The Campaign Spot

Election-driven news and views . . . by Jim Geraghty.

Does a Democrat Quack-Up Make Obama the Lamest Duck?


Over in the last Jolt of the week, a discussion of the House Democrats’ rebellion against Obama’s tax deal:

Earlier in the day at Red State, Dan McLaughlin wondered if Obama was on the verge of becoming “the Lamest Duck“: “The obvious lesson, if the deal collapses, will be that Obama can’t deliver anything — he can be pushed into compromise with GOP priorities, as he wouldn’t before the election, but he can’t bring along his own caucus, which has suffered so many losses for following his lead. Liberals will learn that they are better off striking their own distance from an unpopular and increasingly impotent leader. And heavy liberal opposition to the deal will make it impossible to blame DeMint or Republicans for the collapse, and will encourage conservatives to push for even fewer compromises with Obama in 2011. That calculus of legislative forces will make it hard for Obama to plan for the other leg of the Clinton strategy, a budget battle in which the GOP blinks. Obama can try to use the whole mess to argue that ‘Washington is broken’ and all that, but it’s a hard argument to make from the Rose Garden.”

Dennis the Peasant is left calling the president a genius, sort of: “We await Steve Benen’s (as well as Andrew Sullivan’s) hysterical denunciation of said nihilistic obstructionists in 3, 2, 1 . . . Note: It takes a special sort of political genius to strike the kind of deal that sets in motion the forces that will simultaneously (a) alienate your political base, and (b) tear your political party to pieces.”

Robert Stacy McCain looks over the Democrats fighting the tax cut deal the hardest and finds, “Looking at the list of more than 50 House Democrats who signed the Welch letter, I see several names — including Paul Kanjorski, Jim Oberstar and Alan Grayson — of Democrats who got beat in the mid-term election. Their careers are over and so they’ve got a political free-pass for these lame ducks to take a stand on ‘principle,’ possibly resulting in a no-deal meltdown that results in Americans paying higher taxes next year. And maybe, as Larry Summer warns, pushing the economy into a double-dip recession. Because of hate. Liberals hate rich people, and they don’t care if the rest of us suffer, just so they get to inflict some pain on the rich.”

One of Mickey Kaus’ recurring points is that for a guy who appeared on the national scene and did a Svengali-like job persuading Americans to elect him to the most powerful office in the land, since Obama became president, he’s suddenly turned into the guy who couldn’t persuade Snooki to get into a tanning bed. He gave about a million speeches on health care, and Americans tuned him out after the first thousand. Americans rejected sales pitches for Creigh Deeds, Jon Corzine, Martha Coakley, or a slew of congressional Democrats this year. And now he can’t even persuade Democrats to accept a tax cut for high earners for a few years to avoid a double-dip recession. Then again, this may say more about Congressional Democrats than the guy trying to twist their arms.

Tags: Barack Obama , Congressional Democrats


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