‘Top Line’ — ‘What a Difference a Year Makes’

Jan 7, 2010 3:45pm

ABC News’ Kim Berryman reports: Less than 12 months after President Obama’s historic inauguration, the Democratic Party suddenly faces a difficult 2010 election cycle, while their GOP rivals gain strength.  How can each party increase voter confidence this year?

On ABC’s “Top Line” today, two leading party strategists dueled over the political challenges ahead for both the left and the right.

Economic issues still loom over American families and the administration in this first weeks of the new decade and it’s an issue that will undoubtedly be at the forefront of campaign agendas this year.

“People want jobs, they want more money for their families and President Obama hasn’t necessarily been able to accomplish that… that’s what the Republicans’ challenge will be,” predicted GOP strategist Ron Bonjean. “Will the Republicans be able to provide an agenda that will show Americans an alternative for them to vote them in power?” he asked.

The agenda that Obama put forth to get elected in 2008 still weighs him down as his plate remains loaded with last year’s issues and 2010 will serve up even more problems.
Democratic strategist Tracy Sefl said this shouldn’t yet cause concern as “ this notion of our legislative calendar and what 2010 bodes for us is a premature question in some ways,” adding that she has not even had a chance to take down her Christmas tree. But critics say families are not waiting for tinsel to fall as many Americans want answers now,  if not sooner.  

“Democrats still need to show that they can lead; Americans are still watching them,” said Bonjean.

It is no secret that what the Democratic Party wants to show its audience is a list of completed goals. However, hopes of touting a signed healthcare bill at the State of the Union address may be fading as the annual speech has not yet been scheduled, perhaps as a result of one very important missing prop.

According to Sefl, despite the administration’s delay in key accomplishments, the Democratic Party has fewer future challenges than its rivals, at least when it comes to primaries.
 “When we look down the road and later into this year, I think the challenges for the parties are perhaps more on the Republican side where I expect we’ll see a lot more divisive primaries than we will see on the Democratic side,” she said.

To hear both sides of the debate from Ron Bonjean and Tracy Sefl click HERE.


Also on today’s Top Line, Jonathan Marin from Politico.com stopped by to discuss the Christmas Day bomber and other top issues with David and Rick. 

The President came out Tuesday to address communication issues that may have allowed the would be bomber to get past airport security on December 25. Today, Obama will revisit the topic in a second televised speech.

Is it a good idea for the administration to air its failure to connect the dots for all to see?

“There’s an inherent political risk in doing that but I think the calculation they’ve made is we’ve just got to get it out there because if we don’t do it now, on our terms there’s going to be reports somewhere down the line, some journalist will get this and we’ll have to revisit it” explained Martin.

To hear Jonathan’s opinions on today’s other hot topics click HERE.


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