Village Spin, Repackaged
The Politico raises its sleepy little head and sees that something strange happened yesterday:
All the evidence pointing to monster Republican House gains this fall—the Scott Brown upset win in Massachusetts, the scary polling numbers in once-safely Democratic districts, the ever-rising number of Democratic seats thought to be in jeopardy—was contradicted Tuesday.
In the only House race that really mattered to both parties—the special election to replace the late Democratic Rep. John Murtha in Pennsylvania’s 12th District—Republicans failed spectacularly, losing on a level playing field where, in this favorable environment, they should have run roughshod over the opposition.
Given the resources the GOP poured into the effort to capture the seat and the decisiveness of the defeat—as it turned out, it wasn’t really that close—the outcome casts serious doubt on the idea that the Democratic House majority is in jeopardy.
Naturally, they chose to focus on the one race where both parties ran conservatives, but that's par for the course. And the lesson is clear:
Just as important, he made plain that he was a Murtha-style Democrat– pro-gun, anti-abortion and unafraid to cross his national party. Critz opposed the healthcare bill and kept his distance from Obama and Speaker Nancy Pelosi – both of whom Republicans tried to tie him to.
Van Hollen pointed out that, while he may have come out against the healthcare bill, Critz also opposed repealing it.
In districts like Critz’s, though, the lesson appeared to be that Democrats would be better off keeping their national leaders away—or perhaps only bringing in select figures who can still appeal to centrists, such as former President Bill Clinton, who appeared in Johnstown on Sunday with Critz and Murtha’s widow.
Evidently, Obama can no longer appeal to "centrists." Which means he's a "liberal." Which makes me a leftist revolutionary.
They did manage to notice one other thing, although they don't elaborate:
The race marked the third highly-contested, fair-fight special House election that the GOP has dropped in the last year.
I guess that's something.
The village doesn't know how to interpret what's going on in the electorate, so they keep coming back to the same thing, even when they think they aren't: the electorate is freaking out because the Democrats are too liberal. What else could it possibly be?
I don't have "the answer" to what motivates voters. If I had to guess, free floating anxiety about this overwhelming number of problems, from the economy to the environment to terrorism to social upheaval is a big part of what's got people going, along with the sense that Washington seems incapable of dealing with it. (I also think the feeling that Obama hasn't delivered on "change," which he allowed everyone to define in their own way, is a big part of it on the left.) But it's clear that whatever is going on isn't that voters in general are desperate to return to conservative policies. I'm not going to hold my breath waiting for Politico to figure that out, but hopefully the Democrats, at least, will do so.
Update: Mike Elk points out that Critz had a winning message on one issue that Dems everywhere can agree upon. If the Democrats want to take that one national, this is a perfect environment for it.