Never has an administration who had more firepower at their disposal, been set to so totally fail in the next six to eight weeks. It is nearly a foregone conclusion. It is nearly unavoidable. And it defies all logic given the sizable majority the administration has in both houses of Congress.
Since I was the first pundit to predict Obama's presidency (Dec 2006) it behooves me to tell you the course I believe the next few weeks will take and effectively halt the radical transformation that the left appeared unstoppable with only months ago.
1. Health Care's long and painful death.
Barring the existing possibility that the Democrats cram a reform bill down the throats of actively protesting Americans through an ultra-partisan process that would shut out conservatives and Republicans from even being allowed to contribute to the discussion, health care reform is dead. It actually died a good while back when the President decided to pivot and create a new issue that no one had been discussing--health insurance reform. The American people will want to know why we should spend $4 billion to cover everyone in America "efficiently," when we already do so with inefficiencies like people using the emergency room as their general practitioner for $2.5 billion. Deep thinkers on the issue want to know why the President hasn't entertained one item of tort reform--protecting his friends, the trial lawyers--yet is willing to claim that doctors are eager to lop off feet, tonsils, and foreskin just to make a buck.
2. Cap & Trade will be the largest tax increase in American history.
With the 2010 election cycle just around the corner, campaign ads are not far off from being drafted. With Cap & Trade still sitting in legislative limbo, with the President's own advisor--Warren Buffet--now opposing it openly on media, with the 9.12 project in the works in which the largest gathering of anti-tax Americans from the left, right, and middle will be coming to Washington DC on September 12, and with blue dogs getting absolutely hammered in their home districts supporting it, the chance of single-party ram through victory on the matter is not wise. Cap & Trade, if passed, will contribute to unemployment, Wall Street stop and starts, and ultimately reduced treasury revenues. It would serve as the single largest tax increase on the average American in all of American history. Even President Obama admitted as much, predicting that electric bill prices, in his words, would, "skyrocket." Those that have looked at the specifics tell us that the average utility bill in America will go from $167 to $307 per month, per family.
Now several Washington organizations from left and right, and one of note consisting of both--the Congressional Budget Office, predicts that unemployment will not shrink from the predicted "Obama high" of 8%. Instead, nearly without fail, economists are predicting unemployment at or over 10% for up to the next 24 months. That is nearly 250% the increase in unemployment under Bush for nearly the duration of his two-term presidency. If people were working, higher taxes and possible new health care entitlements could be considered, but without them working it is political suicide for Democrats to even think of it.
4. Obama's integrity tarnished in August.
Not a great deal has been made of the whoppers that the President has been spewing while the Federal Government has been in recess, but it is worth noting that many more people than I had previously realized have notice the President "exaggerating" badly in his talks on health care. For instance confusing he actual $500 physicians get to amputate a foot as opposed to the $50,000 that he claimed they got. He has shown an utter disregard for the reputation of those he talks about, the "facts" he uses to make his argument, and is highly overly optimistic about the results of his policies. Long story short, at the beginning of the summer Americans mostly trusted him, his passion index was at +10, he heads into the fall at -14.
New spending for this and that sure added up. And that brings me to number 6.
6. A coming middle class tax hike.
They will hem and haw. There will be an official, and ever arrogant Robert Gibbs explanation from the White House Press room as to why they must to do this to be "good stewards" and to be a "responsible administration" that, "pays as it goes." But the truth is, in order to pay for everything they've promised and budgeted for, a tax is looming for small businesses and working families that President Obama promised would never come. And as an aside, he was going to break that promise all along. Because the minute the "Bush tax relief" runs out in 2010, middle class taxes would be going up in an "Obama administration." Hence fundamentally Obama's "not a single dime" pledge on the campaign trail was bollocks start to finish.
Of course the President, the Democrats, the left, and Congressional leadership could surprise me. They could show up in September and endorse the Coburn health care bill in the U.S. Senate and swipe the credit for it. They could show up next week and fight with all their might to not allow the tax rates to skyrocket in 2010. They could decide to scrap Cap & Trade and re-think the use of public money for true job-based economic stimulation.
But I'm not holding my breath, and I'd advise you against it as well.
They've awakened the American worker, the American small-business owner, and the American voter.
All three of which are now wondering aloud, "What on earth have we done?"