Their refusal to acknowledge the administration’s failures did not make them go away.
The Duke of Wellington said of his close-run victory over Napoleon at the Battle of Waterloo that the French “came on in the same old way, and we sent them back in the same old way.”
Something like that happened to the Democrats in Tuesday’s midterm elections, as they lost the Senate, a few more seats in the House, and additional governorships. They came on with the same old strategy, but this time they went down with it.
Obama and the Democrats chose not to defend the administration’s record of the last six years. On foreign policy, no Democratic chorus seconded Obama’s 2013 claim that this chaotic period in world affairs has been the most stable time in recent memory.
No Democratic senator insisted that Obama’s Russian reset had calmed Vladimir Putin.
Democrats did not argue that Obama had rightly distanced the U.S. from Israel.
Could Democratic candidates have pointed to the Middle East — the Iranian bomb-making efforts, the civil war in Syria, the collapse of post-surge Iraq, the rise of the Islamic State — to confirm Obama’s diagnosis that these were mostly manageable problems?
On the home front, why didn’t Democratic candidates run on their own prior overwhelming support for the Affordable Care Act, which passed without a single Republican vote? Could they have told voters that, at some future date, Obamacare, as promised, really would lower premiums and deductibles, reduce the deficit, expand coverage, and ensure that people could keep existing plans and doctors?
Could a few Democrats have at least made the reelection argument that stimulatory policies of adding $7 trillion in new debt, maintaining continual near-zero interest rates, and approving a $1 trillion stimulus had led to a robust recovery after the end of the recession in mid 2009?