US President Barack Obama is feeling the heat. His response to the current crisis threatening to sink his one-year-old presidency is telling for what it says about the future of both his domestic and foreign policies. Israel should take heed of his responses.
Obama's Democratic Party, and indeed the US political establishment as a whole, received a jolt on Tuesday when Republican Scott Brown won the Massachusetts seat in the US Senate that had been held by the Democratic Kennedy dynasty since 1952. The question now on everyone's lips is whether Brown's stunning victory will cause Obama to change his course and moderate his policies.
The Massachusetts Senate race was a real world example of what opinion polling data has shown. Since last summer, a consistently growing number of US voters oppose Obama's policies.
Brown's victory was nationally significant because it removed the Democrats' filibuster proof, 60-man super-majority in the Senate. With Brown as the 41st Republican senator, the minority party can now muster the votes to block legislation from being called to a vote before the full Senate and so prevent laws from being passed.
In addition to its immediate legislative significance, the larger political importance of the Massachusetts election rests in what it signals for House and Senate Democrats who will face reelection in November. Dozens of Democratic lawmakers are reportedly now veering into full-blown panics about their prospects in those elections. As Indiana Sen. Evan Bayh put it, "If you lose Massachusetts and that's not a wake-up call, there's no hope of waking up."
Tellingly, Obama and his White House advisers are refusing to "wake up." Obama responded to Brown's win as he has to many of his setbacks since assuming office a year ago this week. He blamed his predecessor, George W. Bush.
In an interview on Wednesday with ABC News, Obama said, "People are angry, they are frustrated. Not just because of what's happened in the last year or two years, but what's happened over the last eight years."
Obama argued that the growing unpopularity of his programs is due not to substance, but to style. As he put it, "We were so busy just getting stuff done... that I think we lost some of that sense of speaking directly to the American people about what their core values are and why we have to make sure those institutions are matching up with those values."
Caroline B. Glick is the senior Middle East fellow at the Center for Security Policy in Washington, D.C., and the deputy managing editor of The Jerusalem Post, where this article first appeared.
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