In the past few days, Democrats have experienced something close to a mass freakout regarding their chances in this November's midterm elections. An anonymous Democratic lawmaker told the New York Times that President Obama, weakened by low approval ratings, is "poisonous" to Democratic candidates. ABC reported that some Democrats are "increasingly worried the health care law is political poison." Columnist Maureen Dowd concluded that "Democratic panic has set in." When "poison" and "panic" are the words used to describe a campaign, there's likely to be trouble ahead.
The immediate reason for the consternation is Democrat Alex Sink's narrow loss to RepublicanDavid Jolly in the special election to fill the House seat from Florida's 13th Congressional District. Commentators and politicos always say it's a mistake to read too much into the results of a special election, but that hasn't stopped anyone from declaring the results an ominous sign for Democrats.
The problem is, it appears both sides could be learning the wrong lessons from Florida.