The LA Times observes that the Massachusetts special election represented a shot by the voters fired directly across the democrat party’s bows. If they do not change direction rapidly, they are going to pay.
[E]ven as Massachusetts voters streamed to the polls to anoint Sen. Edward M. Kennedy’s successor, Democratic leaders showed no signs of standing down.
“We’re right on course,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco) said after meeting with her leadership team. “We will have a healthcare reform bill, and it will be soon.”
For Democrats facing tough reelection fights in swing districts this November, however, the spectacle of their party losing in a liberal bastion has been chilling.
Even before Tuesday, party leaders had been under pressure to pivot toward other issues high on the agenda of an angry and impatient electorate: job creation and fiscal responsibility.
“It is really time now,” said Rep. Rick Boucher (D-Va.), “for Democrats to shift their attention to issues that will enjoy broad public support.”
Most worrisome for the party is polling data that indicates Obama’s healthcare bill has helped turn independent voters — who fueled his presidential campaign to victory — into antagonists.
“If the Democrats can’t win in a state they carried by 26 points in 2008, then they have to ask themselves: Where in the world is it safe to be a Democrat running for federal office in 2010?” said Bill McInturff, a Republican pollster whose firm worked with the Brown campaign. “The answer is nowhere.”