One of the key reasons that Democrats lost in 2010 was that they did little to inspire their base and that base didn’t volunteer, contribute or vote at the same rates that they did in 2008. Bill Nelson saw those election results and rightfully decided that it would be legitimate to criticize Barack Obama for those results, since it’s obvious that Obama’s failure to inspire the base was a key factor in the election. Nelson’s problem, though, is that he ignored all the actual facts about people’s disappointment with the president and proceeded to attack Obama — from the right. If he continues down this path, he’ll guarantee that he, meaning Nelson, won’t be re-elected in 2012, and he’ll probably cost Obama Florida at the same time, which could lead to a president named Mitt Romney, Mike Huckabee or, shudder to think, Sarah Palin.
While some of Nelson’s criticisms — about NASA and the oil spill, for instance — might be credible, a lot of what Nelson is saying is not. For instance:
“Nelson told colleagues Obama’s unpopularity has become a serious liability for Democrats in his state and blamed the president for creating a toxic political environment for Democrats nationwide, according to two Democrats familiar with his remarks.
If you look at Nelson’s other comments, it’s clear he’s not attack the president from the left. And there are serious problems with this statement, such as the fact that the week before the election, Obama’s approval rating was 54%, much higher than Nelson’s, or Democrats in general, and higher than previous presidents on both sides of the aisle at the same point in their presidency. It’s obvious that Obama’s effect on the election was to make the left-wing base apathetic because he didn’t go far enough to the left and that voters in general blamed Obama, rightly or wrongly, for the fact that the economy hasn’t rebounded quickly enough.
Nelson will make a huge mistake if he runs against Obama in 2012, particularly if he runs against Obama from the right. If he does, it almost guarantees that 2012 in Florida will be just like 2010 — voters on the left will be apathetic and will stay home. It’s clear that for Democrats to win in Florida in 2012, we have to get the base excited. If the highest elected Democrat in the state runs to the right, that won’t happen and we’ll all lose again.
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