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Morning Jay: In Search of Strawmen, the Midwest, Health Care, and More!

6:30 AM, Sep 20, 2010 • By JAY COST
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 2. Moribund in the Midwest. I’ve been noting that the Democrats look really bad in Ohio and Pennsylvania, but the party’s problems are more broadly based, stretching through the whole Midwest.  The latest evidence comes from Rasmussen, which finds Scott Walker, the GOP nominee for Governor in Wisconsin, up 8 points over his Democratic rival, Tom Barrett.  That’s a bigger lead than what Rasmussen found last month.  Throughout the Midwest the GOP is on track to win eight of nine gubernatorial contests.  They also very well could sweep the nine Senate contests in the region as well.

Since the election of 1824, the modern-day Midwest has been critical in swinging the balance of power. Look through the annals of political history, and you’ll see that the Jacksonian Democrats, the Lincoln-McKinley Republicans, then FDR’s Democrats could dominate the government because they ran strong in the Midwest.  The region is set to swing big to the GOP in 2010.  If President Obama can’t rebound here before 2012, he will not be reelected president.  It’s just that simple.

3. Mailbag...Health Care!  Thanks to everybody who submitted a question.  Eric from Phoenix writes:

I would love to see a focus on the 'key Obamacare' stakeholders and where they stand.

This is a great idea.  One of the major issues with the current Democratic majority is that the leadership comes almost exclusively from liberal congressional districts, and so are thus almost totally insulated from changes in national moods that … ahem … can be produced by the massively unpopular bills they author.

Let’s look at the major players in health care reform, their positions in the House, plus Obama’s share of the vote in their districts:

Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House, 85%

Steny Hoyer, House Majority Leader, 66%

James Clyburn, Majority Whip, 64%

George Miller, Education and Labor Chairman, 72%

Robert Andrews, Education and Labor Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor and Pensions Chairman, 65%

Henry Waxman, Energy and Commerce Chairman, 70%

Frank Pallone, Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health Chairman, 60%

Charlie Rangel, Ways & Means Chairman (during health care debate, at least), 93%

Pete Stark, Ways & Means Subcommittee on Health Chairman, 74%

There has been a lot of ink spilled on why Obama’s first half of his first term has gone wrong, and the above numbers point to my long-held view of matters.  The president’s emphasis has been on domestic policy, which means Congress has been the primary vehicle for reform.  But the Democratic-controlled Congress is run by and large by the liberals, thanks in no small part to the seniority rule that governs committee chairmanships. By outsourcing the construction of Obamacare practically entirely to them, he ended up having to support a bill that was well to the left of the swing voters who installed him in office. 

What about the members in purple districts who gave the bill its needed support?  Liberal analysts have dutifully informed us that the relationship between health care and the Democrats’ midterm woes is underdetermined, which means there is not enough evidence to demonstrate that there is a relationship.

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