“In this debate over jobs, the Tea Party’s growing unpopularity has the potential to be the GOP’s Achilles’ Heel. The movement’s unfavorability has never been higher, and especially after the debt ceiling debacle, the public is inclined to believe its actions are hurting the economy. By linking the GOP to its extreme Tea Party fringe, Democrats can bolster the prospects for the President’s jobs ideas, or at least make clear who is responsible for the stalling of the recovery. Democrats can make this link by branding the school of thought that resists against any job-creation measures as ‘Tea Party economics.’ The opponents of the President’s jobs proposals should be invoked as ‘Tea Party Republicans.’ If their obstruction continues, it will risk a ‘Tea Party recession.’”That sounds to me like a campaign strategy for a party led by an incumbent president contesting a mid-term election. Indeed, it’s pretty much the strategy Democrats employed to such great effect in 2010, updated in the light of the events of the last year. It might be just the ticket if Democrats were waging a recall election in 2012, trying to reverse last November’s results.
In 2012, however, Republicans are going to have a new presidential candidate at the head of their ticket who’ll be setting the party’s agenda. And Obama is going to be running against him, not a do-nothing Republican congress. That means that Democratic congressional candidates are going to be spending most of their time on the campaign trail standing behind Obama and standing against the Republican nominee. A year from now, the alleged depredations of the Tea Party are going to be just a dim memory outside a Democratic base that never lets go of a grudge.
Moreover, the Republican nominee is probably going to be Mitt Romney, a guy who doesn’t look like he’ll have to do much pandering to the party’s Tea Party faction to secure the nomination. He sure didn’t think he had to sound much like one of Schumer’s unyielding Tea Partiers at last night’s debate (h/t The Dailey Beast):
It’s often said that generals lose the next war by trying to refight the last one. Schumer looks to me like he’s building a Maginot line.