Follow along, okay?
From Frank Rich, in the NY Times:
It was not a referendum on Barack Obama, who in every poll remains one of the most popular politicians in America. It was not a rejection of universal health care, which Massachusetts mandated (with Scott Brown’s State Senate vote) in 2006. It was not a harbinger of a resurgent G.O.P., whose numbers remain in the toilet. Brown had the good sense not to identify himself as a Republican in either his campaign advertising or his victory speech...
Does health care matter? Not as much as you’d think after this yearlong crusade. In the Post/ABC poll, the issue was second-tier — at 24 percent. Obama has blundered, not by positioning himself too far to the left but by landing nowhere — frittering away his political capital by being too vague, too slow and too deferential to Congress. The smartest thing said as the Massachusetts returns came in Tuesday night was by Howard Fineman on MSNBC: “Obama took all his winnings and turned them over to Max Baucus.”
To Jennifer Rubin, in Commentary:
Everything is fine, perfectly fine. According to Rich, the real issue is that Obama was not angry enough or wasn’t everywhere enough. Or Left-leaning enough. You can almost sense Republican candidates and operatives holding their collective breath, smilingly nervously and whispering to each other, “They couldn’t be that obtuse, could they?”
As if the Democrats didn’t have enough problems, Rich and many other of his ilk are counseling Obama to go hard Left and shed any facade of bipartisanship. This certainly will test just how low the Democrats’ standing with independent voters can go. If Massachusetts proved anything, it is that the course that Rich counsels — gin up the base — is a losing proposition...
It remains to be seen whether Obama is going to follow Rich’s advice, and more important, whether anyone on the ballot in 2010 will be dim enough to do so as well.
To David Plouffe, Washington Post:
We still have much to do before November, and time is running short. Every race has unique characteristics, but there are a few general things that Democrats can do to strengthen our hand.
-- Pass a meaningful health insurance reform package without delay. Americans' health and our nation's long-term fiscal health depend on it...
During the campaign, who will be whispering in Republican ears? Watching GOP leaders talking about health care the past few days, it was easy to imagine lobbyists and big health insurance executives leaning over their shoulders, urging death to health insurance reform.
As opposed to trial lawyers and unions, I guess. Mr. Plouffe's piece is amusing in its predictability. It's like Captain Renaud rounding up all the usual suspects. Mr. Plouffe has been brought back by Mr. Obama to centralize the Democratic campaign strategy for the fall. Once a central planner, always a central planner.
As Ms. Rubin writes, they couldn't be that obtuse, could they?