Steffen Schmidt — not to be confused with former McCain campaign manager Steve Schmidt — is a professor of political science at Iowa State University, and he writes in the Des Moines Register today:
I recently had drinks with respected senior Democrats in New Hampshire. They were Barack Obama supporters in 2008 and now have serious buyer’s remorse.
They were alarmed at the lack of leadership, which they feel Obama showed while he still had a substantial majority in the House and Senate. “Steffen, that health care monstrosity used up all his goodwill and has scared the crap out of voters. They just don’t understand what’s in there and he has done nothing to explain it.”
They were unanimous in blaming him for the avalanche of Republicans and the tea party movement ascendance that has paralyzed Washington. “Obama never stepped up to the plate and gave the Democrats a vision of how to retain power,” one said. “In 2010 he just walked away. He’s worse than Bill Clinton. It’s all about the Big O.”
From where I sit, watch, listen, check my abundant email and phone messages, I know many, many Democrats in Iowa who are deeply troubled by Obama’s policies and lack of firm leadership pushback against the Republicans. Whether they will dare to launch a caucus write-in insurgency for Hillary Clinton or some other Democrat is still uncertain. But even just talk of that should get the attention of the White House.
No serious challenge to Obama will come from the Democratic side; the only candidates who will challenge Obama within his own party will be those with nothing to lose. The money won’t be there, and the risk to a potential challenger’s future viability within the party will be substantial. The Obama crowd would be quick to aim for retribution, Chicago-politics style.
As for their buyer’s remorse . . . well, some of us spent much of 2007 and 2008 trying to warn everyone.