Dan Gainor
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Happy New Year and welcome to Election 2010. (Sorry.)

Actually, the election year is already two months old and it’s taking off. Democrats are either fleeing for the exits or dropping out before the election ever takes place. There have been six announced retirements for the party in power. Two senators have said they are leaving just this week – North Dakota liberal Sen. Byron Dorgan and Chris Dodd, D - Countrywide.

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Even their own pollsters have warned Democrats they could lose up to 50 seats in the House – enough for the GOP to take control of that half of Congress, despite the party’s own departures. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid could also lose his job. And the seats formerly held by President Obama and Vice President Biden are in jeopardy.

Sure Obama’s done a rotten job in his first year – from the outlandishly pricey stimulus bill to a sleazy attempt at seizing the health care industry. But those moves are only partly to blame for falling poll numbers and the rats leaving the sinking ship.

Obama’s in hot water over a cup of tea.

One of the biggest threats to Obama is the tea party movement That has been brewing for nearly a year and could be a big difference maker in 2010. The grassroots effort pulled together up to 4 million people in hundreds of events across the nation in 2009, highlighted by nationwide protests on Tax Day April 15. Now the anger and frustration from ordinary voters has coalesced into a movement fighting big government, so-called health care reform and most of the other lefty plans of Obama and company.

Instead of going away, it’s still gaining momentum. Comic songwriter Ray Stevens channeled tea party sentiments in a song released Dec. 11 called “We The People.” “You vote Obamacare, we’ll vote you outta there!” warned the video which has already been viewed 1,400,000 times in less than a month.

The tea party movement is fighting the left of both parties. It challenged liberal GOP congressional choice Dede Scozzafava in New York and, though it lost the election, it became a force to be reckoned with. Conservatives from Glenn Beck to Sarah Palin backed the tea party candidate.

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Dan Gainor

Dan Gainor is The Boone Pickens Free Market Fellow and director of the Media Research Center’s Business & Media Institute.