Obama campaigned on an agenda that he believed made sense before the financial crisis and the onset of a steep recession. When circumstances changed, Obama did not. The financial crisis "proved" that we needed the same policy prescriptions. And so, for the last year the president has pushed health-care reform when Americans were interested in jobs and economic growth. He's pushed a Keynesian spending binge that has had little to no effect on economic health but has been a bracing tonic for Democratic constituencies.
Obama came into office with stratospheric poll numbers and nominally unstoppable majorities in both houses of Congress. The press has given him every benefit of the doubt, quickly propping him up after every stumble. The Beltway bureaucracy and intelligentsia have swooned like teenagers for the man. He has given more speeches, lectures, press conferences and tutorials on his policies than any president in modern memory. In response, independents have abandoned him, conservatives have steeled their resolve against him, and liberals have lost faith. And yet, like a drunk in a bowling shirt at the craps table who insists his losses don't disprove his "system" for winning, Obama stands behind his bet.
So what was Obama's bet? He believed that he was elected to usher in a new progressive era, a new New Deal. Unfortunately for his wager, every significant election since November 2008 has refuted the sagacity of this gamble. In New Jersey, in Virginia and even in Massachusetts, voters have said that is not the change they were looking for. The rosy scenario for Democrats is that they will "only" lose 20 to 30 seats in the coming midterm elections. If we were at the dawn of a new New Deal, you would expect voters to be ratifying Obama's actions. That's what they did for FDR. Not so for BHO.
And yet there the president stands, mocking his opponents and the ignorant rubes who don't understand his system as he says in word and deed, "let it ride."
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