If Joe Biden really wants Democrats to get going, maybe he should not have told the party base to “stop whining and get out there and look at the alternatives” as the 2010 midterm elections draw near.
Joe, Joe, Joe. Your handlers have told you this over and over – it’s think first, then speak. Not the other way around.
Liberals have been Twittering their outrage since the Veep made the statement Monday at a campaign stop in New Hampshire. They were already upset at White House spokesman Robert Gibbs’s recent reference to them as the “professional left.” And let’s face it – it’s never fun to be called a whiner, especially by somebody who’s using a bit of a whiny tone themselves.
But as he heads to Penn State Tuesday for a big afternoon rally intended to fire up the youth vote, maybe Biden will keep this in mind: He shouldn’t have told party activists to stop whining. No, he should have told them to stop yawning.
One of the biggest problems for Democrats is not back-biting, but apathy. The party is not fired up and ready to go, to echo Obama’s rallying cry from the 2008 campaign.
The enthusiasm gap between Republicans and Democrats is huge, with only weeks to go until voters head to the polls. A Gallup survey from earlier this month found that 50 percent of GOP voters are “very enthusiastic” about voting in the coming elections. The corresponding figure for Democrats is 25 percent.
GOP voters have a similar lead on the question of whether they have given a lot of thought to the upcoming elections, says Gallup. These things combined mean it’s likely that Republicans will turn out a higher percentage of their voters to the polls.
Already more Republicans than Democrats turned out to vote in this year’s state primaries, according to data compiled by American University’s Center for the Study of the American Electorate. That’s impressive when you consider that there are more registered Democrats than Republicans in the US.
Truth be told, Democratic leaders know that the enthusiasm gap is their real problem. On Tuesday in an interview on CBS, Democratic National Committee Chairman Tim Kaine said of Democratic voters “we just need to make them aware of the importance of these elections”.
Even Biden gets it, really. Following “whinegate” on Monday he told an MSNBC interviewer that the surprise victory of Christine O’Donnell in Delaware’s GOP Senate primary should serve as a warning to Democrats, as well as moderate Republicans.
Ms. O’Donnell won because many moderate GOP voters stayed home, assuming that Rep. Mike Castle would win easily, according to the VP.
“This is a wake-up call to Democrats,” said Biden. “We have to show up and we have to make our case and focus on the differences, not the personalities.”