America’s Repudiation of the Obama Agenda Continues
A Commentary By Howard Rich
It began last November instatewide races in Virginia and New Jersey. Then it swept through Massachusettsin a stunning U.S. Senate special election this January. Most recently, it hasspilled over into primary battles in Utah, Kentucky and Pennsylvania – growingmore potent as the calendar year advances toward a climactic November 2010showdown.
“It” is the ongoing,unequivocal public repudiation of the agenda of President Barack Obama – aseismic shift in the thinking of the American electorate regarding the sort of“change” they want for their country. In several races “it” is also a directrejection of Obama himself – as evidenced by the deaf ear voters turned to hispersonal appeals on behalf of Massachusetts’ Attorney General Martha Coakleyand party-switching Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Specter.
Both Coakley and Specterenjoyed commanding leads over their opponents prior to Obama’s activeengagement in their races, with Specter enjoying a 21-point cushion overDemocratic Rep. Joe Sestak as recently as last month (Sestak ended up defeatingSpecter by a 54-46 percent margin). Similarly, Sen. Scott Brown trailed Coakleyby 17 points just two weeks before pulling off his improbable five-point upsetvictory.
In both races, Obamaappeared in radio and television ads on behalf of the losing candidates – andin the Massachusetts race he paid a last-minute visit to the Bay State in anunsuccessful effort to rally Coakley’s faltering campaign (similar to hisfailed last-ditch effort to revive the flagging candidacy of New Jersey Gov.Jon Corzine).
There was no eleventhhour visit for Specter – but only because Obama’s political advisors read thehandwriting on the wall and were desperate to avoid yet another embarrassingimage of their boss with his arms draped around another losing candidate.Accordingly, after pledging to give Specter his “full support,” when ElectionDay rolled around Obama was nowhere to be found – and wasn’t even following therace “all that closely,” according to his spokesman.
How’s that for loyalty?
Also worth noting was thetremendous shot in the arm that Sestak’s campaign received when he revealedthat the Obama administration (in typical “Chicagoland” fashion) offered him ahigh-paying federal job in exchange for dropping his primary challenge againstSpecter – a charge which has yet to be properly investigated, but which servedas a turning point in the race.
Meanwhile, halfway acrossthe country in Kentucky another repudiation of Obama was taking place – albeitone that rattled the cages of a completely different set of Washingtoninsiders. There, Kentucky ophthalmologist Rand Paul – son of Texas CongressmanRon Paul – trounced establishment Republican Trey Grayson in a race thatdemonstrated the growing political clout of the Tea Party movement.
Paul defeated the GOP’shand-picked candidate by a 24 percent margin – even after Grayson receivedendorsements from Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, former New York MayorRudy Giuliani and former Vice-President Dick Cheney. Similar to Obama’s last-minuteshunning of Specter, McConnell also fled the scene of his anointed candidate’sdownfall – ostensibly to attend to “Washington business.”
Paul’s win was the seconddemonstration of Tea Party power in as many weeks, coming on the heels of UtahRepublicans’ refusal to re-nominate incumbent U.S. Senator Bob Bennett.Additionally, ten other U.S. Senators and twenty U.S. Representatives areretiring from politics in advance of the 2010 elections.
What’s fueling this“wave?”
The convenient answer is“voter angst,” but the truth is that each of these elections represents amixture of prevailing national sentiment and more regionalized rootperceptions. In Pennsylvania, for example, Democrats rejected Obama’s personalappeal to support a party-switcher – while in Kentucky, Republicans rejectedtheir party’s chosen nominee to support a candidate who they believe will bemore aggressive in taking the fight to the Obama regime.
In both cases, Obamaloses. And while the mainstream media continues to portray the Tea Party aspart of the “fringe” of America’s political spectrum (while relying on ageneric “anti-incumbency” foil to insulate Obama from the dramatic electoraldefeats), the truth is the roots of this new limited government movement aredeeper and stronger than anyone previously imagined. Also, reversing Obama’sharmful policies not only remains the movement’s raison d’etre – but its sourceof popular support.
For example, two monthsafter its passage, the latest Rasmussen reports poll shows that 56 percent ofAmericans favor repealing Obama’s socialized medicine law – which is actually ahigher number than Rasmussen recorded in the aftermath of Congress passing thelegislation.
That’s true “stayingpower,” and the longer Obama continues to ignore America’s rejection of him,his candidates and his agenda, the stronger the movement against him will grow.
Rasmussen Reports is a media company specializing in the collection, publication and distribution of public opinion information.
We conduct public opinion polls on a variety of topics to inform our audience on events in the news and other topics of interest. To ensure editorial control and independence, we pay for the polls ourselves and generate revenue through the sale of subscriptions, sponsorships, and advertising. Nightly polling on politics, business and lifestyle topics provides the content to update the Rasmussen Reports web site many times each day. If it's in the news, it's in our polls. Additionally, the data drives a daily update newsletter and various media outlets across the country.
Some information, including the Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll and commentaries are available for free to the general public. Subscriptions are available for $4.95 a month or 34.95 a year that provide subscribers with exclusive access to more than 20 stories per week on upcoming elections, consumer confidence, and issues that affect us all. For those who are really into the numbers, Platinum Members can review demographic crosstabs and a full history of our data.
To learn more about our methodology, click here.