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Zugzwang: Democrats’ 2010 Dilemma

Curbed enthusiasm.

12:00 AM, Feb 11, 2010 • By GARY ANDRES
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That’s missing today.  And what’s more disconcerting for the president and his congressional allies, taking steps to motivate the party’s base hurts among independents. Similarly, reaching out to independents fails to fire up the base.

It is unclear Mr. Obama can solve this dilemma. Sometimes the party in power just needs to take its lumps in midterm elections.  An improving economy by November might help. But now that Democrats control the White House and both houses of Congress, keeping activists motivated while at the same time attracting disproportionate numbers of independents is a daunting challenge. 

Mr. Obama and the Democrats clearly face Zugzwang.  The only question is whether it means checkmate for the current congressional majority this November.

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