For all the hours of pre-election predictions and post-vote analysis, the 2010 midterms came down to a very simple truth: If unemployment were near double digits come November, Democrats would take a beating.
It is, and they have.
Exit polls found that nearly nine in ten voters believe the economy is in bad shape. The same percentage said they feel pessimistic about America's economic future. That's practically everyone!
And while a large majority of voters still believe that George Bush is to blame for getting us into this mess, they are clearly holding Obama accountable for not fixing it.
The Pottery Barn rule -- "you break it, you own it" -- was given a twist tonight. Turns out, sometimes even if you weren't the one who broke it, you own it. So it is with our broken economy. Bush broke it, but Obama, underestimating just how broken it is, owns it.
Indeed, the president laid claim to it back in July 2009 when, during a speech in Michigan, he strayed from his prepared text and said: "I love these folks who helped get us in this mess and then suddenly say, 'Well, this is Obama's economy.' That's fine. Give it to me!"
Many compared it to Bush's defiant "Bring 'em on!" And like that brash taunt, Obama's has doubled back to kick him in the butt.
He now owns an economy that 9 out of 10 people are unhappy with. Is it any wonder that they took their ire out on the Democrats?
With the "real unemployment" figures around 17 percent, it means almost no one in the country isn't being adversely affected by the economy -- or knows someone who is. And they were not going to be mollified by health care reform that doesn't kick in until 2014 and financial reform that isn't slowing down foreclosures or making borrowing money easier for small businesses.
As a result, voters no longer trust Democrats to fix things. Hard to believe, but Collier County in Florida, the county with the biggest unemployment jump in the country from March 2009 to March 2010, voted Republican.
Democrats still have the White House and still have the Senate, but they better do something about the economic devastation if they want to win back Collier County -- and the trust of the American people.
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