The Corner

Anti-Incumbency vs. Anti-Democrat

It’s already the conventional wisdom: This was all about anti-incumbency not anti-Obama. David Gregory just spent 10 minutes rambling about this point. Ramesh’s Republican strategist concurs, saying this wasn’t anti-Obama. For the most part I have no problem with this interpretation. There is a profound anti-incumbency spirit out there.

My favorite sign at the DC Tea Party protest was carried by an enormous middle-aged dude in a Grizzly Adams beard: “Impeach Everyone.”

But if I might clarify something for the folks at the “Today” show and elsewhere: Congress is not divided into the Republicans, the Democrats and the much reviled “Incumbents.” The Democratic Party is the incumbent party. By no means are all the country’s problems the Democrats’ fault. But the way the Democrats are dealing with those problems are the Democrats’ fault.

There’s a “wrong direction” mood growing and the Democrats are at the helm — with a Democratic supermajority in the Senate, a Democratic majority in the House and an incumbent-in-chief who wildly over-promised what he could do in the White House.

The president may still be personally popular, but his popularity is declining. Meanwhile his agenda — which has dominated the news for 8 months — is unpopular and getting more so.

After the election, we were told this is the dawn of a new progressive era. Now liberals (but the MSM even more) say everything’s okay because Obama is still personally popular, even as the country is rejecting the progressive era he’s supposed to be ushering in. Wah-frick’n-hoo.

I for one will gladly make that trade. I am perfectly happy to have a popular Democratic president unable to push a liberal agenda, than an unpopular Democratic president with a country hungry for a liberal agenda.

Yesterday was a severe blow to healthcare reform and cap and trade. But yes, Barack Obama is still popular. But if all Barack Obama’s personal popularity is good for is getting gushing profiles of his wife in supermarket magazines, “buck up camper” essays in Newsweek and the Nobel Prize for bring hope to Norway and Sweden, that’s okay with me.

Meanwhile, I will say it again: The Democratic Party is the incumbent party. And if yesterday’s voting was a referendum on incumbents and what the incumbents are doing, then yesterday was a very, very bad day for the Democrats.

Update: From an e-friend and impressive observer, but a dismaying opponent of capitalization:

i agree wholeheartedly – and wholemindedly – with your analysis here but feel you’ve left out an important element of the

obama ‘brand’…

  this was a man who initially captured public attention and popularity by promising to be ‘purple’ and ‘post-partisan’…

it’s not merely that the man has overpromised and is relentlessly pursuing a ‘progressive’ agenda at the literal cost of trillions; it’s that he’s doing so in a way

that no fair-minded ‘independent’ or ‘moderate’ can interpret as ‘non-partisan’ or ‘post-partisan’…

to the contrary, the man has (to my surprise) almost unerringly made the ‘polarizing’ choice both in the manner in which he expresses himself and in the substance of the decision…

public option, afghanistan, iran, cap&trade, fox news, etc…

to be fair, his leftish ‘base’ thinks he hasn’t nearly gone far enough or been tough enough…but obama won because of the self-described ‘independents’….it’s their expectations he has to meet to succeed….

….this may or may not have been an ‘incumbency’ election (and who really cares what david gregory thinks, anyway) but it seems pretty clear that obama’s interventions have amplified – rather than dampened – the partisan schisms he promised to rise above….i think this bodes poorly for him as both a political leader and as a president….

that his direct intervention(s) failed may now be fairly interpreted as meaning he is becoming less effective as either a partisan or a post-partisan politician….

let’s see if he decided to give a Big Speech to change people’s minds….

….i’m guessing nobel