Chuck Schumer's Hope Springs Eternal

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Oct. 28 2011 1:41 PM

Chuck Schumer's Hope Springs Eternal

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WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 11: Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) talks with reporters after voting for President Barak Obama's America Jobs Act October 11, 2011 in Washington, DC. The bill failed to pass the Senate. Senate Democrats may now break the legislation up into parts that will garner bi-partisan support in the Senate and House of Representatives. A move that Obama acknowledged would be the next move after the full jobs bill failed to pass. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Mike Tomasky talks to the Democrats' message man in the Senate, and he's... optimistic.

Maybe, three, four months from now, with the economy still hurting, you’ll get a few moderates going to McConnell and saying, "We need to do this." I do think the big tectonic plates are moving now.
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Schumer's convinced that polling shows voters moving over to Obama, when they're asked who they trust on jobs. Theoretically, that must mean that Republicans will eventually want to blunt the president's advantage. Theoretically -- if you ignore the political science on this question. According to that, voters end up blaming the president for gridlock and failure and the bad economy and locusts and re-runs of Two and A Half Men.

So put yourself in a Republican moderate's position. If you're Dick Lugar, you have to worry about avoiding compromise so you don't get primaried in May. If you're Olympia Snowe, you have a lighter version of the same problem. If you're anyone else, you look at the map and see Republicans with a good chance of taking the Senate by winning North Dakota, Montana, Nebraska, and any other state -- maybe two other states if Elizabeth Warren beats Scott Brown. Why would you throw Obama a lifeline?

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

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