The White House Puts A Brave Face On A Monumental Disaster

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs told the Sunday morning talk shows that this time next week we,

“will be talking about healthcare not as a presidential proposal but I think as the law of the land.”.

“We believe healthcare reform is going to pass, and once it passes we’re happy to have the 2010 elections be about the achievement of healthcare reform,” Gibbs said.

In light of David Axelrod’s channeling Clint Eastwood on Face the Nation today in which he said “Make my day” to his Republican opponents, it’s a wonder if the Democratic operatives, the geniuses of the most magnificent message machine ever witnessed in Washington (at least in their own minds), might have been mugged by reality recently and resorted to locking themselves in their rooms in the face of a crumbling caucus and electorate. What else explains the barrage of “in your face” messages delivered on the Sunday news shows today? (Well, there is one explanation: Rahm Emanuel, but he seems to have saturated the establishment news outlets last week).

The comments today by senior members of the Obama White House show all the signs of a defeated political machine that has lost all of its traction in the space occupied by popular opinion. Their comments ring hollow and betray a lack of a central plan, any plan, to deal with the devastating political defeat that awaits them in November. Americans believe in leaders and leadership, which is one reason Barack Obama enjoyed such large electoral margins. He conveyed a sense of leadership to a large contingent of an electorate that has since become convinced that this President is not only incapable of leadership, but may not be politically lucid. Worse yet, these same Americans question the president’s veracity (and that is putting it politely). The images on today’s television of Gibbs and Axelrod brought forth worrisome political visions of the snake oil salesman and mountebank: vague promises, no details and grandiose goals.

We are entering a period of estrangement between the electorate and the House of Reprentatives, the Senate and The White House that is simply Nixonesque. This aura of vacuousness is troubling because history informs us that serious crises never announce themselves; rather, they appear suddenly and afix themselves to our lives long after many prepared remdies are rendered ineffective. We are living in such times now.

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