1. Obamacare: this is just the beginning. The dysfunctional website, the cancelled policies, the sticker shock, the looming doc shock… this is just the opening scenes of a movie that won’t have a happy ending. It’s not a coincidence that Senator Mary Landrieu’s first campaign ad is an attempt to distance herself from both the health care law and the president. Vulnerable Democrats can run, but they can’t hide from this debacle. They absolutely OWN health care and will (rightly) be held responsible for everything that happens from now. The leads to the next thing they should worry about:
2. Loss of faith in government. At the heart of the progressive project has been the expansion of government into greater and greater spheres of the economy. This, in turns, requires extraordinary faith in the beneficent powers of state control and bureaucratic competence. President Obama fully understand this. Back in May, Obama delivered a full-throated defense of Government and urged listeners not to fear its expansion in their lives.
Unfortunately, you’ve grown up hearing voices that incessantly warn of government as nothing more than some separate, sinister entity that’s at the root of all our problems; some of these same voices also doing their best to gum up the works. They’ll warn that tyranny is always lurking just around the corner. You should reject these voices.
Oddly enough for such an accomplished academic, Obama seems never to have heard of the concept of hubris and its consequences. But within weeks – as the IRS, DOJ, and NSA scandals exploded --we are seeing them writ large. And this was even before the meltdown of Obamacare. Polls now suggest that faith in government is at historic lows, which is hardly a conducive atmosphere for the left’s dream of a vigorous and empowered central government.
3. Scandals including, the IRS, NSA, DOJ subpoenas, and Benghazi. None of them are going to get any better. The best case scenario for the left is that they go away. They won’t. The current mood of skepticism (see above) will mean that Obama – and Hillary -- should expect even tougher questions in the new year. So what happens if Hillary’s numbers drop further? Where do Dems go?
4. Joe Biden.
5. Nobama: not on ballot. Despite poor poll numbers —now below 40% -- Obama’s presence on the ballot is a powerful draw for certain voting blocs, who are unlikely to turn out in the same numbers. This is particularly important in off-year elections like 2014, where the electorate (especially in Wisconsin) is very different than presidential year electorate.
6. The culture. President Obama is just now learning the Limits of Cool. Polls suggest that he is losing younger voters and the president’s ownership of pop culture seems to be fraying. You know you are in trouble when they start laughing at you, not with you. Both the late night comedians and SNL are increasingly using the president as a punch line. That can’t be good for a lame duck.
7. Your own crackpots. Over the past few cycles, the focus has been on conservatives who seem outside the mainstream. But have you met the unionistas? The green left? Or listened to the new mayor of New York? The last few years have fed their appetite for bold lurches to the left, which runs the risk of over-reaching. A perfect example was the left’s unhinged reaction to Wisconsin’s Act 10, a circus of ideological ugliness that became the turning point in that battle.
8. Party Chairman Mike Tate, whose losing streak – two gubernatorial elections, a senate seat, two congressional seats, both houses of the legislature, and a failed senate recall campaign – makes his continued tenure a wonder of American politics. Beyond his record of failure, the fact that it was Tate who made the deranged sociopath Graeme Zielinski the public face of his party should at least give Democrats pause, especially since he is calling the shots for 2014.
9. The economy: Obamanomics hasn’t been a rousing success. Yes, the stock market is up and the unemployment numbers are somewhat less horrifically awful. But tens of millions remain out the workforce and the recovery remains fragile. The new year will see the end of "tapering," which could rattle the markets and new regulations from Dodd-Frank that could smother the housing market.
10. Energy policies. Environmentalism is feel-good politics, until the bill comes due. See healthcare. . Obama, who famously promised that his policies would cause the price of electricity to "necessarily sky rocket," appears poised to impose draconian policies through executive fiat. Policies that cause significant increases in electricity cost or begin to impinge on technologies like fracking can have a ripple effect through an already fragile economy.
11. Taking the war on women too far. Texas gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis is a rising star. Why? Because she staged a filibuster against a law restricting late term abortions. Most Americans favor a woman’s right to choose. But do you want to plant your flag on the right to abort a child after the 20th week? Democrats yearn to reprise their biggest hits of the last election, but in 2014 the real war on Women could turn out to be Obamacare.
12. The media. (1) The alternative media continues to break down the monopoly of information; (2) the Mainstream Media, which has provided reliable cover for liberals over the last 5 years seems increasingly skeptical about the administration’s competence and honesty. The lapdog may be getting ready to bite you.