Reading The DC Tea Leaves
What's Obama's standing in DC these days? Perhaps this headline offers one clue:
Don't worry, it's likely mutual; Donald Sensing asks, "Is Obama a lame duck already?"
Well, not quite. But I would immodestly call your attention to my prediction of last July:I think that Obama and his inner circle realize that if they can't get this [health care] package, or something very close to it, passed then they will be faced with the fact that Obama, barely more than a half-year into his first term, will basically be a lame duck.
Well, it didn't pass then and hasn't passed yet, and last November Joel Kotkin, executive editor of NewGeography.com and a distinguished presidential fellow in urban futures at Chapman University, concluded the same thing:A good friend of mine, a Democratic mayor here in California, describes the Obama administration as "Moveon.org run by the Chicago machine." This combination may have been good enough to beat John McCain in 2008, but it is proving a poor way to run a country or build a strong, effective political majority. And while the president's charismatic talent – and the lack of such among his opposition – may keep him in office, it will be largely as a kind of permanent lame duck unable to make any of the transformative changes he promised as a candidate.
Now today comes the Associated Press with "Outlook no brighter for Obama's new health plan:"WASHINGTON – Starting over on health care, President Barack Obama knows his chances aren't looking much more promising. A year after he called for a far-reaching overhaul, Obama unveiled his most detailed plan yet on Monday. Realistically, he's just hoping to win a big enough slice to silence the talk of a failing presidency.
This is not far from becoming a meme, and in Washington politics memes take on a life of their own, creating reality as much as reflecting it.
Here's my closing thought from July:We may get a bill of some kind, but if so it will be a greatly watered down version of the Obama plan. That won't make it better, of course, but it won't be Obama's, either. After that, he'll have not much truck with Dems in Congress, who will enjoy the freedom of running away from the White House, even to the point that in some tossup seats next year, we'll see some Dems running against Obama as much as their Republican opponents.
I'd say some Dems are already running away from Obama. Prophecy fulfilled all around!
Are surrender terms being negotiated? Well, sort of, cartoonist Michael Ramirez jokes: