The Brooks Meme

Today, David tries to undermine the notion that the Republican wave is full of nutcases like O'Donnell or Angle or Miller. Mickey Edwards does the same:

Democrats are not losing to a band of unqualified unknowns. In Indiana, Republican senatorial candidate Dan Coats is a former U.S. representative and senator; Todd Rokita, who seems well poised to win a House seat, is the current Indiana secretary of state. In Illinois, Senate candidate Mark Kirk, who may capture Barack Obama's old seat, is a member of Congress; the Ohio governorship will likely fall to John Kasich, a former Republican congressional leader; Ohio's Senate seat will probably go to Rob Portman, a former House member and administration official; Democrat Tom Perriello appears to be losing his House seat to Robert Hurt, a veteran state legislator; Florida's likely new Senator, Marco Rubio, was speaker of the state House, etc.

Point taken. But one has to ask both Mickey and David: what exactly do they believe voters are repudiating that Obama has actually done?

Do they believe there should have been no stimulus or TARP (begun, of course, by Bush). No auto-bailout (which turns out to have been oddly successful). No financial re-regulation? I think the case comes down to health insurance reform, which included the first ever cuts to Medicare, and according to the CBO will help reduce the deficit. Now, I can see why the - dread word - optics of this might not be politically savvy, since it can be portrayed as "big spending" when, of course, it's carefully budgeted. But given the historical context of first term midterms, the big Democratic victories in 2006 and 2008, and an unemployment rate of almost ten percent, what big thing do Mickey and David think the Dems have done that they really, really shouldn't have?

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Or rather: what lesson do Mickey and David want the Dems to learn? If it's a renewed focus on fiscal conservatism, great. I agree. I think Obama does too. But it's hard to tackle the long-term debt without tackling healthcare costs and Medicare, which the health insurance reform, for all its flaws, actually did. And which of the sensible experienced Republicans Brooks and Edwards touts have been candid about the scale of entitlement cuts necessary to address the long term debt without raising any taxes or even allowing the Bush tax cuts to expire?