From D.C. to Pueblo, Democrats face voter disenchantment on key issues
Washington, DC: It’s not that public opinion about President Barack Obama’s handling of the economy is bad as it could possibly be. Thirty-five percent of Americans, yellow-dog Democrats and ostriches presumably, still approve of the way the president is handling the American system of commerce, which in fairness is fully 35 percentage points better than zero.
The problem for Obama is that the public’s view of his handling of the economy has never been worse, and that’s saying something. Based on it August polling, Gallup reports that Obama’s numbers are down 7 percent since June, a big drop that shows the country’s flagging economic growth is something that real people in real numbers are feeling in a real way.
Gallup found that 62 percent of Americans disapprove of the way this president is managing the economy.
Why should the president, never again to face an election, care? Two words: lame duck. When it comes to governing, this president was never much of a duck anyway. But his capacity to convince Congress to move his agenda amid cratering approvals will only diminish.
It also portends tough times for Democrats in the fall. For all his electoral triumphs, let’s not forget that the last time this president limped into a mid-term election, congressional Democrats, including two incumbent congressmen here in Colorado, got trounced.
New Jersey: In the Democratic primary to replace deceased Sen. Frank Lautenberg, Newark Mayor Cory Booker won this past Tuesday in a widely-predicted walk. Booker, the young, charismatic mayor of Newark, is expected to walk once more in the special election contest slated for later this fall.
The left swoons at this Booker chap, and for good cause — he’s one of their best. Because he’s black, eloquent and ambitious by buckets, comparisons in the media to the president have become near commonplace. But these comparisons are off in an important way.
While Obama spent his early years in politics as a tub-thumping liberal firebrand with a penchant for borderline socialist viewpoints, Booker’s approach during his formative electoral years has been more Clintonian — read that, economy focused.
Recall that Booker’s buoyant views of free enterprise gave then-Republican nominee Mitt Romney a handful of really good press cycles in a campaign that had too few. When Obama was busy defining Romney as big bad Mr. Bain in the early hours of the 2012 contest, Booker slammed Obama’s line of attack.
“I have to just say, from a very personal level, I’m not about to sit here and indict private equity,” Booker told David Gregory on Meet the Press. “If you look at the totality of Bain Capital’s record, they’ve done a lot to support businesses, to grow businesses.”
And everybody not in Obama-land said, “Amen.”
Here’s to hoping Booker will be able keep this outlook — that he’ll be able to resist the undertow of partisanship that pervades Washington in general, and the Democratic caucus in the U.S. Senate led by that awful growl of a man named Harry Reid, in particular. I’m not betting the ranch, but I’m pulling for it.
The Democratic Party is utterly bereft of voices of moderation on the economy these days. That undertow is extremely strong. Ask our once-moderate Gov. John Hickenlooper.
Pueblo, Colo.: A state senator from the Democratic stronghold of Pueblo finds herself eyeball deep in a recall fueled by anger over her support for a slate of gun-control bills during the last legislative session.
The efforts to recall Sen. Angela Giron, and Senate President John Morse, whose district is just up the road in Colorado Springs, are beginning to gain national focus.
If a recall election in a Democratic stronghold like Pueblo is even close, it will illustrate what many unrecorded voices have been saying for a while, that politics is cyclical and what goes up will inevitably come down.
A close call in this unprecedented recall in a town as reliably Democratic as Pueblo would also show that the state’s power-drunk Democratic Party transgressed the political center more thoroughly than any of us, and certainly they, could have ever known.
Josh Penry is a former minority leader of the Colorado Senate. He is a graduate of Grand Junction High School and Mesa State College.