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Instead, by pandering to the supposedly moderate "independent" voter — a Rovian creation now burned into the hysterical-media-fueled national imagination — frightened Democrats simply chase their tails in ever-smaller circles.
Meanwhile, Republicans are finding joy in preventing tens of millions of Americans from having access to health care, while claiming that it's the Democrats who want to "take away" health care. (This just in — an e-mail from the National Republican Congressional Committee with the subject line "Don't be fooled: Healthcare is not dead." Rather than being grateful that "healthcare is not dead," the RNCC is now warning supporters that "the Democrats' disastrous plan to take away your healthcare is not dead in Congress.") Note to the German media: It's also the end of logic.
"In the days of the 24-hour news cycle, we have a lot of mis — this is going to be a George Bush word — misanalyzation of events," says U.S. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver.
Though the Massachusetts vote "was certainly not helpful to the president," Cleaver says, the people who voted against Democrat Martha Coakley "were angry about a potpourri of issues." He cites financial-industry bailouts, executive bonuses on Wall Street, cap-and-trade environmental legislation that people don't understand, and the way watered-down health-care legislation was approved in the Senate with what looked like bribes to win votes from conservative Democrats such as Ben Nelson of Nebraska and Mary Landrieu of Louisiana. "Frustrated progressives were angry at what they believed to have been a betrayal by the president and the Senate," Cleaver says. "We not only empowered the teabaggers but we depressed the base."
A year ago, Cleaver notes, Obama had an approval rating of nearly 70 percent. "He had the goodwill of the American public. I think his advisers said, probably, 'You should move toward the middle and let's kind of quietly move away from some of the commitments we made during the campaign.' And unfortunately, he did. I think the people want the Obama they voted for and the Congress they voted for. My wife has beaten up on Democrats more than anybody I know. She says, 'You guys asked for a majority in the House; you got it. You wanted a supermajority in the Senate; you have it. The White House — you have it. And you still can't get anything approved.' She's right. We need to do what we said we were going to do."
Cleaver can say these things because he represents a mostly urban, reliably Democratic district. But the news from earlier this week was that Republicans were already tasting the blood of Rep. Ike Skelton, a Democrat from mid-Missouri.
And on the day after Brown's win in Massachusetts, Missouri Republicans were celebrating a new Rasmussen poll that had their boy, Rep. Roy Blunt, suddenly running six points ahead of Secretary of State Robin Carnahan in the race for Kit Bond's Senate seat.
On his blog, Blunt shared his thoughts about "the miraculous victory in Massachusetts."
"The American people still run this country," Blunt wrote. "When Washington liberals tried to stage a coronation for another Obama-Pelosi-Reid rubberstamp in Massachusetts, the people rejected the machine liberal and chose Scott Brown to represent them in the United States Senate. The result may shock the pundits, but it should not surprise anybody who has been talking with the American people. All across America, people are rejecting the job-killing policies of Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid and Barack Obama."