Their refusal to acknowledge the administration’s failures did not make them go away.
The Duke of Wellington said of his close-run victory over Napoleon at the Battle of Waterloo that the French “came on in the same old way, and we sent them back in the same old way.”
Something like that happened to the Democrats in Tuesday’s midterm elections, as they lost the Senate, a few more seats in the House, and additional governorships. They came on with the same old strategy, but this time they went down with it.
Obama and the Democrats chose not to defend the administration’s record of the last six years. On foreign policy, no Democratic chorus seconded Obama’s 2013 claim that this chaotic period in world affairs has been the most stable time in recent memory.
No Democratic senator insisted that Obama’s Russian reset had calmed Vladimir Putin.
Democrats did not argue that Obama had rightly distanced the U.S. from Israel.
Could Democratic candidates have pointed to the Middle East — the Iranian bomb-making efforts, the civil war in Syria, the collapse of post-surge Iraq, the rise of the Islamic State — to confirm Obama’s diagnosis that these were mostly manageable problems?
On the home front, why didn’t Democratic candidates run on their own prior overwhelming support for the Affordable Care Act, which passed without a single Republican vote? Could they have told voters that, at some future date, Obamacare, as promised, really would lower premiums and deductibles, reduce the deficit, expand coverage, and ensure that people could keep existing plans and doctors?
Could a few Democrats have at least made the reelection argument that stimulatory policies of adding $7 trillion in new debt, maintaining continual near-zero interest rates, and approving a $1 trillion stimulus had led to a robust recovery after the end of the recession in mid 2009?
Obama certainly believed in government — the bigger, the better. In both of his successful presidential elections, he had run on the promise of both expanding the federal government and competently running it. So why were there not Democrats claiming positive changes in most federal agencies — at least those other than the IRS, NSA, ICE, GSA, VA, NASA, the Justice Department, and the Secret Service?
If Democrats didn’t wish to run on their party’s past record, why didn’t they promise to fulfill Obama’s incomplete agenda that was short-circuited by the loss of the House in 2010?
In 2009, the Democratic House had voted to pass a cap-and-trade bill under Obama’s direction, but it was never passed by the Senate. Why didn’t Democratic candidates vow that they would see it through in 2015? Or promise to reject the Keystone XL Pipeline for good? Or vow to keep with the Obama agenda of curbing new federal leases for gas and oil exploration?
Under Obama, an effectively open border, coupled with de facto amnesties, has led to massive new influxes of foreign citizens at the southern border. Why didn’t Democrats promise to continue Obama’s laissez faire immigration policy?
Couldn’t the Democrats have pointed to Obama’s handling of the Ebola crisis, lauding his choice of Washington, D.C., fixer Ron Klain as a medically savvy, hands-on Ebola czar? Or to the president’s dynamic air war against the Islamic State?
Democrats understandably chose to ignore both what they had voted for in the past and what they were likely to support in the future.
Instead, they ran on the same old progressive idea of community organizing to get out the base. Obama was the past master of this strategy: energize American voters by contending that we have been separated by race, class, and gender; claim that conservatives have been waging pitiless war against blacks, Latinos, gays, women, and the poor; and then cobble back together the aroused and aggrieved interests to form a majority.
So why, after prior successes, did Obama’s race/class/gender attack finally sputter out like the French at Waterloo?
Unhappy voters thought the anemic economy, Obamacare, the collapse of U.S. foreign policy, the scandals in government, and the incompetent handling of everything from the Islamic State to Ebola were the only real issues. Democrats’ refusal to acknowledge them did not make these failures go away.
Nor did Americans believe that Republicans had been waging war on minorities, women, or gays — especially given that Republicans have held the House only since 2011 and have been out of power in the Senate and presidency since 2009.
After three elections, voters finally caught on that Obama’s faults were not in the stars, but in himself. They apparently tired of the usual distractions from a dismal presidential record.
Republicans assumed that Obama was always the issue, ran against his policies, and rarely offered much of a comprehensive alternative agenda. It worked, but it left a question unanswered.
At Waterloo, it was never quite clear whether Wellington’s redcoats had won the battle or Napoleon’s veterans had blown it.
In the same manner, did the Republican agenda win on Tuesday, or did the predictable Democrats simply lose?
©2014 Tribune Content Agency LLC.
16 thoughts on “The Democrats’ Waterloo”
The Democrats lost.
The Republicans are currently dependent on the Democrats being stupid, just as the Democrats are dependent on the Republicans being stupid.
Unfortunately, there’s enough to go around.
It has taken unique incompetence to grasp defeat from the jaws of victory in Iraq in the manner of Obama Biden. I hope they enjoyed the momentary blip in their popularity. The cascading events will cost American blood and treasure and set back Shia Sunni middle eastern stability a generation or more.
Yes, the demagogic press is aghast that their demagogic politicians lost to RINOs who simply said “BEHOLD what demagoguery hath wrought!”
The 114 year rebellion against the U.S. Constition, sound money, limited government still appears largely and irreversibly won.
A century of five generations of acquiescing to big government propaganda isn’t easy to undo.
No victory is complete without thanking the people who helped bring it about— The racist, revolting La Raza and rabid Luis Gutierrez deserve special thanks. The democrats and the President could hide from their past somewhat, but there was no hiding from the border invasion and those who loudly supported it. It’s killed and is killing Americans and they could care less…..
If they build a fence and make strong, transparent moves to stop crony capitalism and the funnel of money going from Washington D.C. to Wall Street, then I will believe they are for real.
Two small things that can be easily accomplished with a minor amount of will.
I enjoy all of the intellectual comments on this site. The fact is the D’ bags got their cans kicked is because the people who pay attention and vote are sick of the D’bag BS.
the prob is the ones who didnt vote but who will vote in 2016. the repubs better inform them of the hope they can bring them.
the country vomited out the race baiters,the phony war on women,democrats in general[especially Obama]and the far left programs they stood for. now the light of day is on the president, with the loss of the senate. the republicans must send a common sense [conservative] bill on a regular basis to the presidents desk and put the spotlight on him.obama. is going to do outrageous and possibly illegal acts to try to goad impeachment talk,which would be suicide for the republicans..some left wing pundits are talking impeachment,hoping the republicans take the bait.as Obama once said ‘elections have consequences.lets hope they do
I applaud your efforts at concisely stating the facts, although it must be frustrating when the facts diverge so completely from observable rhetoric on the left. You omitted from your analysis the big successes of not a smidgen of corruption, the healthcare reform is a big success, Obama has a new adopted son named Travon, and Tahmooressi who? I approach this from a functional religious standpoint.
The purpose of the high priest of the religious of secular Utopia (guess who) is to create as many willing or unwilling, witting or unwitting, martyrs to the cause as possible in order to prove how important the creation of secular Utopia is. The religious rhetoric works and gains its power precisely by contradicting fact and logic. No one wants to be a prophet of troubles ahead.
Based on some very disappointing comments that President Obama made after his amazing defeat, it looks like that he will force on U.S. “more of the same”. For example on the huge immigrants issue, on (lack of) reduction of big government or on the energy issue (stop the super expensive renewable and favor horizontal drilling and nuclear). Marco
I would like to understand why my comments show lack of moderation. Why ? It would be more constructive to explain if I am right or wrong.
I agree with JT; the Democrats Lost. Now we’ll see if the Republicans can “grow a pair” and start undoing all the damage.
One thing is certain, however. The Obama legacy will read something like, “How did America twice elect a man to the highest office in the land who was so obviously and painfully under-equipped to do the job? What were they thinking?!”
The answer is, of course, 51% of those voters were not.
Waterloo? I don’t think so. Waterloo put the stake in the heart of a monster who had been thoroughly beaten before. Rather, let us hope that this is the Battle of Midway in the war against leftists. An important victory; and one which we hope will mark a turning point; but far from the end. There’s a lot of fight left in the enemy even now.
The only reason Obama won the second time is that Republicans and the Tea Party couldn’t bring them selfs to support Romney and with their absents at the voting booth in turn voted for Obama.
The answer of course is that the Democrats lost due to their cravenly stupid policies, and the only other lever available to pull is red. Not a lesser of the evils vote, a lesser of the stupids vote.
Gregori Rasputin is the historical figure that is a parallel to Valerie Jewett.
Rasputin gained the ear of the Czar and Czarina, against all advisors, seeding chaos, death, and the transformation of Russia. How is Valerie Jewett not a similar shadow influence with POTUS and FLOTUS, influencing and directing their steps while lacking accountability to the nation because she only speaks to the POTUS/FLOTUS, and they only listen to her.
This historical parallel has been evident for years, her presence and role until now ignored. It is at this time I raise my point, as some in the Fourth Estate media are trying to paint the Obamas-Jewett as a Bush-Cheney relationship. Though pre-revolution czarist Russia has no place in the fabric of the USA, yet there in the Oval Office it has been on display and destroying for six years.
A successful linking of the parallels of Jewett-Rasputin will permit much fodder and steer this developing Bush-Cheney confabulated meme back onto the threesome of Jewett, POTUS, and FLOTUS. The threesome is sick to its core, and an understanding of the weakness of the Czar and Czarina for Grigori Rasputin’s advice and direction gives great understanding to the Jewett-Obamas relationship, and makes it assailable. It permits the crucible of history to examine and expose. A hundred years later and another egomanic troika rides again, in our presidency.
Dredging up the rich history and parallels of Rasputin comes at an unfortunate time in USA-Russia relationships. Putin might well chuckle as he views the Obamas as the Czar and Czarina with Jewett as their Rasputin.