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Of Obama, Bayh, and the Floundering Democratic Agenda

–bumped–

According to the survey, 51 percent feel their own member of Congress should be re-elected — also an all-time low in CNN polling — while 44 percent say their representative doesn’t deserve to be returned to office in November. – CNN Poll: Anti-incumbent fever at record high

Happy stimulus anniversary! The front page of HuffPo blaring “IT WORKED.”

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Let’s say this bill had started spending money within a matter of weeks and had rapidly helped the economy. Let’s also imagine it was large enough to have had a huge impact on jobs – employing something like two million people who would otherwise be unemployed right now.

If that had happened, what would the economy look like today?

Well, it would look almost exactly as it does now. Because those nice descriptions of the stimulus that I just gave aren’t hypothetical. They are descriptions of the actual bill. …

Tim Kaine is now everywhere talking up the Democrats’ chances in November. It’s a tough job, but he’s paid to do it. But I was particularly entertained seeing him on some cable show, I think it was Rachel Maddow’s, talking about the mistakes in Massachusetts, where the DNC basically nodded off, letting it unwind until it was too late. That’s not to say they could have saved Martha Coakley, but if Democrats are going to blame her for going on vacation it seems that the DNC and others, including Obama, have to take the blame for being AWOL. It reminds me of all the caterwauling by leftists over Bill Clinton’s failures to build the party back in the 1990s. Can’t wait to hear what these usual anti Clinton suspects have to say if the hit in November manifests like predicted, though I’m still hoping Dems will get a reprieve, though they certainly don’t deserve it. But looking at Republicans and their Tea Party political relatives it’s not like that side is inspiring either. So, I’m not too sure why “throw the bums out” will result in anything better, though having a spine and a direction would help, something the Obama Democratic Party definitely does not have at this point.

From Dan Baltz:

The test will begin next week, at a televised, bipartisan health-care summit. Afterward, the president will have to decide whether to try to pass an altered bill with some Republican support or use a legislative procedure that could allow Democrats to pass a bill with just 51 votes.

White House officials said Tuesday that the president will continue to reach out to Republicans, with the health-care summit the next important moment. Communications director Dan Pfeiffer said that after the meeting, administration officials will gauge the possibility of bipartisan compromise. “The president is coming to the meeting with open mind and hopes Republicans do too,” he said.

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The whole Evan Bayh affair should remind everyone of just how ridiculous all the gnashing of teeth about Washington is right now. Since Bayh announced his retirement, it’s been so amusing to hear Democrats whining about the partisanship in Congress, with Joe Scarborough particularly hilarious, often aided by his new sidekick Mark Halperin. It’s not the partisanship that’s the problem it’s that we have too many Evan Bayh’s in Congress, as well as the oval office; people who won’t go down fighting. Mind you, this has nothing whatsoever to do with ideological purity, which I could care less about if these politicians could find a spine and stand for something. Bayh’s ducking and running proof that his own ego couldn’t be quenched enough, so instead of leading a charge in the direction he believed, he turned and squealed, but at least he also left Republicans in a stew. The nuclear plant move yesterday is one of the first signs, beyond Afghanistan, that Obama’s willing to actually do something without cover from Congress. But considering it’s another ode to his business interests (as well as Axelrod’s old ties) that go way back, it’s nothing especially noteworthy when you look closely.

Obama’s numbers in the CNN poll aren’t good either and they’d hardly matter right now, except Pres. Obama’s “leadership” style is the biggest issue. It’s not like the stimulus was a choice and just imagine if it had been the size progressive economists advised. At what point does Obama actually make clear his agenda? Regardless, Obama’s got plenty of time to improve, with the Republican he’ll face in 2012 still having to get over the Republican brand issue, which is actually worse than Democrats right now.

It looks to me like Pres. Obama isn’t all that worried about November, because he can easily work with more Republicans in Congress, which will make his job a bit easier. He won’t have to feign interest in those nasty Democratic populists, because he’ll have too many Republicans to appease. The reality is that Pres. Obama is actually more of a moderate Republican than a Democrat, a charge Bill Clinton had to endure after Alan Greenspan opined that he “was the best Republican President we’ve had in a while.” Considering the economy, in spite of Joe Biden’s valiant rhetorical efforts, this will not be said of Obama any time soon, but let’s not kid ourselves into thinking today is remotely the same as the Clinton era. But as to Congress and the 2010 elections, I don’t think Barack Obama much cares. He’s very cold in that respect. Working with Republicans, he’ll not only look bipartisan again, like the old Obama of campaign 2008 days, but this would fit nicely into his basic political temperament, with ideological angst something over which he’s never been tempted to succumb.

This post has been updated.

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