Going into the speech tonight, the President has put himself into a position that is so untennable it's at this point nearly impossible to see how he can get out of it. At this point, there's no doubt that the president will ask for more troops tonight.
That will tick off the left which is now growing ever more impatient with him. It's still yet unclear if he can even sell more troops to get funding but even if he does, it will come at a major price politically. The conservatives will back him but they aren't going to be happy unless he gives McChrystal all the troops he asked for. As such, he will likely please no one with his decision.
At the same time he is selling this, he will also have to maneuver on health care. That's even less popular than an escalation of troops in Afghanistan. On top of this, liberals will already have to swallow more Afghan troops. So, what if there's no public option in health care? Are they really going to swallow that as well? Yet, it seems clear that the bill won't pass in the Senate with the public option. So, what's he to do?
Meanwhile, ACORN is continuing to embarrass him. It's stunning that Holder would come out and say that ACORN would get paid for back contracts. The optics on that look awful. Unemployment is past ten percent. Our deficit is north of $1.5 trillion. His approval rating is in the high 40's and dropping.
Carl Cameron said yesterday that in candor Democratic lawmakers are now targetting Valentine's Day for passing health care reform. The country simply can't take another two months of this. I said yesterday I was sick and tired of the debate and I don't think I'm alone. The approval for the bill is low and dropping and forcing the country to listen to it for another three months will only make it worse. As such, either the president passes nothing or passes something deeply unpopular.
At the same time, he's going to escalate a deeply unpopular war policy. Even if it ultimately works out, it will be a year or more before the public sees progress. In the middle of it all, it doesn't seem as though he can actually get Congressional approval for either let alone both. Already, some of the Democratic leadership have assumed their own role as Commander in Chief. They are making demands for how the war effort will go in order to back funding it. His base is turning on him just at the time he'll have to sell health care reform sans the public option.
Just think about it. Soon, there will be no group all that happy with the president. Conservatives are already in ODS mode. Moderates have been leaving for months. Now, it's the liberals that are beginning to turn and on the two main issues of the day, they're about to be disappointed.
It is all a result of the president totally misreading the mood of the country, the ideological make up of the Congress, and the so called mandate he received in 2008. He's trying to govern as a liberal, at least certainly on domestic issues, in a center right country. The make up of the Congress is center right even though it's more Democrat than Republican. The country didn't want a massive expansion of government and debt.
For him to succeed, he'll have to reinvent himself as a moderate. Health care reform could pass but it would have to be totally transformed into a moderate reform package. To do that, he'll have to show plenty of political acumen and courage. Neither of which he's ever shown in his career. Soon, he'll have no choice. He's created a political dynamic that is almost impossible to stop at this point. That dynamic will lead to huge shifts in 2010. He doesn't have the votes to govern as a liberal now. He certainly won't have them then.
The president is well on his way to becoming the fastest president to reach 30% approval ratings. Nothing is working. Worse yet, he's set himself up to make things even worse. He's about to alienate the left on Afghanistan without really appeasing the right or middle either. Health care is in chaos. The economy is in tatters. Our deficit is enormous, and blaming Bush no longer works. Like I said, the President is F*(ked.
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