This column incorrectly said that Thom Tillis is a New Jersey native. The senator-elect was born in Florida.
Oh yes there is something new under the sun.
During an evening out with several readers last week, one asked me a question I’ve never been asked before: “Are you Jewish?”
Baptist, I replied.
She wondered, she said, because in my columns I sometimes use expressions such as “ Oy vey” and “ meshugganah.” I used to favor “ schmuck” until a former editor put the kibosh (not Yiddish) on it: she deemed it derogatory.
Hey, that’s why I said it.
I explained to the reader that despite not being Jewish, I find Yiddish very expressive. Here, then, is another Yiddish word, and it is the only word in the history of spoken communication to describe Sen. Kay Hagan’s latest move: chutzpah.
Hagan, in an interview last week, sought to blame President Obama for the November wipeout of Democratic candidates. She was defeated by Thom Tillis, who at times during the campaign affected a phony accent that sounded like something out of the cornfields of “Hee Haw”.
Using ‘the bully pulpit’
“You look at the economy right now,” Hagan told a McClatchy reporter, then ticked off a list of developments that Obama could have trumpeted during the recent campaign: gas prices are low; the stock market is at an all-time high and jobs continue to grow. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the economy lost 600,000 jobs the month Obama took office – the worst loss in 34 years. It reportedly gained 321,000 last month.
“The president hasn’t used the bully pulpit to get that message out in a way that resonates with people,” Hagan said. “And I think that’s an issue that the Democrats should not cede.”
Oooweee, that’s chutzpah, girlfriend.
During the campaign, she had an equal bully pulpit to trumpet those developments. She declined to do so. After Hagan lost to Tillis in November, I wrote a column excoriating her for running away from Obama. Other Democratic candidates and she – suffering from B.O.A.: Blatant Obama Avoidance – treated him like a political leper.
Now she’s going to blame him for not touting his successes? Oy.
The late Massachusetts Sen. Ted Kennedy, a Democrat whose name Hagan and some other Democrats in name only are not worthy to utter, once said that if you give voters a choice between a Republican and a Republican, they’ll pick the Republican every time.
That’s what happened in November, because in their campaigns Hagan, Alison Lundergan Grimes in Kentucky and many others tried to portray themselves as – if not Republicans – then at least as Dems Lite.
If you have political aspirations, you would understandably be loath to accept advice from me – or from any other former candidate who received only 14 votes when he ran for the Rockingham City Council – but even I knew that Hagan’s strategy was doomed. Her Obama avoidance strategy was designed to avoid antagonizing those voters who despise or disagree with President Obama instead of appealing to those who think we’re better off than we were under the other guy.
There are people who will hate Obama regardless of what he does: Look at polls showing the number of people who think the Affordable Care Act is swell but who hate Obamacare. Ruminate on that for a minute.
Those are the types of voters Hagan feared offending during her campaign? What a meshugganah.
As NCCU associate political science professor Jarvis Hall said in my November political post mortem column, everyone already knew for whom they were going to vote: the campaign became a matter of energizing and getting out one’s constituency. The way Hagan refused to even acknowledge Obama was guaranteed to de-energize, if not infuriate, much of the party’s base.
Yet now she’s going to try to blame him?
Shalom Aleichem, y’all.