New Optimism for Democrats

Stepping back, some say the Democrats aren't actually doing so badly

This article is from the archive of our partner .

Last week the Atlantic Wire covered a selection of bad news for Democrats. Now, though, some liberal commentators are saying the Democrats are actually doing fairly well. Here's the catch: they completely disagree on why.

  • Actually, August Was Dreadful, Democratic strategist James Carville submitted in the Financial Times. But luckily, he added, "September 2009 ... is not September 2010," which means that "history may not feel the heat of this summer's congressional recess." In 2010, though, the crucial voters will be the non-voters, the ones who voted for Obama in 2008 and have since lost their enthusiasm. That, Carville argued, makes Obama's upcoming speech to Congress important.
  • Don't Be Deceived by Appearances  In the London Times, Andrew Sullivan predicted that "Obama will win this fight" on health care, though "not totally," and "not without political cost." His reasoning:
Tactically, Obama is on the defensive. Strategically? Again, he is stronger than he now appears. When the health insurance bill is passed and elderly Americans are not rounded up into concentration camps and granny isn’t subjected to euthanasia, and when many uninsured people gain a peace of mind they have never felt before, and people become able to change job without fearing loss of insurance, the Republican scare tactics may come to seem absurd ... Moreover, the Republicans have failed to lay out their proposals for dealing with the same problems ... A party that has tried to kill what may well become a popular measure and has offered no alternative is not thinking strategically.
  • 'A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Morgue'  The Atlantic's Marc Ambinder thought that "the worst thing that could have happened to Democrats" in August, "and the one thing that needed to happen in order to kill health reform--did not happen." What was that thing? Actually, Ambinder found two things. "The Democrats held together," and, despite Republican efforts, "moderates were not intimidated." The storm has already passed, and it wasn't that bad.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.