It may become the understatement of the decade (and the next one) to say that President Obama and the Democratic Congress overreached in their legislative agenda this year. The Stimulus Bill, which was made available at 3:00 AM the day of the final vote, has now been famously exposed as not at all stimulating to the economy and, according to Vice President Biden, a misfire. ObamaCare is finished, its most damaging component, the public option, killed by House Democrats and the CBO. Cap and Trade, the massively regressive energy tax bill, will be similarly killed by Senate Democrats after having sucked the political life out of numerous House Democrats.
In terms of political drama this track record should draw comparisons to A Bridge Too Far, the epic WWII book and film that has become synonymous with overarching ambition among those flush with victory. To use an analogy of another battle, never has so much political capital been so poorly spent by so few. If Pelosi and Reid were scored for effectiveness and management, their caucus would fire them (and they may). The first six months of the Obama Presidency have been, purely from a legislative standpoint, an utter disaster.
While these legislative failures have been widely covered, lost among the noise has been a Democratic corruption meme largely ignored. It was revealed yesterday that Democratic Senators Kent Conrad and Chris Dodd knew all along they were getting preferential treatment from the insolvent mortgage lender Countrywide. Regardless of how salacious the details of an Ensign or a Sanford affair may be, financial corruption on a federal level that is connected directly to the cause of a financial crisis make for much better political fodder at the local level.
And then there is the economy. For those that have been encouraged by the happy talk of late about a recovering economy it bears reminding that there is really only one economic metric that voters will focus on in 2010: unemployment.