There is no chance that President Obama will come out a winner on Election Day tomorrow. Even if the Democrats maintain control of the Senate, the dissatisfaction with the president and his party is palpable. But don’t just take it from me. Read The Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza’s insightful piece, “Top Democratic strategists acknowledge ‘challenging’ environment as Tuesday looms.” In the article, he cites one Democratic strategist after another saying that President Obama is the problem. As one of them said, “He [President Obama] has become, rightly or wrongly, the symbol of dysfunction in Washington.” Whether or not Republicans have a majority in the Senate when the elections have concluded, it will be interesting to see if the White House has learned anything from Campaign 2014.
The White House has an opportunity to show it has gained some self-awareness and insight — which has, so far, been lacking. No one expects the Democrats to don ashes and sackcloth, but I think Americans do want to see a signal from the White House that the president knows and cares about the near-panic that has seized the country and alarmed much of the world. After tomorrow, President Obama has to start governing differently — preferably with some new, fresh personnel — to regain a measure of confidence and calm the nation’s psyche.
If the Democrats lose, it will be interesting to see if President Obama will take responsibility for the results. Did his Democrats run the campaign the president wanted them to run? If yes, then what are the lessons learned and how will he make adjustments? If not, why not? Who was in charge? The president already told us he knows his policies are on the ballot, so he can’t use his familiar, faux-angry, bewildered bystander routine to escape responsibility.
In politics, we only keep score once every two years. The rest of the time, it’s all just talk. Tomorrow is what counts.
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