Salena Zito

Casey was part of that moderate-Democrat recruitment of 2006; he beat incumbent Republican Rick Santorum largely because his values were considered pretty close to Pennsylvanians as a whole. (The “D” after his name only gave him greater cachet with unions.)

Casey ran as a pro-life, pro-gun Democrat. He was the first and only statewide elected official to endorse Obama when he ran against Clinton in the 2008 primary; although Obama lost by nearly 10 points, their friendship was forged.

In Philadelphia just days before last Tuesday’s election, the president sought Casey’s advice between campaign stops at Temple University and the Famous 4th Street Deli. Casey told him Washington doesn’t understand the depth of Americans’ anxiety.

“In ten years we have not only had a horrible terror attack, but terrorism is constantly on our minds,” Casey explained. “Add that to two wars, the economy diving and China emerging as this world leader in a lot of things we used to lead in, and you have widespread anxiety.”

Casey also told the president that Washington must do a better job of listening.

You don’t need an exit poll to tell you Democrats just cratered with the white working class; the 400-mile drive along winding back roads from Pittsburgh to the Lehigh Valley told that story in the lack of political yard signs in working-class cities and towns.

Progressives can’t imagine that their Democrat-cousins did not get behind the party, largely because they don’t understand that traditional Democrats rarely see eye-to-eye with them on their signature issue – that government knows better than you do.

Progressives believe everyone else lives in some alternative universe. They also believe they are morally right, morally justified – precisely the arrogance that turns off the rest of the country.

David Goodman holds out no hope that Obama will move to the center.

“More than likely he will decide to try to fortify his liberal base before re-election,” he predicts, “rather than examine the evidence the American people just landed on his doorstep.”


Salena Zito

Salena Zito is a political analyst, reporter and columnist.