Friday, January 22, 2010

What now?

I was a little stunned to hear that Obama was essentially giving up on a healthcare vote without a fight. (Essentially taking David Brooks' advice.)

I think it's a big mistake.

But my faith in the big guy knows no bounds. So I'd like to hear what he has to say at the state of the union next week before passing judgment.

However, there are two things that came out of this Massachusetts election that I think are worth discussing.

1) As much as I hate to admit it, Obama has a real communication/political problem.

A week ago, the little lady I've started seeing asked me if there was anything Obama had done in his first year that I disapproved of. I don't quite remember what I said, but I've been thinking about that question for the last couple days, and I will concede, he earns low marks for getting his message across.

This is surprising given the fact that the big criticism of Obama during the campaign was that he was all flash (fancy, frilly speeches) with no substance (he was a first term senator).

But this is not the way his presidency has unfolded thus far. He has some real policy accomplishments to his name during this first year -- but he hasn't been getting the political credit he deserves. I didn't care so much about this as long as he was getting legislation passed, but now that he lost his 60th vote (and is about to lose the crown jewel of his first year) I suppose he has to pay attention to this.

2) This Massachusetts boondoggle says a lot more about Democrats than it does about Republicans.

The Democrats have 59 votes in the Senate, and suddenly the sky is falling.

What. The. Fuck.

Do you think this kind of setback would have stopped (or even slowed) George W. Bush? Of course not. Bush came in having lost the popular vote, and with a 50/50 divided senate -- and managed to get pretty much everything he wanted in his first term.

Part of the reason is because Democrats have no discipline whatsoever (and Republicans have no morals), but he was effective.

Why the hell are the Progressives in the House not saying that they'll pass the Senate's bill as-is? (By the way: I'm positive that's the reason Obama is backing off -- he and Pelosi have counted up the votes and realize they're screwed.) Are they really so stupid that they think this opportunity will come around again? (It won't.) Are they Leninists, who believe that things have to get worse before they get better? (In which case they're as bad as the Republicans.)

Stubbornness or stupidity -- take your pick. But that's (unfortunately) the Democratic Party right now (both left and right).