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Obama attrition

Francisco Javier Pérez-Latre, Professor of Communication, University of Navarra, Spain School

Obama attrition

Fri, 22 Jan 2010 08:22:17 +0000 Published in Navarra Newspaper

The Democrats have lost the seat left vacant by the death of Ted Kennedy. Some commentators speak of humiliation. The President's problems are piling up: the forces of change, which 14 months ago brought him to the White House, may be used against him. Obama now finds himself without the votes needed to push through the controversial health reform in the Senate. There is talk of his alienation from the day-to-day concerns of Americans. Voters in the Kennedy homeland have punished him harshly. After Virginia and New Jersey, it is his third defeat at the polls.

The senator from Massachusetts has been a Democrat for decades. In the 2008 election, Obama received there the support of 62% of the citizens. His candidate was Martha Coakley, the state attorney general. With a 31-point lead in the polls, Coakley was an undisputed favorite and all pronouncements were favorable to the Democrats. But her support was dwindling despite the efforts of the party establishment, which sensed Brown's rise. Lobbyists' funds were of little use, or Obama's presence in Boston in support of Coakley. On election night, Brown won 52% of the vote.

Brown (Wakefield, Massachusetts, 1959) has given hope back to the Republicans with a model and intelligent campaign, with 13 million dollars of advertising investment, and extensive use of Facebook and Twitter. As in the case of Obama, the donations have come mainly through the Internet. Scott Brown realized that the election was turning into a plebiscite on the disappointing economic status , and wanted to be at the forefront of the discontent. The electorate seems to have listened to him.

Obama's attrition seems evident. Martha Coakley's defeat was not part of the Administration's calculations. The moderates and independents who brought Obama to Washington seem to have abandoned him, disappointed by a Economics that has not taken off. Is a new stage in the presidency beginning? Will the health care reform be the beginning of Obama's decline? Some Democrats have a feeling of deja vu.