I am writing this at about two AM, Ukraine time, awaiting the results of the Senate election in Massachusetts between Democrat Martha Coakley and Republican Scott Brown. The result is important on the technical point of whether Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid will have 60 votes to block a filibuster for the rest of this year.
But, the growing doubt among voters in the Obama Administration's policies has already been proven by simply having to fight so hard to save, what a month ago, appeared to be among the safest Democratic seats in the U.S. Senate.
President Barack Obama came into office exactly one year ago today, promising to lead us into a new era of post-partisan politics. The thought was: He would not put up with Democrat versus Republican partisan sniping over legislative priorities.
Voters believed him. In the exit polls conducted on election day, 2008; self-described "moderates" voted for Obama over Sen. John McCain by a 60 percent to 39 percent margin.
From the very start, Obama either lurched to the Left or, when it wasn't prudent to do so, explained more centrist proposals by blaming the Bush Administration for forcing the position on him.
On February 19, 2009 - Obama's one-month anniversary - CNBC's Rick Santelli ranted against the stimulus package during a segment from Chicago which sparked the Tea Party Movement and, probably, a spike in the sale of books by Ayn Rand.
In the U.S. House, the huge Democratic majority gave Speaker Nancy Pelosi the votes she needed to push through just about any bill she and the President wanted.
With the seating of Al Franken (D-MN) and the party switch of Arlen Spector (D-PA) giving the Democrats the filibuster-proof 60 floor votes they wanted, any pretense of having to, much less wanting to, deal with the GOP in either Chamber was dropped and every major policy was negotiated by Democrats with Democrats.
As with most problems in politics - Obama's were caused by his own actions. He negotiated a buy-out of GM and Chrysler which was seen as using taxpayer money to pay for full wages and benefits for union auto workers.
He recognized that closing Guantanamo, resetting relations with our enemies in the Middle East, and withdrawing troops from Iraq and Afghanistan was easier to say running on the campaign trail than to do sitting in the Oval Office, thus casting doubt in the minds of his most Liberal defenders about his foreign policy capability.
This very un-post-partisan behavior was being duly noted by the electorate. Last November, elections for Governor were held in New Jersey and Virginia. These were first scheduled, state-wide elections without Barack Obama on the ballot and George W. Bush in the White House.
Republican candidates won both seats and the days of President Obama being the best political wizard that ever was appeared to be coming to a close.
Two things happened at year's end which may have cause the seeds of doubt among the electorate, planted over the preceding 11 months, to begin to take root and sprout: The Christmas Day attempt to bring down a Delta flight over Detroit and the single-minded focus on passing a health care bill.
The President's now-infamous 72-hour delay in speaking publically about the Christmas Day attack may have added to a growing concern that President Obama may mean well, but he and his administration are lacking the level of competence we need.
His health care problems burst into the public eye during the Congressional August recess when Democrat after Democrat was shouted down over the issue by people who are opposed to a government-run system.
For what it's worth, the political cognoscenti pronounced the people singin' songs and carryin' signs at those town hall meetings fringe voters but the reality is the anti-socialized medicine folks joined with Santelli's Tea Party supporters and a movement had been born.
Obama's average job approval (not personal approval) ratings dropped and have remained stubbornly at or just below the 50 percent mark for months.
Before GOP candidates for the U.S. House or Senate begin measuring for drapes, remember that as quickly as the Democrats' fortunes have gone south over the past 12 months, the same can happen to Republicans over the next 10.
As Jon Stewart said on Monday night:
"It's not your fault, Democratic Party Leadership. We shouldn't have raised the bar of expectations too high. We should just leave the bar on the ground … and wait for you to trip."
The failure of Obama's policies that are symbolized by the election in Massachusetts raises the bar for Republicans as they gather themselves for the mid-term elections in November.
Scott Brown won. 52% to 47%. Heck of a job, Brownie!
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