National Journal – Cook: Health Care Is Obama’s Iraq

NJ: What do Democrats have to do to correct this?

Cook: I’ve spent the last couple of days talking to some of the brightest Democrats in the party that are not in the White House. And it’s very hard to come up with a scenario where Democrats don’t lose the House. It’s very hard. Are the seats there right this second? No. But we’re on a trajectory on the House turning over….
There are nine months, certainly things could happen, but the odds of unemployment being below 9 percent are minimal by the time of this election. We’re probably going to have a year of basically, more or less, 10 percent unemployment, which hasn’t happened since the Great Depression. I mean, in fact, in an even-numbered year there’s only been one month of double-digit unemployment in the post-War era. One month. And now we’re going to have probably about a year.
NJ: Name some places where Democrats should be focusing their energy, states or districts where it’s really going to be a tough sell but you think that its worth making.

Cook: Well when a Democratic Senate candidates loses Barney Frank’s district and loses Massachusetts, I think it raises a legitimate question of what is safe — not what’s in danger, but what is safe.
But if you were going to build a profile of where is it going to be absolutely the worst for Democrats, I would say the Deep South, Old South, the border south, states and districts with large small-town and rural populations, maybe lower percentages of college graduates — in other words, sort of yuppie types. I would say fewer transplants from the north. Places where Obama did worse than John Kerry did in the general election.And there’s sort of like a Nike swoosh, eastern Ohio, West Virginia, western Pennsylvania, down and across Tennessee, across the south and all the way to Oklahoma that Obama — I mean, 70 percent of the counties in America, Barack Obama did much better than John Kerry, but there is a sort of a swoosh of counties where Obama underperformed John Kerry — and let’s face it, John Kerry wasn’t exactly a son of the South — so that was like particularly bad.

National Journal
2/21/10