Over the course of the last 8 months Paul Hodes, current Congressman and presumptive Democrat nominee for the Senate seat currently held by Sen. Gregg (R-NH), has consistently been mired behind expected GOP nominee Kelly Ayotte in the mid-to-high single digits. Apparently in order to do something, anything, to close the gap, Rep. Hodes appeared today with Howard Dean to double-down on support for the still-unpopular Obamacare package:
Hodes criticized congressional Republicans for politically practicing the “audacity of nope” by blocking legislative progress on even programs that Republicans have backed themselves, such as a debt commission.
“We need to find the higher ground of the common good,” he said. “We have seen no evidence, even from New England Republicans, they are willing to work together,” Dean said.
Supporters Ken Hill and Cindy Stanton drove south from Moultonborough to be at the fund-raiser. They wanted the state to have two Democratic senators (if elected, Hodes would join Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, who won in 2008) and said Hodes is working hard on the economy and health care reform. They, too, were frustrated by congressional Republicans. “They are completely negative and getting away with it,” Hill said.
Leaving aside what Dean was doing at this event, having called for the defeat of the present bill, it is worth noting that apparently, more Obamacare boosterism is the only strategic maneuver left even for purple-state Democrats like Hodes. The only problem for Democrats is that not only is the healt care bill itself unpopular, in states like New Hampshire, Obama himself is becoming much more unpopular, especially among independents, who are notoriously key in that state:
The crucial independent voters of notoriously independent New Hampshire, the ones who were so vital to Barack Obama’s 2008 victory there and nationally, are fast falling out of love with the Democrat.
Among the all-important independent voters in New Hampshire, Obama’s decline has been most dramatic. It now stands at 39%, a 28 percentage point drop since October, or about 2 percentage points per week.
And so Democrat candidates find themselves these days, caught between the Scylla of the netroots, who will kamikaze primary any Democrat insufficiently loyal to Obama, and the Charybdis of the American electorate, which dislikes Obama’s policies and increasingly dislikes Obama himself. And unless the public suddenly becomes more fond of Obamacare between now and November – an increasingly remote possiblity given that it won’t take effect before then even if passed – Democrats’ electoral fates this November look increasingly bleak.