The dominant liberal media culture has spun these past days of the Democrats' lame-duck Congress into an unbroken string of legislative victories for President Obama and his party.
But it is hard, if not impossible, to reconcile the nightly news spin of the last couple of weeks with the president's 0-2 record on the two most far-reaching bills of this session: tax cuts to get the economy moving again and a $1.1 trillion budget.
The former was a total policy capitulation by Obama, who fought against the Bush tax cuts night and day for the past two years, only to cave under Republican pressure in an 11th-hour deal to continue the tax cuts, including those for the wealthiest Americans, and even extend them to high-end estate taxes and big business.
The latter was the 2,200 page, earmarked-filled, omnibus Senate spending bill that the president signaled he would sign, only to have it pulled off the floor by Democratic Leader Harry Reid to avoid a humiliating defeat for the White House and the Democrats.
They were forced to settle for a scaled-down continuing resolution that will temporarily keep spending at present levels for the next two months until replenished GOP forces take their seats in January and begin to exert control over the appropriations process.
True, in between, Obama won victories on "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," the Food Safety bill (let's hope it is more effective than the previous food safety bills) and is nearing a narrow vote on the New START nuclear weapons treaty with Russia.
But in terms of what the voters were overwhelmingly concerned about in this midterm election year -- a weak, jobless recovery that the Fed called "disappointingly slow" and runaway spending that has dangerously plunged our country into unprecedented debt -- the tax and budget bills were paramount. And for Obama they represented failure, retreat and, ultimately, capitulation to Republican pressure and the "shellacking" he and his party took in the elections.
Perhaps the most humiliating manifestation of this came when the Democratic-run Senate passed the GOP-structured tax cut package by a staggering vote of 81 to 19.
The death of the Democrats' grotesque, big-spending omnibus budget bill last Thursday night was icing on the cake for Republicans. "You did it," a jubilant John Cornyn, the GOP's Senate campaign committee chairman, e-mailed to party supporters Friday. "Facing pressure from you, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announced ... he was withdrawing" the bill.
Much of the credit for the bill's loss of support also goes to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who talked seven GOP senators, who had earmarks in the bill, including Cornyn, to announce that they would vote against it.