Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Surviving And Thriving

Not that I thought there was any danger in the brush, but...
It's increasingly possible that we will look back and see that August 2009 was this election cycle's height of Republicans' optimism over their political fortunes, and the depth of Democrats' despair.

By the time the midterm elections reach a fever pitch next year, President Obama may well have passed health-care reform, his signature domestic initiative, if not with overwhelming public support then at least with the backing of a solid majority of voters. The now common criticism that he hasn't accomplished anything will have been blunted. And while a high joblessness rate may persist, the narrative will have taken hold that the economy has either recovered or is well on its way.

The scenario above represents Democrats' best-case scenario, and no element of it is assured. But the new Washington Post-ABC News poll makes it appear a bit more likely. The survey found "that support for a government-run health-care plan to compete with private insurers has rebounded from its summertime lows and wins clear majority support from the public." While ratings for Obama's handling of health care and the overall reform plans remained roughly the same, the president has regained the support of some Independents. The Fix points out that the poll also contained bad news for Republicans, giving the party low marks for its ability to make good decisions and handing Democrats a 12-point lead on the generic Congressional ballot.

And thus the curious silence of the Obama administration in August makes itself apparent.

He figured to ride out the storm as no one was paying attention, with only the lasting echoes being the outrageous behavior of teabaggers at the "town halls" Congresscritters held.

Once September came along, with its swine flu warnings and seasonal flu warnings and just, well, cold weather forcing people inside to watch the news, Obama and his staff could take to the airwaves to promote the sensible options with respect to healthcare reform.

Let the anger flow, the thinking was. It will peter out and exhaust itself long before anything comes to a vote.

Precisely the right course to take, once it became apparent that Democrats needed time to absorb the astroturfed outcry and realize it wasn't going to translate into votes.

By not doing anything, in other words, Obama won the fight. Sort of. It's not perfect, healthcare reform, but its a start.

Likewise on Afghanistan: now that Karzai has been forced to admit that the election was, well, not on the level, Obama has been given a bit of political cover for his Hamlet-like stance on troop increases. If you can't be sure of the palyers going forward, you can afford to wait the play out until the conscience of the king is known.

Indeed, Karzai's admission opens the door to a more palatable environment into which Obama may introduce more troops than many would like to see there. One wonders how much pressure ol' Hamid there was under from State.

There are other obstacles on the horizon, like the banksta bonuses that are about to be announced from banks and investment houses that just ten months ago were hat-in-hand at Obama's door, asking for a bailout. That one could turn ugly, but the sense I get is that people understand how important it was to bail the banks out and oh, yeah...they won't be angry at Obama, but I'm not sure I'd go out and buy a new car if I was president of JP Morgan Chase right now. it might get keyed pretty badly in the parking lot of the "Stop n Shop".

In addition, through the entire summer, the Republicans reveled in the label "The Party of No," taking to it like a drunk frat brother to a keg.

And now that's coming back to haunt them, as people want...no, need...answers to the economy, to jobs, to healthcare, and to their future.

They called Reagan the Teflon Don President. We need to come up with a moniker that covers a guy who slips in shit and comes up smelling like a rose.