This headline, from the Washington Post, is the sort of flabbergasting bombshell that could dynamite anyone out of a personal stupor: "Democrats vow to pursue Medicare message after N.Y. and Nevada losses."
I confess that I wasn't paying attention to these special elections; a personal crisis had kept my mind elsewhere. Yesterday afternoon, though, when I saw the headline land in my inbox, my scant attention to it registered only a half-caring awareness that, yep, it looks like Democrats screwed up again.
Only this morning did I open and read the story with palsied anticipation. And sure enough, it seems that in record time Democrats managed to take an ironclad winner of an issue -- the GOP's ruthless assault on Medicare, which had been "central to Democrats’ campaign efforts in the early part of this year" -- and warehouse it.
The Post is exceptionally kind to the Dems, reporting that Medicare (see "ironclad winner") had faded as the debt debacle ascended. But let us be more precise. The issue didn't just "fade"; Democrats, exercising once again their inimitable talent for political fecklessness, allowed it to fade by neglecting to push it, front and center.
Earlier this year, when the GOP House opted to gut one of the two most cherished programs for seniors -- who actually vote, as though this is some kind of a representative democracy -- most observers believed that Republicans had tied their own noose and then thoughtfully hurled it over the scaffold bar. All that awaited their political plunge was for Democrats to pull the lever, district by doomed district.
That Democrats did not is merely an eerie confirmation that Democratic fecklessness lives on and thrives, especially during times of greatest opportunity.
But at least my stupor remains undisturbed.