Things are getting so desperate for the Democrats that President Barack Obama is trying to provoke a fight. It’s the only possible conclusion, especially after Monday’s speech in Woonsocket, Rhode Island, when he said that members of the GOP “can come for the ride, but they gotta sit in back."
Talk about loaded imagery. He seems practically begging for someone to call him out on it so he can debate an issue he can win over the last seven days of the campaign.
Obama can’t talk truthfully about the economy, about the impact of the stimulus, job creation, taxes, spending, or the way the Democrats have run the country for two years in any kind of a way that will bring his coalition out in the numbers needed to stop the Republicans from realizing major gains on Election Day.
The White House’s internal poll numbers must be really depressing. Not that things couldn’t turn around in the next few days but nothing--not even that GOP congressional candidate who liked to dress up and play World War II (and not on the good side)--has been able to move the Republican numbers down enough to make much of a difference.
Late Monday the venerable Gallup Organization put out the news that “Republicans remain in position to win control of the House of Representatives in next week's midterm elections, although Democrats are doing slightly better now than they were early in October.”
So the GOP wins--maybe just by not quite as much. Then again, winning by six points, as my friend Rich Galen suggested in his Mullings the other day, may not be as good as winning by eight points, but it’s still winning.
The latest Gallup two-week average for the generic ballot shows the GOP “retaining a 48 percent to 44 percent margin among all registered voters, a 52 percent to 43 percent margin among likely voters in a high-turnout scenario, and a 55 percent to 41 percent margin in a low-turnout scenario.”
It is impossible to believe the numbers are this good for the GOP this late in the game. As someone who has been doping politics or covering it since just after Ronald Reagan won the presidency, this never happens. So there are a lot of people sitting around on pins and needles right now, waiting for the bottom to drop out. And waiting. And it just hasn’t happened.
Which brings us back to President Obama. And to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid--who is apparently running around Nevada talking about how he found the country in a hole and just kept digging and digging and digging to get us out of it--all trying to do things to get their base fired up.
Sure races are tightening up--but not enough to make the critical difference that moves them from the “former congressman teaching at Harvard” column to the “Whoopee! I get another new term!” side of the ledger.