Doom. Impending doom. Deep, dark, impending Democratic Party doom. Losing one, if not both, houses of Congress - deep, dark, impending Democratic Party doom.
Deep, dark, impending Democratic Party doom of Biblical proportions destined to make 1994 seem like a walk in the park with a loved one, down a sun-kissed lane strewn with fallen magnolia petals. Then again, wait. Maybe not so much doomishness.
A week ago, the Gallup organization released a tracking poll giving the GOP a 10-point lead when voters answered which party they favor. And much wailing and crowing ensued. Whispers grew into shouts, and fear and joy swept the land. Democratic candidates avoided Obama like a plate full of haggis dipped in botulism toxin. Fox News commentators boasted that independents would prefer having a sack full of snarling weasels dropped into their pants than vote for a Democrat. And being home to Bill O'Reilly, it was assumed they knew what they were talking about.
Then Gallup released a new poll showing the parties dead even. Same question; now we're tied. Double-digit swing in a single week. Why? Nobody knows. Might be a backlash to Glenn Beck's trek to the Lincoln Memorial to reclaim the civil rights movement for loud, angry, chubby white guys. Perhaps it was a collective sigh of parental relief after returning their budget-busting, vacationing rug rats to school. Or maybe it had to do with Obama coming back from 10 days golfing with the big-time swells on Martha's Vineyard. And no, I'm not talking about Hurricane Earl.
And what a comeback. Worthy of Secretariat. With recharged batteries pinning the brim, the president shifted into overdrive. In Milwaukee on Labor Day, he floated a program to rebuild America's infrastructure. And who hasn't rattled their teeth in a pothole big enough to qualify for its own area code? John Boehner maybe, that's about it.
Then in Ohio, Obama proposed cutting taxes on small businesses, placing the GOP on the defensive since they offered up the very same legislation during the Bush years. Of course now they're against it. Which, in the middle of an election year is less surprising than a big belt buckle on a rodeo star. Ski wax in a Telluride closet. A fat tortoiseshell cat napping on a bed & breakfast lobby counter.
At this point, all we can be sure of is that people are upset. At everyone. For everything. At restaurants for stubbornly retaining pre-recession, stratosphere- scraping entree prices. At the Oakland Raiders for charging 33 bucks to park at a meaningless pre-season game. But then, they're all meaningless. At banks for turning greed into an art form. At Obama and the Dems for waiting so long to address the economy, and at the Republicans for politicizing anything coming out of Congress, including the "Aren't the Clouds Dreamy" proclamation.
So, to doom or not to doom. That is the question. And the answer remains, Yes and No. There's no way out, and we're stuck here until someone locates the key. Which could be tomorrow. Or the decade after next. Voters hate the Democrats. Except when they dislike Republicans more. We're headed down the wrong path, but it's the only one that's lit. And that clears everything up like the view through the windshield of a VW Beetle going uphill with a blown head gasket. Also known as: politics as usual.
Will Durst is a San-Francisco based political comedian who often writes. He has performed around the world, and is a familiar pundit on television and radio. E-mail Will at firstname.lastname@example.org.