In my opinion, this piece by Steffen Schmidt, a political science professor at Iowa State University who blogs for the Des Moines Register, is a must-read, for the way it identifies a very real threat to Barack Obama’s reelection chances — from within his own party:
I recently had drinks with respected senior Democrats in New Hampshire. They were Barack Obama supporters in 2008 and now have serious buyer’s remorse.
They were alarmed at the lack of leadership, which they feel Obama showed while he still had a substantial majority in the House and Senate. “Steffen, that health care monstrosity used up all his goodwill and has scared the crap out of voters. They just don’t understand what’s in there and he has done nothing to explain it.’
nother comment that stuck with me was the fear that his low and still slipping poll numbers spell doom.
“Steffen, have you read Politico on Pete de Fazio’s comments on Oregon?” I had not.
Here it what Politico wrote about one of the brightest liberal Democrats:
“Saying there’s no ‘fight’ in President Barack Obama, a House Democrat who returned to Oregon for the congressional summer recess said he isn’t sure the president can win a second term or even carry his very blue state. Rep. Peter DeFazio says he’s unhappy with the president’s ‘flip flops’ in negotiations with Republicans and thinks a moderate GOP candidate could beat Obama next year. ‘At this point, it pretty much depends on how far out there the Republican nominee is. You know, with a respectable someone who is a little bit toward the middle of the road Republican nominee, he’s going to have a very tough time getting reelected,’ DeFazio told Portland TV station KGW.”
I literally choked on my next sip of a nice New England summer ale when one of them said, “New Hampshire was right. Hillary Clinton would have made a better president.”
Nate Silver’s analysis: Although there is no question that the public disaffection for Obama is real, and that he has a tough reelection row to hoe, that does not mean that if the Democratic Party threw over Obama for another candidate, or if Obama himself decided not to seek a second term, the Democrats would have any better chance of retaining the White House with someone else. For one thing, voters do not necessarily blame Obama personally for the lousy economy, as evidenced by his favorability ratings, which remain high in relation to his job approval ratings. For another, if voters turn against Obama in 2012, they are likely to turn against Democrats in general. As always, Nate’s thoughts are worth reading directly, and in full.