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Where was this guy in October when we needed him?
 
In the weeks before the election, President Obama seemed passive and powerless as ISIS ran wild in the Middle East and Ebola panicked America.
 
In the weeks since, he’s come back strong: heralding a recovering economy, challenging Congress on immigration, championing Internet openness, leading on climate change, speaking sanely on race relations, calling out North Korea and even chastising Hollywood for cowardice.
 
A few months ago, Republicans like Rudy Giuliani were swooning over the manliness of Vladimir Putin (“now there’s a leader”) and dissing the President as a wuss. Now Obama is presiding over an economy that’s coming back and Putin is pretending his economy isn’t going down.
 
Democrats can’t help but ask: If this guy had been around in October, would the election results have changed?
 
Behind that is a bigger question: Did the 2014 elections reflect a short-term dip for Democrats or a long-term decline?
 
Some Democrats say the polls looked good in early October, but collapsed as voters grew anxious over ISIS and Ebola and saw no leadership from the White House.
 
Others worry that Americans have developed a deep-seated aversion to Obama that colors (literally) their view of all Democrats – as a party that represents only minorities, the poor, gays and women who want abortions and doesn’t relate to the great numbers of middle-class and working-class Americans who think they’re getting screwed.
 
Here’s a best guess (and that’s all it is): Those Americans don’t feel any better represented by Republicans than by Democrats. Their votes in November were driven by what was happening right then. Just as Obama’s election six years ago was driven by the economic collapse right then. Just as the polls in October 2013 were driven by the Obamacare website disaster right then, just as the polls in November 2013 were driven by the Republican’s shutdown of the government right then.
 
When people vote, they think most about what’s happening right then and what they hope will happen next.
 
We over-read and overreact to every election. Democrats need to stop blaming Obama and start getting ready for 2016. The world will be very different then.

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