Democrats Regroup To Focus On Economy, But Divisions Remain
Democratic infighting after the Republican upset Senate victory in the Massachusetts' special election this week could impact other legislative priorities.
Associated Press/Las Vegas Sun: "The White House in the new year already had begun focusing greater attention on the nation's angst and anger over a range of economic issues, including unemployment persisting near 10 percent, government expansion, Wall Street excesses and federal deficits." That shift toward jobs, and away from health care and other Obama administration priorities was accelerated by Republican Scott Brown's upset victory in the Massachusetts Senate race Tuesday. The focus on jobs and the economy is expected to further intensify (1/22).
Gannett/Statesman Journal: Brown's election has wracked Democrats and led to conflicting views of the direction the president should take. "Will he pull back to the center, reassess and cut deals, like Bill Clinton? Or will he press ahead on health care reform and other issues dear to liberals?" Liberals say the Massachusetts vote punished Democrats for timidity on health care; centrists argue it's a call for the party to reassess priorities (Raasch, 1/21).
Politico: There's a risk that the same public relations and political problems Democrats created in the health debate could bog down their other legislative efforts, especially financial reform. Some lessons include: "Don't define a reform package by one provision of it - especially if it's the most controversial," such as the public option; "Negotiate among yourselves before you sit down with your adversaries," to avoid the recent inter-party struggles to pass health reform in the Senate; "Stop trashing your own work" by running ads targeting ideologically-different members of your own party (Cummings, 1/22).