Well, that’s not likely. The influence that the president’s presence had on some key races around the country indicates that he is far from the lame-duck status that some predicted for him after these mid-terms.
There are many narratives that people are going to submit because of the results that streamed in on November 2.
People will say that this is an indictment on Democratic leadership after 4 years of majority leadership on Capitol Hill.
People may also say that this shows that the president will have a tough course to navigate now that he has to deal with a Republican House of Representatives, led by heir-apparent to the Speaker’s role, John Boehner.
One thing that they will not be saying – and it is because it will often be overlooked and misinterpreted – is this: President Obama is still a force on the campaign trail and, thus, will be a force to deal with running for re-election in 2012.
Primarily through his presence in key races in Illinois, Washington, and other states including Nevada, the president was able to reverse or solidify the voting base for Democrats in trouble of losing on Election Night. The political support that Mr. Obama has a veteran politician from the Land of Lincoln may prove to be enough to help beleaguered incumbent governor Pat Quinn retain his post in Springfield, even if the Obama Charm was not enough to keep his former US Senate seat. Close races in Nevada and Washington have now swung the Democrats’ way in a manner not conceivable just a few months ago.
Yes, the president and his party suffered major losses this November, a collective blow that will make them re-evaluate how they approach the Republicans on Capitol Hill for the next 2 years as both fellow legislators and potential opponents on the campaign trail. However, the president also shown that he maintains the capacity to translate personal affability into political activism at the polls, driving mid-term awareness for the Democrats in a way that made these races closer than expected.
With a concerted effort by the Democrats to incorporate President Obama sooner in the orchestrated campaign effort by the DNC this fall, perhaps the Democrats could have avoided some of the cliffhanger losses that befall them currently. Without the last-minute embrace of the president in certain key areas, the Democrats would have awoken this morning to a deeper sea of electoral red that would have included the House of Representatives sweep that we have now – along with a slim majority of Republicans in the US Senate.
Nancy Pelosi has been fired as Speaker of the House, yet President Obama has proven that he has much of the rock-star value to the Democratic Party that most recent presidents before him (aside from Presidents Reagan and Clinton) have not possessed. With that said, the period of political minutia and neutralization may not materialize if the president is capable of articulating his message and directing the political narrative as a leader without absolute control in Washington in a way unlike what the Democrats and he communicated during these past 2 years.
There are plenty of political lessons for the president and the Democrats to learn from these elections this fall. There are als