Independent’s Eye by Joe Gandelman
Pundits will be scrambling all week for a new conventional wisdom for the 2010 mid-terms election’s meaning. Expect them to go on a rampage that will make Charlie Sheen in a hotel room look like a meditating monk.
But here’s a fact: the fiery 2010 mid-terms provided many examples of politicians and groups that suffered consequences ““ and some that didn’t (which means future consequences).. Some examples.
–Barack Obama and the Democratic Party: They lost their calculated risk which figured health care reform would be popular once voters knew its details. David Alexrod said Democrats could run on it but they ran from it. Everything can’t be blamed on talk radio. Obama and the Democrats made flawed political assumptions, never closed the sale, and looked terrible due to political sausage-making.
The image seemed of a party obsessed with health care reform amid high unemployment and paltry job growth. Historians will determine whether Obama felt this was vital for the economy or vital that he pass it while he had political capital to do so and could succeed where other Presidents failed. Obama succeeded in legislating but failed in setting the political narrative.
–Rhode Island’s Frank Caprio, Democratic candidate for Governor: He was irked because Obama wouldn’t endorse him out of deference to independent candidate for Governor Lincoln Chaffee. When Caprio said Obama could take his endorsement and “shove it” Caprio’s polls tumbled 12 points…
–New York’s Carl Paladino, Republican candidate for Governor: Paladino scored a major upset when Tea Party support helped him beat GOP establishment candidate Rick Lazio. Polls showed him slowly closing in on rival Democrat Andrew Cuomo. But then he declared he wanted to take a “baseball bat” to Albany, threatened to take a New York Post reporter “out,” suggested that Cuomo had an extra-marital affair without proof, dissed gays, and referred to Senator Kirsten Gillibrand as “little girl.” Paladino’s polls went Deep South. . The. Worst. Candidate. Ever.
–Joe Miller, Republican running for Senate in Alaska: The upset Tea Party favorite should have been able to win handily but hurt himself by refusing to give information about problems at a past job. His hired-security thugs detained a reporter asking pesky questions about his job history problems. Then Sarah Palin came to the rescue.
–Meg Whitman, Republican candidate for Governor in California: Despite spending $170 million, her refusal to pull her negative ads when rival Democrat Jerry Brown said he would if she would hurt. News that she employed an illegal alien housekeeper coupled mixed message ads on immigration did not help her numbers. And when she came out for deporting her former housekeeper it compounded the damage. Brown’s dream opponent.
–Zillionaire candidates: Candidates such as Whitman who sunk gazillions into their own money into their campaigns often got little return.
There were few negative consequences for: companies secretly giving big bucks to groups for campaigns, the Republican Party’s “just say no” stand on most Democratic proposals, and candidates such as Nevada’s GOP candidate for Senate Sharon Angle who refused to talk with reporters unless they were on Fox News or named Sean Hannity.
The stage seems set for increased polarization, gridlock, continued rage-filled politics, whopping undisclosed donations on both sides in 2012 races, and some Democrats concluding there’s little need to answer “real’ reporters anymore since they too can use Internet communication and ideological talk shows for softball “interviews.”
And the consequence of all of this may be the increasingly smiling face of one New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg — who could mount a credible independent Presidential bid in 2012. In the case of Bloomberg, “denial” may indeed be a river in Egypt.
Copyright 2010 Joe Gandelman
Joe Gandelman is a veteran journalist who wrote for newspapers overseas and in the United States. He has appeared on cable news show political panels and is Editor-in-Chief of The Moderate Voice, an Internet hub for independents, centrists and moderates. CNN’s John Avlon named him as one of the top 25 Centrists Columnists and Commentators. He can be reached firstname.lastname@example.org and can be booked to speak at your event at www.mavenproductions.com.
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