What a crazy political week! First, Pelosi bashes Obama over the "spending freeze" before the State of the Union Show, then Obama slaps the Supreme Court to their faces at the Show! Let the Dems bash each other, and the Supreme Court, and see how that goes over with the public. Bashing the GOP is not helping, either. They stated their positions credibly at the Baltimore debate, and the President looked weak at times. If Obama, Pelosi and Reid are trying to sell "bipartisanship," nobody's buying it, especially independents. People who are sick of "party loyalty" creating "bad government" vote on the policies, not the politics.
It's ironic then, that the President is trying to use party loyalty to pass legislation that is turning policy-minded independent voters against his party. It's political suicide, but "they've got Me," the President told retiring Dem Congressman Marion Berry, regarding his legislative agenda's political prospects. Let's face the facts here: "Cap and Trade" is dead. Health Care is as good as dead, but will become a "zombie" issue for the Dems this year. It won't die, and it will hurt them, including Obama, politically.
Something else that independent voters don't like are all of the bailouts, and especially the "stimulus" package. It is beyond belief that this president would ask for a second "stimulus" bill, when the opposition wants to put the unspent part of the first one back into the treasury. The idea is to call the second stimulus a "jobs" bill, which had Speaker Pelosi in total "clapping seal" mode at the show. She was totally "Planet Pelosi," as out of touch with Earth as ever! With so much of the first stimulus unspent, this "jobs" bill is superfluous, and politically risky. It will expose the Dems further on deficit spending, and expanding the public sector at the expense of the private sector workforce.
Wanna know what's really crazy? The OA's policy on homeland security, and being at war with terrorist groups. They get credit for the ramping up of drone strikes, but they screwed up the security review, and didn't fix the combat engagement policy in Afghanistan. Add to that the intel failures leading up to Ft. Hood and the failed Christmas bomber, and "presto!" More political resistance from within the party. Subsequently, the 9/11 plotters will not be tried in NYC. Anyone want to take bets on when GITMO closes? Overall, a huge political negative for the Obama Administration, that they have time to fix this year. Moving the trial out of Manhattan is a tiny step in the right direction, but they need to reform the whole national defense policy, for more than just political reasons.
The President did something unprecedented, in this State of the Union Show: He verbally browbeat the United States Supreme Court members who accepted his invitation to be honored guests. He had them at a disadvantage, and bullied them in front of the world. If this is how Obama treats "guests," he has no honor in the "independent" world. This is crazy on so many levels, I'd have to write a whole post to analyze it. I appreciated Justice Alito's viceral reaction, and wasn't surprised that it got more media coverage than the president's remarks, initially. Fortunately, people started to realize that Alito's mouthing "not true" had much more recent precedent (Rep. Joe Wilson) than Obama's attack, which, if it has a precedent, it's so negative that no media outlet wants to dig it up. This one should stick in the craw of liberals, conservatives, and independents, alike.
All of these are real issues, as well as political ones. It would be nice to fashion a compromise on health care that includes tort reform, interstate competition, as well as pre-existing conditions, portability, and expanded access for the poor. I'd like to see us find a responsible way to cut the deficit, and grow the economy. Both of these look like "long shots" right now, and it's not because of the GOP saying "no." It's the Obama administration, Speaker Pelosi, and Majority Leader Reid who are refusing to accept any "free market" solutions.
Think about this: some Dems were ready to give up the "public option" for extra Medicare funding for their states, but none of them could be "bought off" to accept tort reform? How hard was the leadership trying to "reach out to the other side?" Nothing positive will get done under this president until the GOP controls at least one house of congress. I predict the people will make that move in this year's elections, if the Dems "double down" to the left. The other possibility is an explosive split within the Democratic Party, pitting "rank and file" representatives and senators against the "leadership." Either way, it's a gloomy outlook on the Democrats' political horizon...
...also see Whither Obama's Agenda?