Sunday, January 3, 2010

The Good News and the Bad News for Dems in '10

Well, there’s good news and bad news for Democrats as they head in the 2010 Congressional “Midterm” Elections. Here is a very brief offering of some of the key things to watch.

Good News
• The GOP still doesn’t really have its act together. Republicans still continue to lack the national leader or unifying issue that will pull them to victory in either 2010 or 2012. If they are to win, it will be due to perceived or real mistakes by Democrats.

• The economy does appear to show signs of recovery. While funding for schools, local government revenue, and national unemployment continue to lag, there’s no doubt that consumers are a bit more confident and employers are looking once again at expanding their workforce. The Associated Press reports that one of the “poster child” towns for the recession, Elkhart, IN, has seen a five percent drop in the unemployment rate since March.

• The War in Iraq continues to, as promised, draw to a close. President Obama has successfully begun to divert resources and attention to the perceived real War on Terror in Afghanistan.

• For better or for worse, the health care debate seems to be finally on its home stretch, and there will be time to turn the story into a big victory for the Democrats. That opportunity comes despite what will be a somewhat crushing defeat for the left of the party as it appears unlikely that a final bill will include a public option.

Bad News
• Open seats, vulnerability, defections, and retirements have left the Democrats with much more to defend than to pick up this particular go around.

• History is not on the side of the party of the sitting President of the United States. In 2006, Democrats seized control of the House and the Senate with big gains. The two previous elections had been anomalies as the Republicans made gains in 2002 and the Democrats picked up seats in 1998. Other than that, according to Wikipedia, it’s slim pickings to find gains going all the way back to 1942.

• President Obama has broken a few eggs to make his omelet, and his job approval rating is currently hovering around 50 percent. This of course would be a HUGE improvement over the approval rating of his predecessor, but it nevertheless is a cause for concern. While the economy is recovering, it will be interesting to see what happens between now and November.

• Key constituencies of the Democratic Party continue to feel left out of the change express while moderate or conservative Democrats continue to push the agenda. Those same groups are ticked about the continued War on Terror and the complete disregard for some issues important to them. Will the liberals come out and vote on November 2, 2010? Who knows?

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