Michael Barone

So much for the economic issues that were going to provide the underpinnings of what Greenberg's associate James Carville predicted would be 40 years of Democratic Party dominance.

As for cultural clashes, Democrats can claim to have quieted down debates over abortion and other issues that, as Obama said in his 2004 convention speech, unduly divided Blue America and Red America. But others have taken their place, to the Democrats' discomfort this legislative season. The Obama Justice Department stepped in and got an injunction against Arizona's law authorizing law enforcement to ask people stopped for other reasons about their immigration status.

Never mind that other states do this routinely without getting sued. The real problem is that about two-thirds of Americans support the Arizona law. Why couldn't the administration let it go into effect and see if it assisted the efforts they assure us they are making on border and employer enforcement?

Then there was Obama's iftar celebration comments on the mosque proposed for a site two blocks from the World Trade Center ruins -- comments that were taken as an endorsement, until the president proclaimed himself a day later as agnostic on whether it should be built there.

A large majority of Americans, according to a Fox News poll, believe the advocates have a right to place a mosque there, but even more believe they should not do so. Now we have been watching as Democrats from Harry Reid and Howard Dean on down scamper to say they agree with both these views, while Obama endorses only the first.

The Arizona law and the ground zero mosque issues are not likely to be dispositive issues in most congressional races this year. But they are additional baggage for the Obama Democrats who find themselves, as the economy languishes, on the defensive on the issues they thought would win over the bitter clingers.

Michael Barone

Michael Barone, senior political analyst for The Washington Examiner (www.washingtonexaminer.com), is a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, a Fox News Channel contributor and a co-author of The Almanac of American Politics. To find out more about Michael Barone, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com. COPYRIGHT 2011 THE WASHINGTON EXAMINER. DISTRIBUTED BY CREATORS.COM