If the night continues to go ill for the Democrats after so much personal investment from the president, what will be the explanation?
Or rather what cannot be the explanations? It cannot be a biased media that misrepresented the issues; it cannot be that liberals were overwhelmed and outspent by right-wing big money; it cannot be that third-party liberals drew votes from mainstream Democrats; it cannot be that we are watching red-state returns from a Mississippi or Texas; it cannot be that mysteriously all three candidates were weak and their campaigns uniformly poorly managed; and it cannot be that race was the issue, given there were only so-called white candidates. Yet I doubt news reports will focus on a grassroots backlash against Obama’s disingenuous health-care plan, or unprimed economy, or mega-deficits, or squandered government stimuli, or promised higher taxes, or the nexus between big money and big liberalism, or partisan us/them politics, or serial apologetics abroad.
Tonight for the White House, after 10 rather than 24 months, it is a question of adopting either the model of Clinton triangulation or of Carter’s sanctimonous finger-wagging path to irrelevance.