing the growth of future Social Security benefits by calculating payments using chained CPI—compromised the Democratic attack line against Republicans over entitlement cuts.
Heh, heh, heh.