I am so tired of this "Obama needs to move back the the middle" meme constantly being pushed by our Beltway Villagers. Andrea Mitchell and Charlie Cook took their turn this week while wondering if President Obama might face a primary challenge from the left. Of course, what they completely ignore here is that the Republicans have done everything humanly possible to keep the economy from improving.
Steve Benen wrote a piece last week on how the Republicans are sabotaging the economy for political gain, which apparently didn't sit too well with former Bush speech writer Michael Gerson. The fact that they're playing this zero sum game with our economy to regain power is apparently a topic of little concern to Mitchell and Cook; just whether they're going to benefit from the results of their obstruction. Once again the Republicans can behave terribly and they never pay a price for their actions by the media because as we all know, no matter what happens, it's bad news for the Democrats.
Mitchell: With his approval rating at 45% President Obama could face a primary challenge in his reelection hopes next year. A new McClatchy/Marist poll shows 41% of Democrats want someone to challenge the president for the party’s 2012 nomination. That percentage jumps to 56% when you ask independent voters who are just leaning Democratic. […]
What does he face, the president and especially looking at the economic climate, because that’s really what’s going to dictate what happens?
Cook: This is what’s scary is if you think about the fed issues…
Mitchell: Scary for the Democrats?
Cook: Yes. Yes. Or for the White House because if you look at the fed report yesterday, they said that unemployment’s likely above 9% through 2011 and be at 8%, no lower than 8% by 2012. You know how many months of presidential election years in the post WWII era we’ve had with that 8% unemployment? One month, January of 1984. So the idea of having basically from the first full month the president set foot in office on all the way through election day with 8% plus unemployment, nobody’s ever been here before. And so that’s got to be very scary for the White House.
Mitchell: And the White House, trying to retool, but they don’t seem really able to take that step. They’re not reaching out, according to most Democratic insiders, not looking beyond the immediate circle.
Cook: Well I think they’ve already spent a very tightly knit group of people and they, you know, they view the establishment as having been for Hillary Clinton back in 2007 and eight and so there’s um… it’s a clickish group of folks. I mean they’re very bright, very talented people but reaching out hasn’t necessarily always been their strong point.
Mitchell: Now the other thing looking out at the horizon is that they really did lose independents, moderates, whatever you want to call them. How do they regain them and still reach out to the base because you’ve got this much more liberal caucus, the House caucus led by Nancy Pelosi. They’re going to want to, you know, keep firm to Democratic principles and the president if he looks at this landscape is going to be wanting to move back to the center?
Cook: Well I think you’ve hit the nail on the head that he’s going to be pulled two directions. They’ve got to solidify and enthuse their base while at the same time reaching out to independents.