If we thought that humdinger of a contest between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination in ’08 was one for the books, we should take stock of the combatants possibly getting ready to serve up political drama in similarly hefty portions for these 2010 midterm elections. If the Democrats, primarily because of all-round economic woes, do find themselves in the bloodbath that all the pundits and pollsters seem to be predicting, maybe that outcome will have tilted over into anticlimax territory by November. But who knew that on the Republican side, they may be fixing to expand the dramatic outlines of this year’s enormously consequential jousting?
The latest round of primaries, which saw the media falling over themselves in trumpeting that another Tea Party darling had gotten the better of a less extreme-right Republican in Delaware, made it three Senate candidates now running who have advanced this far, in spite of not being the party establishment’s preferences. Christine O’Donnell’s triumph over a Republican insider has even party loyalists admitting that her win may have soured the party’s chances for gaining a Senate majority. Reports told of one Delaware party bigwig who had earlier dismissed O’Donnell as unable to be “elected dog catcher”.
Along with Tea Party-favored Sharron Angle in Nevada and Rand Paul in Kentucky, O’Donnell figures to be a useful barometer of whether there’s enough economically induced (or whatever else) despair among the electorate to get even independent thinkers swayed by the little-or-no-government babble, sales pitch of the demagogues fanning those Tea Party flames. We dare not flippantly dismiss that there could be coming down the pike a state of affairs in which the celebrated GOP anti-Obama administration agenda of “no” will be transitioning to: ”You ain’t seen nothing yet!”
In truth, never mind what else may be happening economy-wise and all the rest, if there’s the kind of Republican blowout that we keep hearing about, Democrats will probably be looking at the media as a large contributor to their untimely change in fortune. Sure, there’s “media” whose only objective, we know, at a time like this, would be beating the drums incessantly about how much Democrat-generated gloom grips the country. The piling on, however, isn’t being done courtesy only those types. No less a media institution than Time magazine, for instance, included in its regularly highlighted “Top 10” stories in a recent issue, these two: “Whatever happened to Obama’s army?” and ”How Barack Obama became Mr. Unpopular.”
There’s an unholy frenzy, it seems, among all media types, to see who would emerge the most accurate prognosticator of a “falling sky” scenario for Democrats in their November encounter with the GOP. Maybe it’s just that old penchant in the news business for pulling out all the stops in billboarding awful tidings; good news, not so much. But Obama and his Democratic colleagues may have a point in the contention that while for many Americans disillusionment about the country’s overall state of health may be real, the non-stop media banging about how bleak conditions are may well be an X factor in the mix of who knows how much significance. Some news organizations have actually raised this issue, too, of whether their obsessive focus on a negative economic picture, and not the picture itself, is influencing popular reaction…not that they changed or planned to change anything, of course.
Frankly, the Democrats’ position is not at all an enviable one. Party apologists, particularly those who’ve found no reason to abandon their place in the Obama cheering section, keep alluding to the critical state of the national economy when this president was sworn in, and how much more dismal the situation became in his first few months in office. It was the considered opinion of supposedly some of the country’s leading experts that the series of bailout moves and other initiatives taken by the administration saved the American economy from a plunge like no other. The problem is, that because phase two of the righting of the ship would necessarily have a lot more resonance with the hoi polloi, and this largely hasn’t happened, that original demonstration of smarts to stabilize threatened key sectors of the economy means squat to average Joe’s today.
It’s altogether pointless trying to convince folks how fortunate they are that calculated, responsible action by the administration staved off America’s developing a mega case of what has afflicted the likes of Spain and Iceland, a condition from which the U.S. would probably be still in the throes of all-out economic panic. That there would be a ho-hum (or worse) response to any such angling for props is a no-brainer. This is still a “What have you done for me lately?” kind of place. And it’s only exacerbated when big banks and other industrial giants who were beneficiaries of last year’s government intervention have been nursed back to sound health, while poor slobs continue to bite the dust.
No, this isn’t easy turf to defend if you’re a Democrat. Still, it’s a measure of how much disgust is out there that the country would be willing to entrust signal-calling privileges to a bunch who made such a colossal mess of things just a short while ago…worse yet, including some way-out wannabes whom even standard-issue Republicans consider scary. Is this 2010 plot thickening, or what?