Obama's Liberal Petri Dish
Well, that's apparently what the country is from Obama's perspective -- a liberal petri dish to grow the New Deal II. But the economy is not a political science lab experiment for most elected leaders and certainly not for voters who simply want things to get better. So why doesn't the administration listen to these worried Democrats, the Republicans (who are still offering bipartisan solutions), and the "soured" punditocracy which is increasingly frustrated with the president?
Several things are at work here. First, when you are on an ideological mission, facts do not mean all that much. And carping is dismissed as faintness of heart. Obama is a committed ultra-liberal and one with infinite faith in government's ability to right all wrongs. So economic and political data, whether from the stock market or his fellow Democrats, has little impact. He wants to do all of this because he wants to do all of this -- no matter what.
Second, he and the Democratic Left are unlikely to have this window of opportunity again anytime soon. Even aside from the likelihood that the economy will not sufficiently rebound by the Congressional elections to endear Democrats to the voters, we know that historically, the incumbent party is going to lose seats in the first mid-year election. So even if it makes Democrats more unpopular and worsens their 2010 prospects, Obama likely doesn't care. He's got a full four years before he faces the voters and if 20 or 30 or 40 House seats are the price to be paid for cap-and-trade and nationalized health care, so be it.
And finally, if you don't have a clue how to fix the economy or are biased against free market and tax-cutting solutions which might help, what else are you going to do? Attack Rush Limbaugh and have a series of non-productive White House summits, I suppose. You need to fill up your time and divert the country's attention while you are not fixing the economy.
We are heading for a collision here between a president bent on an unworkable agenda and Democrats frightened about their re-election prospects. Republicans, if they are smart, may figure out how to align themselves with the latter. Or perhaps, they'll simply sit back and watch one-party liberal rule in all its glory.
The heavy lifting here in combating the extreme Obama agenda need no longer be a purely Republican task. Congressional Democrats who see the coming electoral train wreck and who may not share the president's messianic vision of a remodeled American society can start helping out. And unless they do, they'll be joining the growing ranks of the unemployed.