Guide to Democratic blame game if party loses lots of seats in Congress

By Perry Bacon Jr.
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, November 2, 2010; 8:43 AM

If the Democrats lose control of the House, the days after Election Day won't feature fond farewells to defeated members and a pledge to cooperate with the newly empowered Republican Party.

Instead, some Democrats will be angry, and not just with the GOP. Democrats are already starting to attack one another for the expected losses. On the op-ed page of the New York Times more than a week before the election, liberal writer Ari Berman wrote a piece titled "Boot the Blue Dogs," in which he criticized conservative Democrats for trimming the party's sails on key issues, leading to public frustration that could cost the party in Tuesday's elections.

In response, the group Third Way, which calls for Democrats to move to the center, said Berman's argument was "loony."

"It is moderates who are the kingmakers of America politics," Matthew Bennett of Third Way wrote in a memo to reporters. "They were with Democrats in 2008, and now (apparently) they aren't. To win them back, Democrats must become the party of private sector growth, take on deficits and entitlements, embrace and lead on fiscal responsibility, and end their reliance on DC-based interest groups. They must reach for the center, not veer farther to the left."

There will be plenty more of this after the election. A guide to the coming Blame Game:

Who'll be blamed: The Republicans.

Who'll be doing the blaming: Liberal Democrats in Congress and the White House.

What they'll be blamed for: Some Democrats, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), have been attacking Republican outside groups for weeks, arguing that they are effectively buying the election with an avalanche of money from outside groups.

"Everything was going great, and all of a sudden secret money from God knows where - because they won't disclose it - is pouring in," Pelosi said at a recent party fundraiser.

Some liberals argue voters are punishing them for a bad economy that was caused by GOP policies. If Republicans hadn't blocked a larger stimulus program, they say, things would have turned around quicker.

The other side of the story: To get the stimulus passed, the Democrats shrank it. The Republicans have blocked nearly all the bills the Democrats have pushed to improve the economy.

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