As Barack Obama is looking for reasons not to feel bad today, one thing he's probably thinking about is that a number of his predecessors faced something very similar -- steep losses in their first midterms -- yet nevertheless went on to win re-election easily. And what enabled them to do that? The main reason is pretty simple: an improving economy. Politics is obviously complicated, but nothing matters more. Let's look at a picture:
A couple of weeks ago, I argued that this election was going to cause more polarization, because you'd have a lot of incredibly conservative Republicans getting elected and a lot of moderate-to-conservative Democrats losing. Lo and behold, that's what happened. In particular, the Blue Dogs who have made life so miserable for the Democratic leadership were pretty much decimated:
Well this is odd. In reaction to a Politico story about other Republicans worried about the consequences of her running for president, Sarah Palin -- in what seems to be a perpetual snit about the fact that people criticize her -- e-mailed the Daily Caller her complaint, including this riff on the fact that Politico used anonymous sources:
The Daily Beast's Benjy Sarlin gives us an interesting flashback to 1994, when the prognosticators -- Charlie Cook, Stu Rothenberg, Larry Sabato -- all gave their confident predictions that Republicans would pick up around 25 seats in the House. In the end, they actually picked up 54. My favorite part is when Sabato says, "My slogan has always been: 'He who lives by the Crystal Ball ends up eating ground glass,'" by which I guess he means to say that if your predictions turn out wrong, you'll be held to account.
Days before the midterms, President Obama makes a final get-out-the-vote push for Democratic candidates in Bridgeport, Connecticut. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
When Barack Obama was elected in 2008, many Republicans went berserk. The governor of Texas began talking about seceding from the Union, religious conservatives literally saw the new president as the Antichrist and decided Armageddon was around the corner, and people even started listening to Glenn Beck. Now, faced with the likelihood of a Republican takeover of the House of Representatives (and the small but real possibility of the Senate turning Republican as well), Democrats have to decide just how freaked out to be.