The Styrofoam Pillars Collapse
None of this bodes well for "civility." The president has been progressively upping the ante, driven in part by the determination of his ideological supporters to go that one last step toward Hope and Change but driven even more urgently by the relentlessly ticking clock and the progressively declining bank balance. The president is running out of both the time and money needed to stay in power. The only thing he can try now is the long pass. The midcourt shot.
The Daily Kos/SEIU released the results of a poll which showed that "nearly half of voters believe that Republicans are intentionally stalling efforts to jump start the economy to ensure that President Barack Obama is not re-elected." There are calls for "treasonous Republicans" to be put on trial for sabotaging the economy.
In that situation, many things can go wrong. Ralph Peters reminds us America still has foreign enemies; and that is a dangerous thing to contemplate when the incumbent is in the process of selling everything that isn't nailed down. He writes that "the low point of the American presidency over the past half-century wasn't Watergate, which is almost trivial compared to the corruption of the Obama administration, from treasonous leaks of classified material to the Justice Department's assault on honest elections. No, my fellow Americans, the lowest point of the presidency occurred a few months back when President Obama, caught by a microphone he didn't know was hot, told Russia's then-president, now prime-minister, Dimitry Medvedev to relay to strong-man Vladimir Putin a request for patience. Essentially, Obama said he needed time to fool the American people until the November elections then he could cut the deals that Putin wanted."
This suspicion may be an injustice to the president or it may not. As the president said, “the notion that my White House would purposely release classified national security information is offensive.” But the point in citing Peter's article is that the political game is now offense all the time every time, at least from the Democratic Party side. Things have not been at such a pitch since the 1960s and perhaps going even further back.
That elevated temperature can result in a runaway thermal reaction, driven by uncontrolled feedback, unless interrupted by the elections or dampened by a buffer. Whatever else his legacy might be, President Obama has been a transformational figure both in Democratic Party and broader national political terms. If he does not lay the capstone of the New Deal, he will preside over its ruins.
The pitch of the national debate has now been raised to a higher frequency and a higher energy state. That was the inevitable result of Wisconsin, the financial crisis and the chaotic international situation. And it's not over yet. The months till November promise to be eventful in both international and domestic terms.