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January 15, 2010

Obama Declares MA Senate Race a Referendum on His Presidency

I know it's been all Brown-Coakley all the time today and pretty much all week, but the hits keep coming. I'm mentioning this for a few reasons.

If he'd had his druthers he could have stayed out of the whole thing, but Coakley is such a hippopotamic failure at campaigning that the President had no choice but to save her ass so she can save ObamaCare. Obama knows that if he half-asses it, he's going to get blamed if Coakley loses. So he's gotta go all in and that means telling people the stakes.

In Washington, I’m fighting to curb the abuses of a health insurance industry that routinely denies care. I’m fighting for financial reforms to stop Wall Street from playing havoc with our economy. I’m fighting to create a new clean energy economy and it’s clear now that the outcome of these and other fights will probably rest on one vote in the United States Senate.

The reason everyone on our side thinks this is such a great thing is because all of the things he mentions, and presumably the things he will be campaigning for with Coakley—including ObamaCare, Cap & Tax, and Stimulus 2.0—are disfavored by at least a plurality of voters. Even in Massachusetts.

So it's an exercise in turnout. The President isn't going to convince anyone new to support progressive governance. People gave that a chance until about February of last year when it became clear that Obama doesn't have a clue what he's doing. His anti-prosperity ideas have been trending down ever since. Rather, he's got to somehow get Democrats—Democrats that still like him, I mean—to go to the polls and make Republicans and independents stay home.

That's not going to happen. By announcing that this election is a referendum on his policies, he's made it possible for thousands of frustrated people in Massachusetts to absolve themselves of their mistake in November 2008. There are two groups of energized people in this race. Republicans are one, for obvious reasons. The second group are people who feel like they were misled by Candidate Obama in 2008. Obama just gave that group of people a do-over.

On the other side, Democrats just aren't that excited about this election. Martha Coakley is a certified idiot. And as much as Obama wants something—ANYTHING—with the words "Health" and "America" to pass Congress, not even the Democrats are excited about the Senate or House versions of healthcare reform. Second only to the Christmas Day attack, the dominant news story since Christmas has been how much the Senate hates the House version; how much the House hates the Senate version; and how much Democratic constituents hate both. Game over, man.

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posted by Gabriel Malor at 08:49 PM

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