Democrats ought to be quite worried about recent events, which will greatly help Republican efforts to retake the Senate. They forebode something quite ominous for the November 2010 mid-term elections.
I am talking, of course, of the February 5th unemployment report, in which unemployment declined from 10.0% to 9.7% (sorry politics buffs, this post is not about Senator Evan Bayh).
On the surface this sounds like good news; any decline in unemployment is good for the economy as a whole. Good economic news correlates directly to Democratic performance in November. If unemployment continued to decline substantially until November, then Democrats would be in pretty good shape.
Unfortunately for both the country and Democrats, the White House forecast is nowhere near as optimistic. It predicts unemployment to remain in the double-digits throughout 2010. By 2012, when President Barack Obama faces re-election, the unemployment rate is still projected to be around 8% (see page seven of the report for specific numbers).
Figures like these almost guarantee massive Democratic losses in 2010. No amount of political posturing or campaign rhetoric can change this reality. Moreover, if the White House forecast holds true for 2012, Mr. Obama will face a very tough re-election campaign.
Unless a sudden unanticipated economic boom begins tomorrow, the short-term future for Democrats remains bleak. The medium term looks stormy too. Time for a new jobs bill, and quick.