JONATHAN CHAIT AUGUST 11, 2010
Readers know that one of my guilty pleasures is a morbid fascination with former Bush administration Minister of Propaganda Pete Wehner. Wehner blogs for Commentary, and his favorite genre of Wehner blog post is the clipped news item portending doom for President Obama and the Democrats, followed by Wehner's cutting remark. Here's an example from today:
According to the Associated Press:
Victorious Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet of Colorado says he appreciates Barack Obama’s help in his primary fight, but isn’t sure how big a part the president will play in his fall campaign. Asked what role he could envision for Obama, Bennet tells ABC’s “Good Morning America,” he has to think about it.
Ouch. But the truth is, who can blame Bennet? After all, he wants to win an election — and President Obama has become politically radioactive in many places, including, apparently, Colorado.
Is this what “hope and change” was supposed to look like for the Democrats?
These items have become a comfortable part of my daily ritual. I would miss them terribly if they were gone. My favorite part is the pithy final line, where Wehner sticks in the knife with a final bon mot. ("Is this what 'hope and change' was supposed to look like for the Democrats?") Really, the news items themselves vary little -- any poll showing bad news for Democrats, any bit of negative news, any complaint against Obama. The final line is the only part that varies.
I have come to treasure them. So, on the theory that wisdom is attained through adversity, I had my research assistant cull through a few months of these posts and clip out the final line. There is a kind of poetry to them:
Barack Obama — the gift that keeps on giving,.. to the GOP.
All of [Rangel’s ranting against the Democrats] must be welcome news for the Democratic Party, heading into a midterm election that already looks epically bad.
When it rains, it pours.
Change is coming; it’s just not the type of change liberals imagined.
The public is discouraged, frustrated, angry, and energized. They get a chance to express their views on all this on November 2.
It will be quite an outpouring.
The “highly-engaged” gap between Republican-leaning and Democratic-leaning independents is 34 points, which is almost unbelievable.
Call it the collateral effects of the Obama presidency.
Talk about appeal to a wide constituency.
There are still 13 weeks before the mid-term elections. Things couldn’t possibly get worse for Obama and Democrats.
[T]he Obama administration and Democratic lawmakers simply have a communications problem. Once they correct that small matter, “progressives” will dominate the political world.
Of course they will.
The public will hold the president accountable for his actions. That is what Obama’s increasingly desperate courtiers are most afraid of.
It turns out that former community organizers don’t necessarily make for successful presidents. Who knew?
Prime Minister Cameron’s approach is morally offensive and strategically foolish.
On this matter at least, the British prime minister knows not of what he speaks.
Obama is in terrific shape, he’s doing just the right things, his policies are wildly popular, he’s terrifically competent, and the polls are simply “white noise.” Sure they are.
Hypocrisy isn’t an impressive trait in anyone, liberal or conservative.
Because of a widespread failure of political leadership, America is not in a good place at the present moment.
It’s so much easier to attack the Tea Party as the modern-day equivalent of the KKK than it is to defend the stimulus package.
Welcome to political discourse in the Age of Obama.
This is not going to end well.
We’ll see how Obama does in comparison to Bush on this score. I suspect not well.
I imagine there have been more off-putting press secretaries than Mr. Gibbs. I just can’t think of who they might be.
Wait until November 3 to see what I mean.
Barack Obama better be all in. If he is, he has the right man at the helm. If given the tools, David Petraeus — one more time — can finish the job.
Liberals do seem quite unhappy these days, don’t they? Call it the Obama Effect.
PPP refers to this as “The Obama Effect.” Before he’s done, it may cripple the Democratic Party.
The unmasking of Barack Obama continues. It is not a pretty thing to witness.
It is hard to imagine the data being much worse for the Democrats at this stage. It is now to the point where even some of Obama’s courtiers in the press recognize that, “Yup, November Will Be a Bloodbath.” Yup, it will.
That may change – but if it does, more likely than not it will change for the worse.
In the midst of this childish spin game, a person with standing in Obama’s life might whisper to him: “Mr. President, we already have one Clinton Eastwood. We don’t need you play-acting like you’re another.”
Hope and change seem like a lifetime ago, don’t they?
“This is, I think,” Krauthammer concludes, “a tribute to how radical is the Obama agenda. This is a spontaneous reaction to overreach. … This is an amazing, spontaneous phenomenon.” Indeed it is, and its effects have not yet been fully felt.
All of that is quite enough for me, for now.
It’s all pretty wishy-washy, I know, but there you go.
Mr. Obama may indeed be a political miracle worker — but for Republicans, not Democrats.
The bottom line? The man who promised to elevate American politics is degrading it.
The problem for the president is that people are beginning to pay attention to that man behind the curtain.
Call it one of the ironies of American history.
Call it true equality, American-style.
Barack Obama is a groundbreaking president, that is for sure.
Do you ever get the feeling that Obama is making it all up as he goes along?