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Monday, March 11, 2013

Democrats Express Concern About What Obama's 2nd Term Agenda Means For 2014 Midterms

By Susan Duclos

Obama's agenda for his second term has Democrats worried and expressing concern about his tone-deafness as Politico describes it, with his focus on cultural issues like gun control, immigration and gay marriage.

To net 17 seats and flip the chamber, Democrats have to win predominantly on GOP turf, in districts that Mitt Romney won and where Obama and his agenda are unpopular. A number of Democrats made clear in interviews that the more partisan posture Obama has adopted over the past few months — particularly on cultural issues like gun control, and to a lesser extent on immigration and gay marriage — is making an uphill slog that much steeper.

“I think the tone coming out of the White House … could probably be more conciliatory,” said Jim Graves, a Minnesota Democrat who nearly knocked off Rep. Michele Bachmann last year in a suburban Twin Cities district where Obama barely eclipsed 40 percent.

Graves, who’s girding for a rematch against Bachmann next year, added, “There’s no question — Obama has taken a fairly liberal tack in his second term. But I’m not here for the president. I’m here for the people of the 6th Congressional District.”

Arkansas Democratic state Sen. Bruce Maloch said he’s considering running for a House seat that tilts heavily Republican. But he, too, is worried about the opposition tying him to a White House that has pivoted left since November.
 Democrats Express Concern About What Obama's 2nd Term Agend
“I’m an Arkansas Democrat,” Maloch said. “I would probably not go as far as the president on some of those issues.”

There are also comments from Democratic strategists who do not see Obama as a problem.

The three-page Politico piece as well, as some of the quotes from those supportive of Obama's agenda, shows a line of thinking on the writer's part as well as the Democratic operatives, that is just as tone-deaf as they accuse Obama of being.


“Every poll shows two-thirds or more of the American public sides with President Obama and House Democrats on our agenda, and it’s Republicans who are on defense in the suburban and exurban communities that are critical to winning in 2014,” said Jesse Ferguson, deputy executive director of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.


If there’s one issue that Democrats worry could become sticky in 2014 races, it’s gun control. While party strategists believe that the president’s forceful advocacy of immigration reform and gay marriage tracks with shifts in public opinion, opposition to new restrictions on guns is palpable in many conservative pockets of the country.

“In some of those conservative to moderate districts, the gun debate is a real challenge for Democratic candidates,” said Andrew Myers, a Democratic pollster who advises many candidates in conservative states.

What they all are missing isn't how the public feels on specific issues, but as I pointed out a few days ago, Americans priorities are not being addressed while Obama and liberals focus is on immigration, gun control and gay marriage.

Americans top concerns, what they consider priorities, consistently, and among a variety of polling organizations, such as CBS, Bloomberg, CNN, NPR, NBC, are all fiscal issues, economic issues, ranging from the economy and jobs to the federal budget deficit.
That priority polling shows a 30, 40 and in some cases 50 percentage point increase for economic issues versus social issues. Liberal writers, liberal politicians and Barack Obama ignore that at their own risk.

This was the same mistake Obama and Democrats made before the 2010 midterm elections where they spent so much time focusing on jamming Obamacare through Congress, while giving lip service to economic issues, they ended up losing over 60 seats in the House of Representatives, the largest turnover of seats in 60 years.

One last point that liberal Democrats and Obama seem to be ignoring,  is the history of seats in Congress lost by the president's party in midterm elections, especially during a president's second term. Only Bill Clinton, who moved to the middle in his second term rather than further to the left as Obama has done, gained seats in the House of Representatives during their second term:
Year President Party President Approval Rating - Late October House Senate
1934 Franklin D. Roosevelt D nd +9 +9
1938 Franklin D. Roosevelt D 60% -71 -6
1942 Franklin D. Roosevelt D nd -55 -9
1946 Harry S. Truman D 27% -45 -12
1950 Harry S. Truman D 41% -29 -6
1954 Dwight D. Eisenhower R nd -18 -1
1958 Dwight D. Eisenhower R nd -48 -13
1962 John F. Kennedy D 61% -4 +3
1966 Lyndon B. Johnson D 44% -47 -4
1970 Richard Nixon R nd -12 +2
1974 Gerald R. Ford R nd -48 -5
1978 Jimmy Carter D 49% -15 -3
1982 Ronald Reagan R 42% -26 +1
1986 Ronald Reagan R nd -5 -8
1990 George Bush R 57% -8 -1
1994 William J. Clinton D 48% -52 -8
1998 William J. Clinton D 65% +5 0
2002 George W. Bush R 67% +8 +2
2006 George W. Bush R 37% -30 -6