There is an interesting narrative coming together that addresses the misfires and disregard for political risk that is plaguing the Obama administration. Over at the Politco Mike Allen (who is not a Republican) pulls no punches with an analysis headlined “Obama’s Big Bang could go bust“. It is a must read because it provides an inside view of how Democrats that are focused on re election are viewing their own situation now.
Barack Obama’s Big Bang is beginning to backfire, as his plans for rapid, once-in-a-generation overhauls of energy, financial regulation and health care are running into stiff resistance, both in Washington and around the country.
The Obama theory was simple, though always freighted with risk: Use a season of economic anxiety to enact sweeping changes the public likely wouldn’t stomach in ordinary times….
Some Democrats point to a decision in June as the first vivid sign of trouble for Obama. These Democrats say the White House, in retrospect, made a grievous mistake by muscling conservative Democrats in swing districts vote for a cap-and-trade energy bill that was very unpopular among their constituents
“The majority-makers are the freshman and sophomores from conservative districts where there’s this narrative building about giveaways, buyouts and too much change at once,” said a top House Democratic strategist, who requested anonymity to discuss internal politics candidly. “There’s this big snowball building in those districts. That’s why those folks are so scared.”
Barack Obama, a man in whom so much was invested emotionally, politically and financially is on the ropes after a mere seven months in office. Many of the key constituent goups that delivered his 2008 victory (and a lot of campaign money) are beginning to ask questions, among them “young people, college-educated white women and even partisan Democrats.”
I’ve commented before that the over reaching legislative initiatives of the Obama administration (as expressed by Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel’s well known admonition that no crisis should be wasted) are a manifestation of a peculiar combination of ignorance and arrogance. Americans as a rule respond to a real crisis with effective action directed to the problem at hand; politicians respond to a crisis by expanding their power. The divergence in self interest couldn’t be clearer. Edmund Burke discussed this concept at length in his criticism of the French Revolution, an historical event characterized by political adventurism, the madness of crowds and stark political ignorance and arrogance (the modern political equation might go something like this: Obama/Pelosi/Reid = Robespierre/Jacobins).
President Obama and the Congress have been on a single minded mission during the last seven months of expanding Federal power and acting in their own self interest. A plethora of recent polling indicates that voters are pushing back hard against this agenda and its anticipated results. As Lori noted earlier, many Democrats are beginning to figure it out. While there is nothing that focuses the mind of a voter more clearly than some combination of unemployment, higher taxes and a sudden change in major policy (like health care), it requires only the threat of unemployment to get the undivided attention of a politician.