Obama's heart is and always has been on the farthest reaches of the left wing of politics. His driving ambition is to force fundamental change on America. That should go without saying, but it must be repeated -- and repeated -- lest people's forgiving spirits and short memories generate just enough complacency to allow Obama to get back on track.
It is remarkable that Obama has lost public favor so quickly. But the other side of that coin is that he is receiving a wake-up call early enough in his first term to allow him to recover well in time for the crucial 2010 elections.
Some erroneously believe that Obama will continue to bash his stubborn leftist head into the wall against the wishes of the public. I don't believe the modern myth that Obama is an erudite political philosopher, but I do think he's savvy enough to understand that he must significantly repackage his message in order to win back popular support for his policy goals.
The major obstacle to selling Obamacare has been the public's realization that the "public option" is a euphemism for socialized medicine. So it's time for Obama to take his Machiavellian talents to the next level.
His likely recipe will be 1 part Alinsky, 1 part linguist George Lakoff, who urges Democrats to flavor their statist medicines with bucketsful of sugar to dupe the voters, and 1 part Clintonian triangulation.
But it won't just involve a single deceptive euphemism, such as "public option." It will be presented in broader thematic terms -- as in, he is trying to expand competition and patient choice. He has experience in such chicanery. For example, he used his chairmanship of the Chicago Annenberg Challenge to divert $100 million to left-wing activists for their radical causes in the name of education reform, as reported by The Washington Times.