The Democrats' self-defeating crybaby chorus

After a special election loss in New York City, many on the Left are boneheadedly fleeing Obama — just when they should be rallying to his side

Robert Shrum

Before the month came thumping in on elephant feet, I wrote that each August since 2007 had marked a cruel passage for Barack Obama and suggested how he might turn the ides this year. It was not to be, and maybe never will be. The month actually culminated — and confirmed its unhappy course — on September 13, when a machine-ordained Democratic candidate lost the New York City congressional seat of the deflated Anthony Weiner to a Republican tea merchant.

The GOP reaction was predictable: This was a referendum on Obama and a portent of doom in 2012. After all, here was the first Republican elected from this district since 1923. (Actually, that's a sloppy factoid, echoed in the media, to make it easy to blame Obama first; it's a fact in the Brooklyn rump of the district, but not in Queens, the district's predominant swath, where Forest Hills and other neighborhoods sent Republican Seymour Halpern to Congress in the 1960s and 1970s.)

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Robert Shrum has been a senior adviser to the Gore 2000 presidential campaign, the campaign of Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak, and the British Labour Party. In addition to being the chief strategist for the 2004 Kerry-Edwards campaign, Shrum has advised thirty winning U.S. Senate campaigns; eight winning campaigns for governor; mayors of New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, and other major cities; and the Democratic Leader of the U.S. House of Representatives. Shrum's writing has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, The New Republic, Slate, and other publications. The author of No Excuses: Concessions of a Serial Campaigner (Simon and Schuster), he is currently a Senior Fellow at New York University's Wagner School of Public Service.