Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Do-or-die day for the Democrats

Who could have imagined the Democrats having trouble in Massachusetts? Well, today a by-election (or as the Americans call them, a "special election") is being held to fill the Senate seat left vacant by the death of Ted Kennedy. And it's possible that they could actually lose:

The special election being held today to fill Mr. Kennedy's Senate seat, which is too close to call, is a stinging verdict on President Barack Obama's first year in office. If Democrat Martha Coakley loses - or barely scrapes by - Mr. Obama will bear the blame and the consequences will reverberate for the rest of his term.

The Massachusetts race also offers voters across the country a taste of what to expect this fall, when midterm elections will be held for all 435 seats in U.S. House of Representatives and more than a third of those in the 100-seat Senate. Gone from the Democratic pitch is the message of hope and empowerment that fuelled Mr. Obama's 2008 campaign. In its place are eerie attack ads and warnings of the dark days that a Republican win would bring.

From the Globe and Mail. If this happens, it could cripple Obama's administration, since the Democrats would lose their 60% majority in the Senate that they need to stop a filibuster. This would mean that the health care plan would probably collapse; all that the Republicans need is to delay it until the midterm elections. Worse, it could be damaging to efforts to minimize climate change. And in any case it could seriously damage Obama's chance of reelection in 2012. Gwynne Dyer's fear that Obama could be the next LBJ might well bear fruit. How does "President Mike Huckabee" sound to you? Maybe "President Nehemiah Scudder"?

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