It's Obama Who Sucks at Midterms

A gentle reminder from Charles W. Cook:

As ever, Obama’s steadfast refusal to examine the real causes of his predicament is serving him poorly. Were one to construct a back-of-the-envelope summary of Bill Clinton’s tenure, one would almost certainly focus in on his two midterm judgments, which were so different from one another as to beggar belief. In 1994, Clinton’s Democrats suffered a spectacular defeat, losing 54 seats in the House and eight seats in the Senate — and thus relinquishing control of both bodies. In 1998, by contrast, the party actually gained, severely disappointing Republicans who had hoped that a combination of the Lewinsky scandal and the alleged “six-year itch” would deliver them a victory. Four years after their historic “revolution” appeared to have spiked Clinton’s agenda, the Republican party became the first opposition outfit since 1934 to fail to pick up seats in a midterm, and the first since 1822 to fail to do so in a president’s second administration.

What happened in the meantime? Did the levels of toxicity vary dramatically between the two plebiscites? Was the Constitution amended to keep Republicans at home during the latter cycle? Or did Bill Clinton merely change and adapt? Evidently, it was the lattermost. In the first two years of his presidency, Clinton had tried to push a vast and unpopular health-care bill, he had signed a tax increase, and he had heralded a dramatic gun-control bill — the dangers of which he had underestimated considerably. In response to these measures, the people rebelled, taking control of Congress away from his party. By 1998, Clinton had gotten the message. He moved to the right, signed welfare reform, and even declared the era of Big Government to be over. Most importantly, the economy was booming. Despite the personal scandal that had eroded trust, he and his party were rewarded for his malleability.


Americans love that stuff, but we’re not going to get it — especially the booming economy — from Professor Ditherton Wiggleroom. His foreign policy might be warm Silly Putty set on a foundation of quicksand, but his domestic policy is forever on Full Crony Collectivism Ahead.

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