Monday, February 01, 2010

Democratic Finger-Pointing

You know things are getting bad when everyone starts pointing fingers of blame. Stu Rothenberg outlines the various criticisms he's been hearing from Democrats on the Hill about their precarious economic picture for this fall. Some blame Rahm Emanuel. Others blame David Axelrod. And they're not convinced that Dave Plouffe holds the magic wand to make things all better. And they're quite ticked at Nancy Pelosi. However, as Rothenberg points out, Obama is the straw that stirs the drink. The bucks stop there or whatever overused metaphor you prefer.
It’s up to the White House to set the national agenda, and he ought to know when he’s an asset to his party and when he’s becoming a problem for them.

Yes, any president’s priority is enacting his agenda, not re-electing some Democratic Congressman from Alabama. But the White House won’t help its legislative agenda by its arrogance — by telling Members that the president can do no wrong and that it’s their duty to follow the Obama agenda.

That’s especially true if following his agenda means they will have to jump off a cliff this year while the president will have two more years, after November, to save himself politically.
As Fouad Ajami writes today, the Obama spell has been broken and people have come to realize that Obama is not the magical semi-deity who will come to Washington and make everything in the world better. And once the rose-colored glasses have been removed, it's hard to recover that initial fervor.
A historical hallmark of "isms" and charismatic movements is to dig deeper when they falter—to insist that the "thing" itself, whether it be Peronism, or socialism, etc., had not been tried but that the leader had been undone by forces that hemmed him in.

It is true to this history that countless voices on the left now want Obama to be Obama. The economic stimulus, the true believers say, had not gone astray, it only needed to be larger; the popular revolt against ObamaCare would subside if and when a new system was put in place.

There had been that magical moment—the campaign of 2008—and the true believers want to return to it. But reality is merciless. The spell is broken.
At some point people will realize that the fault lies as much at Obama's feet as it does at the feet of his political minions.

UPDATE: And it's not just Stu Rothenberg who is noticing the Democratic in-fighting. Associated Press had an article wondering whether Obama has the chops to elect Democrats.