The Magazine

A Setback, Not a Catastrophe

The Democrats’ success was Obamacentric.

Nov 19, 2012, Vol. 18, No. 10 • By FRED BARNES
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Two additional strengths. The 13 Republican Senate seats up in 2014 look unusually safe, while at least 4 Democrats in red states are vulnerable. Win those and 2 more and Republicans would control the Senate. But after the debacles of 2010 and 2012, hope of taking the Senate no longer springs eternal. 

Finally, we turn to Barack Obama in his alleged role as the Democrats’ Ronald Reagan. The Reagan comparison is inapt except for one aspect. Democrats couldn’t beat Reagan, and Republicans couldn’t beat Obama, even though he was tied to unpopular policies, a sputtering economy, and a debt crisis. Could any other Democrat have held the White House in 2012 under such poor conditions? I doubt it.

For Democrats, Obama is the man. When he leaves, they’ll no doubt yearn for the “new Obama,” just as Republicans are constantly on the outlook for a “new Reagan.” Neither exists. That means four years from now Republicans won’t have Obama (or a clone of him) to kick them around any more. That’s more than a strength. It’s a relief.

Fred Barnes is executive editor of The Weekly Standard.


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