Beyond the high unemployment figures, why are Democrats struggling so much?
"I think we have been too diffident and too scared about talking about health care," Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell (D) told ABC News. "We have been cowering behind the shower curtains hoping that somehow this would go away."
Rendell said Democrats “were out spun almost from the get go on stimulus and on health care. We lost the communications battle early on.”The outgoing governor said Democrats “haven’t been doing a good job” at giving voters “the facts. We have been just cowering behind the shower curtains hoping that somehow this would go away.”
Rendell does believe that Democratic momentum has improved, and he holds out hope that Rep. Joe Sestak, D-Penn., can beat former Rep. Pat Toomey, R-Penn., in their highly contested election contest.
Sen. Evan Bayh, D-Ind., who is also retiring, said that Democratic politicians focused too much on the liberal base, pushing away independents who were more concerned about jobs and the deficit."Before we broke for the election," Bayh said, "the congressional Democrats' closing message was what to do about gays in the military, what to do about illegal immigration and what about the prospect for tax increases on more successful Americans."
Bayh said that during a time of real economic stress for middle Americans, those issues just did not resonate with independents and moderates.
“It’s shaping up as Republican wave,” Bayh said. “The question is how many Democrats can find their way to the high ground? I think if we are successful in localizing and personalizing as many of the elections as possible it doesn’t have to be a complete disaster.”
President Obama voiced one theory a few days ago, behind closed doors at a fundraiser saying, "part of the reason that our politics seems so tough right now, and facts and science and argument does not seem to be winning the day all the time, is because we're hard-wired not to always think clearly when we're scared. and the country is scared, and they have good reason to be.”
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- Jake Tapper