Political Survival 101: Protect the Senate
This is the second installment of my column called “Political Survival 101”. I am writing this in hopes that President Obama and his advisors make serious changes politically and policy wise, to ensure that he is reelected in 2012. I think that Obama’s focus needs to be on pushing a few moderate policies in order to protect vulnerable Democratic senators who are looking warily to re-election battles in 2012. Compromise on the tax cuts was a good start, though I feel he should have extracted more from the Republicans.
Currently, the Senate is comprised of 53 Democrats, and 47 Republicans. That is a very slim margin, and can easily be tilted to the Republicans favor in 2012 if we dont immediately shift course. The main Democratic Senators who are the most vulnerable come from mostly states that either supported John McCain by significant margins in 2008, or were only won by slim margins by President Obama . They are as follows:
– Jim Webb(D-VA)
– Kent Conrad(D-ND)
– Ben Nelson(D-NE)
– John Tester (D-MT)
– Claire McCaskill(D-MO)
– Bill Nelson-(D-FL)
Essentially, I think the best strategy the President should employ to protect them is to push all other legislation to the back burner unless it deals with the economy or creating jobs. Dont Ask Dont Tell, the DREAM Act, Immigration, as well as any hot button social issues need to be tabled until after the 2012 election. Issues such as these are exactly ones in which Republicans will hammer vulnerable Democrats with….but only if there are any risky votes taken. Many courageous Democrats representing moderate to conservative districts took tough votes and supported healthcare, the energy bill, bailouts, and other pieces of legislation that were unpopular in their districts. The end result was that 49 Democratic members of the House lost their seats, and 5 Democratic members of the Senate went down in defeat.
Those numbers are grim, but also can be viewed as a wake up call to the President and his advisors. The message they were sent on November 2nd was, “get to the middle fast”. Here are some other nuggets to throw out, courtesy of the American Osteopathic Associations analysis of the midterm elections:
– Republicans won every Senate race along the once Democratically tilted I-70 corridor(Pennsylvania, Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, Missouri)
– Republicans won 22 Democratic incumbent seats and did not lose a single incumbent seat in the South
I don’t mean to minimize the important of issues such as the Dream Act, Dont Ask Dont Tell, or others….but the fact is that putting the American people back to work should be our #1 priority. Focusing solely on that and the economy will be good for the country, and good politically as well. People have a way of acting irrationally when they are unemployed and frustrated(as the midterms showed us), but at the same time forgetting they were mad at a politician when they find a good job, and the economy picks up. Listen up Mr.President.