Fear and the politics of panic

Three seemingly unrelated stances taken by well-known Democratic politicians during the past week have one thing in common.

The first came courtesy of Nevada Senator and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. Out of the blue, he announced that he opposes the Ground Zero Mosque — or, if you're the Associated Press, “the mosque near ground zero” (note the lowercase on “Ground Zero,” which, despite the PC AP, is a place every bit as deserving of uppercase letters as, say, “Pearl Harbor”). Reid says that, “the mosque should be built somewhere else.”

Then came Congressman Barney Frank. The Massachusetts congressman, who spent well over a decade defending government-sponsored mortgage behemoths Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac from anyone and everyone who questioned their dangerously burgeoning role and ever-shakier financial situation, went on a TV tour telling the world he now wants to abolish them.

Finally there was House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who announced on Thursday her belief that those who oppose the Ground Zero Mosque should be investigated to see where their funding is coming from.

This is all pretty bizarre stuff, but it all comes down to one word: Fear.

Harry Reid is afraid of losing in November to Sharron Angle. The concern is justified.

Incredible as it may sound, Barney Frank, assuming he dispatches Rachel Brown in the Democratic primary, is afraid of losing his general reelection race to a Republican, either Sean Bielat or Earl Sholley.

It's a fair bet that Frank has taken note of a survey of 12 Eastern state congressional districts current held by Democrats. In the generic party ballot, “voters in these districts prefer a Republican to a Democrat as their next congressman by a 38 to 31 percent margin.” Frank's district is bluer than most, but many of its voters may be seeing red after experiencing Commonwealth Care, the Bay State's precursor to ObamaCare, for a couple of years, and Obamanomics for the past 19 months.

Pelosi isn't afraid of losing her seat. (Of course not. That could never happen … could it?) She's just afraid she won't be House Speaker much longer, and is trying to go to on the offensive in the misbegotten belief that doing so will benefit her Democratic colleagues.

All three seemingly diverse actions give off a distinct aura of panic. Reid and Frank believe their sudden conversion to semi-sensible positions will garner favor with voters who have until now been disengaged (sad to say, despite the Tea Party, that's still most Americans). Pelosi believes that she can turn the tables and distract a bit of attention away from her party's monstrously poor handling of the economy and federal finances.

Watch for more Democratic politicians to engage in desperate, out-of-character antics in the next 70 days or so. Now you know what they'll all have in common.

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