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Tilting at Windmills

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September 22, 2009

BIDEN WARNS OF 'THE END OF THE ROAD' FOR AGENDA.... Vice President Biden was in Delaware yesterday, and raised a few eyebrows with a warning about next year's midterm elections.

Vice President Joe Biden said today that if Democrats were to lose 35 House seats they currently hold in traditionally Republican districts, it would mean doomsday for President Obama's agenda.

Biden said Republicans are pinning their political strategy on flipping these seats.

"If they take them back, this the end of the road for what Barack and I are trying to do," the vice president said at a fundraiser for Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) today in Greenville, Delaware.

Republicans would need to win 41 House seats to reclaim the majority they lost in 2006, and the GOP has its eyes on 49 districts represented by Democrats, which McCain/Palin won last year.

Biden added that a poor GOP showing next November would produce a more functional political process. "All the hidden Republicans that don't have the courage to vote the way they want to vote because of pressure from the party," Biden said, "it will break the dam and you will see bipartisanship."

The RNC and a variety of conservative bloggers seemed delighted to hear about Biden's comments, because it suggests the White House is at least aware of the possibility that the GOP could make significant gains next year. If the vice president is talking about it, that means Democrats are worried about it.

But is it really that surprising? Of course Democratic leaders are concerned about Republicans reclaiming power. The White House and its allies have a lot of work to do, cleaning up messes left from GOP rule during the Bush era, and a shift in congressional leadership would make progress impossible.

The point of Biden's comments probably wasn't to signal fear to rank-and-file Republicans; it was to give rank-and-file Democrats a reason to feel motivated about the midterms. There's already an enthusiasm gap, and Biden is trying to narrow it, effectively telling Dems, "Everything we care about will come crashing down if you don't get in the game."

Steve Benen 10:05 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (28)

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You are absolutely right, Steve. The Dems need to get their shit together or they will get steamrolled.

Posted by: Go, Sestak! on September 22, 2009 at 10:10 AM | PERMALINK

If anything *remotely* like the Baucus (screw everybody but the insurance companies) plan passes, the Dems will get demolished in the mids, and deserve it, too.

Posted by: marku on September 22, 2009 at 10:16 AM | PERMALINK

The 2010 choice:

More Weimar Fun with Barack and Joe

or

Re-enter the Thugocracy, only this time...
No More Mister Nice Guy...

Whatta country!

Posted by: neill on September 22, 2009 at 10:20 AM | PERMALINK

The Dems can't create substantive and good bills despite large majorities. As much as I detest the horror that is current Republicanism, the Dems do indeed deserve to lose.

Of course that'll be very bad for the country, but what I'm seeing now isn't good for the country either. The federal govt seems to be a wholly owned subsidy of several major corporations, which was just the way our founders envisioned things.

Posted by: zhak on September 22, 2009 at 10:20 AM | PERMALINK

There's already an enthusiasm gap, and Biden is trying to narrow it, effectively telling Dems, "Everything we care about will come crashing down if you don't get in the game."
------------------------

So ... they're going to work on stuff that the 70+% who support universal health care would get enthusiastic about?

It read more like, if you're all very very good, we'll finally get to Bipartisanship.

With the insane clown posse of the right. Great idea, I'm revved up and ready to go now.

Posted by: Fleas correct the era on September 22, 2009 at 10:30 AM | PERMALINK

"Everything we care about will come crashing down if you don't get in the game."

Biden is correct, but Obama should heed that advice as well. His waffling and lack of leadership on health care reform is a problem he owns.

Posted by: qwerty on September 22, 2009 at 10:31 AM | PERMALINK

The point of Biden's comments probably wasn't to signal fear to rank-and-file Republicans; it was to give rank-and-file Democrats are reason to feel motivated about the midterms. There's already an enthusiasm gap, and Biden is trying to narrow it, effectively telling Dems, "Everything we care about will come crashing down if you don't get in the game."

Hey Joe!!:
If you guys stopped kissing the ass of the banksters and pass real health care reform(single-payer .. but at the least .. a strong public option that anyone can buy into) then you won't need to worry so much. If you let Rahmbo run the domestic policy shop(like he's doing now) then you'll have no one to blame but yourselves.

Posted by: Joe Klein's conscience on September 22, 2009 at 10:32 AM | PERMALINK

The Dems currently hold large majorities. What's stopping them from enacting their agenda now?* Why wait till 2010 (or 2011)? What will be the speech then, "Keep us there in 2012 and then we'll really get cooking!".
Get it done now.

*Yes, I know they're stopping themselves. Doesn't give me a reason to hope 2010 will be the magic year.

Posted by: sal on September 22, 2009 at 10:34 AM | PERMALINK

I know progressives are frustrated that Obama's agenda hasn't sailed through Congress - so am I. But i'm even more frustrated that so many progressives on this site are so eager to throw in the towel. (Assuming they're sincere, that is - a lot of this "Obama's a sell-out, the Dems deserve to lose, there's really no difference between the parties" stuff smells like dishonest concern-trolling to me. But I don't know what's in people's hearts, so y'all have the benefit of the doubt.)

Could we please stop playing into the hands of the GOP? Could we please acknowledge that even if the Baucus plan & the TARP & etc. aren't ideal - even if they aren't particularly progressive - they're worlds better than what we'd get with a GOP majority in the House? That with a GOP majority in the House we wouldn't even be talking about the most important issues, let alone trying to solve them? That just maybe it's freaking HARD to overhaul our health care system, our energy infrastructure, and our financial system all at the same time, amid the wreckage of a global recession & with only one of the two parties even attempting to be responsible - that in light of all that, maybe we could cut Obama and the Dems in Congress just a tiny bit of slack? Perhaps give them more a year to fix everything before kicking them to the curb?

Posted by: TW on September 22, 2009 at 10:55 AM | PERMALINK

An unmentioned concern. If Repubiclans retake the House next year, they will immediately begin impeachment proceedings which will stop all legislative action of any kind for a year-long circus. They will have to do this because their base will demand it and they've been laying the groundwork since inauguration day. Grounds (not that they have any merit) would be 1) he's not a natural born citizen; 2) he has undermined the constitution by being a socialist, appointing extra-constitutional czars, etc. And if you don't belive this is credible, spend some time listening to talk radio.

Posted by: Moosensquirrel on September 22, 2009 at 10:56 AM | PERMALINK

Lets make a list of what "democratic successes" two years from now might look like:
(1) It is difficult to imagine an issue with more moral clarity than the reality of torture in the last administration, yet democrats didn't even enforce the law on the matter.
(2) The financial oligarchy continues to rule this nation, and we are heading toward another crisis, despite an improving job market.
(3) Health care reform was modest at best, mostly consisting of massive subsidisation of the status quo, which everyone agrees is corrupt and unsustainable.
(4) Despite stern rhetoric from the administration concerning the illegality of settlements in the West Bank and the "humanitarian crisis" in Gaza, direct US funding of both of these continues. One might call this shameless hypocrisy.
(5) US combat troops mostly withdraw from Iraq (in a best case scenario), but permanent military bases and the gigantic embassy complex in Baghdad remain, as a reminder of our commitment to freedom and democracy. More hypocrisy.
(6) The war in Afghanistan continues to escalate. It is, after all, a "war of necessity."
(7) And last but not least, on the most important issue of all in my opinion, despite huge democratic majorities in both houses of congress and the presidency, EFCA was dead on arrival in Washington. Legislation that would do more to empower American citizens against corporate dominance than any number of elections is simply politically unfeasible. Hmmmm....

Maybe this is overly pessimistic, even cynical. Maybe there are a large number of honorable democrats in the congress working to pass progressive legislation, just not quite enough of them. However, considering that the republican party is increasingly a joke, if democratic law makers lose in the midterm elections, they will have nobody to blame but themselves.

Posted by: Jason on September 22, 2009 at 11:09 AM | PERMALINK

Gee. maybe Obama shouldn't have spent the last year funneling money to his wealthy bankster friends and their insurance industry allies? IF you're rich enough not to care about economic issues, continuing to vote for Democrats may be an option.

The Democrats have a loss coming to them. A more corrupt batch of scumbags has never before been assembled outside of a Goldman Sachs board meeting.

We're not the Democratic party. We're voters. IF the Democratic party can't actually do what they were voted in to do, we have no choice but to vote in the other party and pray for a miracle no matter how unlikely that miracle is.

Posted by: soullite on September 22, 2009 at 11:22 AM | PERMALINK

Biden seems to be under the delusion that I care whether his party is in control. I don't. I only care about what they do when they have control. And I am disappointed so far. But I suspect bankers and insurers are delighted so far.

Posted by: jeri on September 22, 2009 at 11:26 AM | PERMALINK

"We're not the Democratic party. We're voters. IF the Democratic party can't actually do what they were voted in to do, we have no choice but to vote in the other party and pray for a miracle no matter how unlikely that miracle is."

That's really smart: sort of like spending all your money on crack and hookers and then praying that you'll have the rent money come the end of the month. Good luck with that plan.

Posted by: OhNoNotAgain on September 22, 2009 at 11:35 AM | PERMALINK
But i'm even more frustrated that so many progressives on this site are so eager to throw in the towel.

So eager? WTF?? You (choose to) forget that we've been hearing this very same song and dance for DECADES. Many of us have actually been far more patient with the Democratic Party that it frankly deserves.

Just like with a baseball team, when the story is ALWAYS "wait till next year" you have to start wondering about the management and whether it will ever put a team on the field that's worth supporting.

Posted by: Steve LaBonne on September 22, 2009 at 11:45 AM | PERMALINK

From what the Dem control of both houses and the White House has produced so far, the only reason to vote for them in 2010 is to keep the Republicans out. That's not an insignificant goal, as they do horrible damage when they control the government, but it speaks poorly for the Democrats that the only reason to vote for them is a defensive one.

Posted by: mrgumby2u on September 22, 2009 at 11:59 AM | PERMALINK

I too am tired of the Democratic establishment's constant refrain of "If we just have a few more seats, we'll really get things done."

Posted by: Terri on September 22, 2009 at 12:03 PM | PERMALINK

"The White House and its allies have a lot of work to do, cleaning up messes left from GOP rule during the Bush era"

They have a lot of work controlling their own party and getting some serious work accomplished.The best thing, the absolute best thing, the Democrats could do is pass a robust healthcare reform bill with a public option WITHOUT Republican support. That would slam the door shut on the GOP.

The only way the REpublicans take control in 2010 is if thgere's a low turnout. If the Democratic base isn't happy, independents aren't interested then the Republicans are in for a big win. Honestly, the way the Democrats are behaving I don't see the base being fired up or independents being all that interested.

Biden's right.

Posted by: Saint Zak on September 22, 2009 at 12:05 PM | PERMALINK

The dems actions and current behavior certainly is not what I voted for when I voted democratic. I wanted less corporate boffing/whoring and more effort for the American people. Dems have not delivered much in that regard.

If blue dogs and squishy pliant "centrists" want to fail and drag everyone else down with them they can do so without any support from me. I stopped voting for any republicans because they were piss poor performers and I can certainly do the same with dems. Crap is crap regardless of the party ticket.

Posted by: Silver Owl on September 22, 2009 at 12:27 PM | PERMALINK

Just like with a baseball team

That's why I call sports radio shows every day and yell "You pussies will be sorry when the Yankees win". I think it's working - we'll probably make the playoffs.

Posted by: apm on September 22, 2009 at 12:57 PM | PERMALINK

Let me guess, APM, are you a season ticket holder in KC or in Pittsburgh?

There's one born every minute.

Posted by: Steve LaBonne on September 22, 2009 at 1:00 PM | PERMALINK

Joe Biden can go whine elsewhere. If the Dems can't do what they were hired to do then they deserve to lose their jobs. If I had an employee who consistently failed the way the Congressional Dems and the White House have, he'd have been fired months ago.

Posted by: Keori on September 22, 2009 at 2:04 PM | PERMALINK

TW,

Thank you. Nice Post. Some here think you can reform effectively one-fifth of the economy by merely snapping your fingers. Perhaps they think having more Republicans in Congress will help pass health care, environmental reforms financial regulations, etc. If they do, they're as crazy as the average Teabagger.

Also, note that without Democrats controlling both chambers last fall, the emergency measures taken at the time, as imperfect as they are, would never have passed. Without a Democratic president and Democratic control of both chambers, the stimulus bill, as imperfect as it is, would not have passed. And without those measures, as bad as the economy is right now, things would be much, much worse.

im a pittsburgh pirates fan. i know a lot about 'wait til next year.' im also a pittsburgh penguins fan, so i know next year does come, if you've got the right players and enough of them.

Posted by: mudwall jackson on September 22, 2009 at 2:11 PM | PERMALINK

MSM really needs to back off on trying to find anything...and I mean absolutely anything...wrong with a speech by VP Biden. Frankly, the goal has become old and disgusting.

This is what I heard Mr. Biden say, and in Biden style (straight forward)...Democrats need to get off their arses, get politically active, and vote.

Gasp...these are called stump speeches. They stir up the audience a motivation. Depicting it as any thing else is demogogery and unfair to the vice president.

Honestly, most of us have been keenly aware and for some time of the unhealthy focus media has in trying to find a Biden misspeak. It would be interesting, EXCEPT MSM does not cover his hundreds of speeches with good information.

So, I guess if my little voice has any value, just stop the sophomoric attempts at any pathetic gotcha, and relay news and information. Stop trying to stir the pot all of the time. Our nation is in a stressful time in history, and these antics have gotten old and very tiring.

BTW: Biden gave a great stump speech. Perhaps you don't understand political stump speeches is all.

Posted by: Stewart on September 22, 2009 at 5:41 PM | PERMALINK

Come on, Steve -- stop trying to make excuses for Biden and his inability to filter what he says. This was yet another example of why Biden should not be allowed out in public.

Posted by: Disputo on September 22, 2009 at 6:06 PM | PERMALINK

That's why I call sports radio shows every day and yell "You pussies will be sorry when the Yankees win". I think it's working - we'll probably make the playoffs.

The Cards are wipe the floor with your asses in the WS.

Posted by: Disputo on September 22, 2009 at 6:08 PM | PERMALINK

uh, "are going to wipe"....

Posted by: Disputo on September 22, 2009 at 6:09 PM | PERMALINK

Edited:
"The Cards are going to wipe the floor with your asses in the WS."

Damn straight!

On topic, I'm confused at the whole 'fire the political party if their not doing the job up to snuff' meme.

You got two choices: The Dems, who could be likened to a bureaucrat or maybe the stereotypical lazy union worker (20 coffee breaks and 40 smoke breaks a day); and on the other side is the Republicans, who could be likened to the slick huckster criminal who would empty the till and burn the building down. In politics, by firing one, you hire the other. Think it over VERY carefully.

Posted by: Talphon on September 22, 2009 at 6:25 PM | PERMALINK
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