I was talking to the Washington Post's Chris Cillizza on my radio show Wednesday when the story broke that Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann had raised $5.4 million dollars in campaign contributions in the third quarter of 2010. Cillizza took in a deep and very audible breath, as did I. It is an astonishing amount of money for a single Congressional candidate to raise.
A day earlier the GOP Senate nominee in Nevada, Sharron Angle, had announced that in the same period she had raised $14 million dollars!
I asked Cillizza what these sort of totals meant, and he stated the obvious fact: The intensity and breadth of the grassroots opposition to the president, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid is difficult to overstate. These contribution totals are the best evidence of the country's mood. This isn't just about an intention to vote or an opinion given to a pollster, Cillizza noted, it is about a deep passion that is opening pocketbooks in a way that has never been seen before.
Democrats are of course praying that the surge to the right breaks before 11/2 and begins to recede, but as every day goes by the evidence of a growing wave accumulates. Whatever the president and Joe Biden might have done to stop the Republican trend, they instead chose to launch a foolish and instantly dismissed attack on Karl Rove and Ed Gillespie as a sort of pair of Sith lords of the campaign finance world. Even Democratic pundits were left scratching their heads and wondering what madness had overcome the "brains" behind the Democratic campaign.
The fecklessness of the president's campaign rhetoric combines with the near invisibility of Democratic candidates at public events from coast-to-coast to reinforce the electorate's emerging collective decision to make a major change in Washington, D.C. When no Democrats are willing to defend Obamacare it is very hard for the public to do other than conclude that a giant mistake was made when Obamacare was jammed down the throat of the country.
And when the president himself admits to the New York Times, as he does in this Sunday's edition, that "There's no such thing as shovel-ready projects," he is confessing to a naivete that is as surprising as it is frightening. This admission of error by the president undermines the last claims of the Democrats to effectiveness via the so-called "stimulus." It is so stunning a concession that most of the Beltway press is still staggering backwards trying to spin the president's own words.
Less than three weeks to the vote and the Republican grassroots are pouring on the money and the energy, the Democratic candidates are in hiding, and the president is apologizing for his wrong-headed belief in the efficacy of the so-called stimulus.
There is no reason to believe that trends will not continue, and perhaps they may even accelerate. The country wants a U-turn, and even the base of the Democratic Party has got to be wondering if that isn't the best thing for their directionless, poorly-led party as well. When no one, from the president to the speaker to Harry Reid and lefty Beltway pundits can come up with a persuasive argument to vote Democratic, then it is time to give up and give way.