Morning Jay: Dem Triage, White House Partisanship, and more...
6:30 AM, Sep 6, 2010 • By JAY COST
Happy Labor Day! Easily the most ironic holiday on the American calendar, today is the day we all celebrate work by ... taking off work!
1. Democratic Triage? The New York Times reviews the Democratic strategy to hold the House:
Yikes. This kind of "incumbent party makes hard choices" story is inevitable in a year like this, but it is really something to see it come out in early September. Sizeable numbers of incumbent Democrats lack a "path to victory," even this far out?
Note the mention of Mary Jo Kilroy. She's the representative from OH-15 (Columbus), which in past cycles has been rightly touted as the quintessential swing district. As goes Columbus, so goes the nation.
And if Columbus is gone in September...
Lest we think that the New York Times is too bearish on Dem prospects, the AP also reports that Democratic insiders are writing off not only Kilroy, but Steve Driehaus of OH-1 (Cincinnati) and John Boccieri of OH-16 (Canton). Though Obama won OH-1 by 11 points and OH-15 by 9 points, and split historically Republican OH-16, these three Dems are "all but certain to lose," according to the AP's Democratic sources. Dems are also worried about Betty Sutton of OH-13 (Akron), Zack Space of OH-18 (Chillicothe) and Charlie Wilson of OH-6 (Marietta).
For those of you keeping count, Dem strategists think 6 of Ohio's 10 House Democrats are in danger. The only safe Democrats are from districts centered in the party strongholds of the industrial northern tier - Toledo, Cleveland, and Youngstown, i.e. the Dukakis coalition.
That recent PPP poll showing Ohio voters preferring Bush to Obama by 8 points is starting to make a lot of sense.
2. A Divider, Not A Uniter. At the APSA meeting in Washington, D.C., scholars debated how and why President Obama has become such a polarizer. I wonder if comments like this from David Plouffe were mentioned as a cause:
Jabs like this come from top presidential advisors with great regularity, sometimes even from the president himself, and they started very early in the president's term. The White House set up the "Party of No" meme in the first quarter of 2009 as an attempt to de-legitimize policy disagreements from conservatives. The implication is always the same: while a handful of the president's opponents have legitimate differences of opinion, the bulk of them are either hacks or radicals.