Damn the Torpedoes . . .

Posted: Jan 24, 2010 5:52 PM
This op/ed from David Plouffe (President Obama's campaign manager) suggests to me that the Massachusetts Miracle has spawned very little soul-searching -- and even less reassessment -- in The White House.

In essence, Plouffe seems to have interpreted last week's election as President Obama did when he told George Stephanopoulos that it, like his election, was nothing more than a reflection of the public's intense desire for "change."

If they keep up that kind of talk, it portends great things for Republicans.  Scott Brown was nothing if not clear about what he wanted to do in the Senate: Stop ObamaCare; cut taxes; be tough on terrorists.  President Obama explicitly called for the election of Martha Coakley as a way to keep pushing ahead his vision of "change."  And we all know how the voters responded.

But I think it's unlikely that President Obama will "pull a Clinton" and come to the center like President Clinton did in the wake of the 1994 Republican takeover of Congress.  For one, Obama is too ideological -- he's a true lefty, unlike Clinton.  Second, he lacks Clinton's malleability, and honestly, his formidable political skill set.

When all you've got is a hammer, every problem better be a nail.  All President Obama seems to have is a discrete set of plays in his playbook -- left wing policies, backed with oratory and personal appeals.  So for him to succeed, the political problems he faces had better be solvable by those means, that is, if they're going to be solved.

The fact is that Obama simply has no experience in figuring out how to deal with a country that fundamentally opposes the ideological undergirding of his agenda and world view.  Unlike a Democrat in a basically conservative state like Arkansas, Obama has grown up cosseted in the protective bosom of liberal havens -- from Hawaii to Manhattan  to Cambridge to Chicago.  He doesn't recognize a world where his world-view and ideology isn't overwhelmingly in the majority.

It will be interesting to see what he does now.