11/04/09 — Poll watching: Don't believe that president didn't care, but don't overestimate impact

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Poll watching: Don't believe that president didn't care, but don't overestimate impact

OK, we'd like a show of hands now.

How many of you really believe that President Barack Obama did not care enough to pay attention to the Election Day happenings in New Jersey and Virginia -- not to mention New York?

That was a pretty bold statement -- to claim that the president could not be bothered with the results as the polls closed and was busy watching basketball instead.

If that were true, there certainly would have been no need for the president to make multiple trips to Virginia and New Jersey to campaign for the Democratic candidates for governor in those states.

If he did not care last night, he should have not cared then, either.

What's the reality? He had someone else watching and peeked to see how things were going once in a while. And when it did not look good, he decided to begin his downplay spin, just in case.

So no matter what you might suspect, the results of last night's races in New Jersey and Virginia had to give the president and his party pause -- even if the spinners were out in full force to say that the final tally says nothing about the popularity of the president or the citizenry's belief in his policies.

But although the mandate in both states was interesting, it is not definitive evidence that Americans are suffering buyer's remorse when it comes to the Obama administration.

But if you are an incumbent this morning anywhere where the unemployment rate continues to rise and the economy does not have a rosy tinge, you are probably swallowing hard.

The New Jersey and Virginia elections show that Americans are not interested in excuses. They are ready to throw out the bums if those bums are not instilling them with confidence that they can solve the current list of problems -- no matter who their friends are.

This was a small drop in the elections bucket and there is a lot of time before 2010 and 2012, but this latest development should be a lesson to anyone who thinks that speeches and T-shirts will win them the White House or a seat in Congress.

Coat tails only work when their owner is getting the job done.

Published in Editorials on November 4, 2009 10:36 AM