Obama Driving Voters Away From Dems

By Michael Graham, Boston Herald - November 5, 2009

How’s that “hope and change” working out for you? I can’t speak for the Democrats, but Republicans - particularly New England ones - are loving it.

After a year of defeat and dire predictions, Massachusetts conservatives have renewed hope for 2010. There’s definitely change on the way, and in a state whose legislators are about 90 percent Democrat, change can only be good for Republicans.

And who can we thank for this new conservative spirit of hopeful-changeyness? The Republican Party’s new hero: Barack Obama.

One year ago today, pundits were writing off the American right for the next election cycle, the next decade - some even said the next generation was lost to the Republicans. And now, just 10 months into the Obama presidency, what’s really been lost?

Virginia (Obama, plus five in 2008), New Jersey (Obama, plus 15) and probably the massive health reform bill (Obama, plus 28 speeches, press conferences and town halls, to no effect).

How quickly we’ve gone from “Obama - how can he lose?” to “Is there anything he can win, other than the (snicker) Nobel Peace Prize?”

Tuesday’s election proved that one of the other things Obama can’t win is another term in the corner office for Deval Patrick. Instead, it looks like New Jersey deja vu all over again.

You remember New Jersey - where an unpopular and largely inept governor was relying on Obama’s star power and his state’s solid Democratic majority to get him re-elected. That, and Gov. Jon Corzine’s ability to spend $30 million - $12 million more than his opponent.

And if all that didn’t work, Corzine had an independent candidate pulling votes away from his challenger, too.

Sound familiar? If you work in the Massachusetts governor’s office, it should. Except Deval Patrick doesn’t have Corzine’s millions, and Obama won’t be able to spend as much time in Massachusetts during the national 2010 midterms as he was able to in New Jersey.

Then again, given the results on Tuesday, that may not be such bad news.

Obama is a problem for Patrick because the president has pushed so far left so fast, he’s washing away the bad taste of the Bush years from the mouths of New Englanders. Republicans, who were anathema to Massachusetts independents only a year ago, are now viewed as just the other group of incompetent politicians.

Andy Smith at the New Hampshire Survey Center believes both of that state’s congressional seats could go Republican and the GOP could retain the seat of retiring Sen. Judd Gregg. Sen. Chris Dodd (D) is in real trouble in Connecticut.

And Patrick? Or as he’ll be known during campaign season, “Tax-raising, toll-hiking, job-killing, drapery-loving, pals-get-a-$100k pay-day” Patrick?

Nah, you’re probably right, Democrats: He’s a shoo-in.

Republican Charlie Baker is an electable candidate. His voters will be energized. There will be a tea-party-powered slew of Republican and independent challengers taking on Democratic incumbents across the state. The national GOP will have reason to send resources to New England.

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