Magazine November 29, 2010, Issue

From Defeat to Rout

Outgoing Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi makes remarks at the groundbreaking ceremony for the American Veterans Disabled For Life Memorial in Washington, D.C., November 10, 2010. (Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)

They can’t say they weren’t warned. The polls showed independents beginning to turn away from President Obama in the spring of 2009. Town halls in the summer showed strong grassroots resistance to the Democrats’ health-care plan. In November 2009, Republicans won big in Virginia and New Jersey — both states Obama had carried the year before. A few months later, opposition to the health-care law helped Republican Scott Brown to win the Senate seat that Ted Kennedy had occupied for decades.

Democrats had plenty of time to change course. Instead, they decided that the public was easily confused and would come …

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