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Obama dismisses Blanche Lincoln's plea to be more centrist

President Obama’s sharp exchange of views with House Republicans made a splash the other day -- though for civility and substance, I much preferred the excellent left-meets-right encounter between Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) and our very own wunderkind Ezra Klein.

In any case, for those seeking a true measure of Obama’s judgment, on both policy and politics, the meeting between the president and Senate Democrats yesterday was much more instructive. Obama’s words made it clear that, notwithstanding his party’s recent election losses at the polls and its declining poll ratings, he has no intention of embarking on a Bill Clinton-style “triangulation” strategy.

The pivotal moment came when Sen. Blanche Lincoln of deep-red Arkansas, a centrist who’s on her way to defeat in November, practically begged the president to repudiate “extreme” liberals -- a clear reference to the Nancy Pelosi-led House -- and tack to the center. Arguing that the Democrats’ ambitious legislative agenda was sowing job-destroying “uncertainty” in the business community, she asked: “Are we willing as Democrats to push back on our own party?”

Obama’s reply, in a nutshell: Sorry, Blanche.

If the price of certainty is essentially for us to adopt the exact same proposals that were in place for eight years leading up to the biggest economic crisis since the Great Depression -- we don’t tinker with health care, let the insurance companies do what they want, we don’t put in place any insurance reforms, we don’t mess with the banks, let them keep on doing what they’re doing now because we don’t want to stir up Wall Street -- the result is going to be the same. I don’t know why we would expect a different outcome pursuing the exact same policy that got us into this fix in the first place.

But the president is not only against a centrist shift on policy grounds; he also thinks it is a political loser:

If our response ends up being, you know, because we don’t want to -- we don’t want to stir things up here, we’re just going to do the same thing that was being done before, then I don’t know what differentiates us from the other guys. And I don’t know why people would say, boy, we really want to make sure that those Democrats are in Washington fighting for us.

Two things struck me as extraordinary about Obama’s reply.

The first was the ease with which he cast Lincoln’s plea for a bit more centrism as a call for a return to Bushism -- the “exact same proposals that were in place for the last eight years.” That’s not what she was advocating; it’s not what any Democrat who’s questioning his approach is advocating. But the president set up this strawman, and he pummeled it, rather than engaging Lincoln’s valid concerns.

The second striking thing was how easily he appeared to write off Lincoln politically. Conceding nothing, he implied that her defeat was not only a foregone conclusion, but also an acceptable price to pay for staying the course on policy. To be sure, maybe the whole thing was just kabuki -- Lincoln standing up to the president for the benefit of the folks back home who don’t like him, and Obama obligingly playing his part. But it sure looked pretty spontaneous to me.

The Lincoln-Obama debate epitomized the left-vs.-center debate within the Democratic Party these days, which is much broader than health care, even though it is necessarily focused on that for the moment. The question is whether the party should cut its losses on comprehensive health reform, or keep pursuing it despite the political headwinds, on the grounds that even an initially unpopular bill would be easier to defend than no bill at all.
David Plouffe, back in the White House to direct post-Massachusetts political operations, favors nailing the party’s colors to the health-care mast. He wrote recently in the Post that “if we do not pass it, the GOP will continue attacking the plan as if we did anyway, and voters will have no ability to measure its upside. If we do pass it, dozens of protections and benefits take effect this year.”

Obama’s answer to Lincoln suggests that he fully embraces the Plouffe strategy. I don’t understand it. Independently of what anyone might think of the health-care bill’s merits, the public’s attitude is hardening against it; it is politically toxic, period. If Virginia and New Jersey didn’t prove that, Massachusetts did. And November could prove it again. If the Dems tip-toe away from health care now, it would be embarrassing, but they would at least give the electorate time to forget the issue and focus on the Democrats’ other accomplishments -- if they can come up with some between now and November.

Still, give the president credit: No one can accuse him of bending his principles to politics. Of course, if there’s a price to be paid for that this year, he won’t be the one paying it. Blanche Lincoln, among others, will get to do that.

By Charles Lane  | February 4, 2010; 1:47 PM ET
Categories:  Lane  | Tags:  Charles Lane  
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Comments

Lane repeats right-wing talking points with
the ease of a shill. First, there is no indication the "uncertainty" is what is
keeping unemployment high--rather, it is the sad certainty of high unemployment which is
keeping businesses from expanding. What should obviously happen is a large jobs bill but Senators like Blanche will never support that.

Second, Obama did not put down a straw man. If the Democrats return to the "center" (which is really a front for the continued accumlation of wealth in the hands of a few),
the status quo (banks, health care, taxes) remains. These are the Bush policies.

Third, health care is like civil rights--I'm sure Lane would have been counselling against LBJ pushing those bills because it would, in LBJ's words, lose the South for the Democrats for a generation (now going on two). Yet America is a better country. Lane has health insurance so he's indifferent to those who don't, just as most Americans weren't all that concerned with rights for African-Americans because they themselves were not black.

Actually, I can think of a way the Democrats can move back to the center. Just pass legislation without being concerned about paying for it, such as the Republicans prescription drug program. That increase the 75 year shortfall in Medicare from 18 trillion to 27 trillion.

Posted by: garbage1 | February 4, 2010 2:43 PM | Report abuse

The problem with the Democrats is from the beginning they have tilted to the center, they forgot who put them in the white house.
The health care bill is republican bill the GOP is not voting for it.

Posted by: tqmek1 | February 4, 2010 3:20 PM | Report abuse

Ironically it was "centrists" like Lincoln, Nelson, Lieberman, etc that really caused this to be bigger than it shoud have been. Poll after poll back in the summer and fall showed people in their states supported Healthcae reform, yet they slowed the process and essentially appeared to be bought off. That is what the American people saw last, the Dems negoitiating with themselves to get 60 votes. Why, because Democrats were threatening to side with Republicans in keeping the status quo. Obama is right, keeping the status quo is not why the Dems were elected.

Posted by: jjj141 | February 4, 2010 3:21 PM | Report abuse

Dems are traitors!

Posted by: mary3211 | February 4, 2010 3:26 PM | Report abuse

First, this is the best news I have heard in a while -- Blanche Lincoln headed for certain defeat. It is long overdue.
Second, Charles Lane's defense of Lincoln is exactly the sort of predictable, third rate punditry that has reduced the Post to the equivalent of a weekend shopper insert, and is why the paper loses subscribers by the hundreds weekly.
Third, does the Post really think that people will pay for internet access to this?

Posted by: joduncan | February 4, 2010 3:32 PM | Report abuse

A couple of things strike me as extraordinary about your commentary, Mr. Lane:

Your assumption that Sen. Lincoln's concerns are valid. I'd say you need to establish that, not take it as a given merely because it agrees with your own political prejudices.

Your assumtion that moving even more to the right would be "centrism". There isn't much particularly "leftist" about the Obama admin, and it -- and Congress -- has already compromised quite extensively with the "centrists". Going even further to the right isn't necessarily "centrism" -- even though it would suit your political purposes to label it as such.

Finally, your implication that resistance to HCR is just about it being too "leftist" is empirically not true. A lot of the antipathy towards HCR is based on it not going far enough. Pretending otherwise is simply dishonest.

Posted by: sembtex | February 4, 2010 3:33 PM | Report abuse

Without the teleprompter Obama speaks at a 5th grade level.

"If our response ends up being, you know, because we don’t want to -- we don’t want to stir things up here, we’re just going to do the same thing that was being done before, then I don’t know what differentiates us from the other guys. And I don’t know why people would say, boy, we really want to make sure that those Democrats are in Washington fighting for us."

Posted by: Pembroke60 | February 4, 2010 3:33 PM | Report abuse

The "center" is not for the status quo. The "center" is for survival, which in this case means change. There will be no shift back toward the right anytime soon, no matter how often hacks such as yourself mis-label it as the "center."

Posted by: fzdybel | February 4, 2010 3:36 PM | Report abuse

Get it straight, Lane. Obama wasn't dodging the middle. Lincoln is running right. She supports Murkowski from Alaska to keep the EPA out of emissions levels. And the others support right-leaning issues. It's not up to Obama to support Dems. that go against the grain. They need to get with the program.

Posted by: jckdoors | February 4, 2010 3:39 PM | Report abuse

Lincoln's versions of "centrist" and "far-left" are very much as the Republicans have preferred to recast them in the past 20 years. In pre-Reagan days, today's "centrist" positions would have been considered pretty conservative, maybe even pushing toward far-right. What Lincoln is labeling "far-left" and apparently getting away with at least in her own state is actually lukewarm moderate progressive, edging toward centrist. Glad Obama didn't let her shift the burden this time.

Posted by: noble-books | February 4, 2010 3:43 PM | Report abuse

Obama is very centrist. For him to say why would any body pursue policies which failed in the past is common sense. It shows leadership on his part to call as he sees it.

Lincoln should be strong and fight with facts. The Republican were given surplus and turned into a major fiasco. This is no time to back down. She should work and not stop and bring out all the facts to the people.

Posted by: ak1967 | February 4, 2010 3:50 PM | Report abuse

Pembroke60: If Obama speaks without a telepromter like a fifth grader, where would you rate your hero, George W Bush?

And by the way: you forgot a comma after a prepositional phrase.

Posted by: sr31 | February 4, 2010 3:50 PM | Report abuse

Pretty soon, I hope the Obama speechwriters start to realize that the "failed policies of the last 8 years" is starting to contain more and more of the Obama presidency....

Posted by: JerWH | February 4, 2010 3:57 PM | Report abuse

If Obama speaks at "a fifth-grade level", I can't imagine how you'd characterize the simpleton who said "where wings take dream", "put food on your family", encouraged women to let gynecologists "practice their love" and identified "storm clouds on the horizon" that were at the same time "directly overhead".

Tough crowd.

Posted by: marknesop | February 4, 2010 3:57 PM | Report abuse

jjj141-

You hit the bullseye.

Posted by: priceisright | February 4, 2010 3:58 PM | Report abuse

The Center is where the country is.
Only an idiot would tack to the Left.
Oh well, the price will get paid in November I guess.

Posted by: websterr1 | February 4, 2010 4:02 PM | Report abuse

Garbage1 claims Lane is repeating Repub talking points and then provides a list of Dem talking points. According to the libs, Obama, Frank, Pelosi, Reid, Dodd, Conrad, Rangel, Schumer, Gheitner, Bernanke, and all other leading dems had zero accountability from 2000-2008 even though they have controlled congress and the legislative agenda for the past 3 years. In fact, they claim no responsibility for the past year. No wonder leadership is not part of their vocabulary and they find it so easy to lay the blame elsewhere.

BTW, when Dems took control of congress in Jan '07, their priority wasn't bank reform, financial product reform, housing, energy, financial leverage, etc. Their priority was investigating Roger Clemons and they put it on TV so you could see where their priorities were. Please tell me again how concerned they were about the middle class! Enjoy your Kool-aid.

Posted by: Tostitos | February 4, 2010 4:07 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Lane is dead wrong about health care reforms. Plenty of voters want health care reform (see the polls on this issue) and talk to your house representatives. The House has passed health care reform legislation. It is the Senate that opposes health care reform.

Obama was elected in a landslide, and health care reform was offered to voters. Politically it is difficult to move Congress, but a few mid-term elections might register some "the times are changin" with recalitrant elected officials.

We the people have the back of Obama.

Posted by: rmorris391 | February 4, 2010 4:09 PM | Report abuse

Lane’s post makes absolutely no sense.

It assumes that being “centrist” is a virtue, that there are always meaningful “bipartisan” agreements available, and that Obama’s problem is that he has been insufficiently “centrist” and has overlooked opportunities for bipartisan agreement. Blanche Lincoln would like nothing better than to kick big problems down the road, take incremental, school uniform-type actions, and face reelection having obscured the difference between the parties as much as possible. Lane celebrates this approach. Typical Washington pundit split-the-difference-ism. Also known as High Broderism.

Here is the situation. There is a policy chasm between the two parties as wide as an ocean. Obama has tried repeatedly to reach across that chasm. The Republicans, by and large, have shown no interest, seeing it in their political advantage to oppose everything that the Dems propose. Our country faces huge problems on a number of fronts. Are we going to seriously confront those problems? The stimulus was absolutely necessary and was watered down with unstimulative tax cuts in a vain (other than Snowe, Collins and Specter) attempt to attract Republican support. Health care reform was campaign promise #1 for most Dems in 2008. They ended up passing bills that, yes, involve government more in the health care arena but also rely heavily on the private market (insurance exchanges, etc). And most importantly, they actually attempt to solve the problem. They are deficit-neutral. And they closely resemble the proposals of Republicans in 1993-94 and the proposals of Dole, Frist and Daschle last year. As centrist a proposal as you could come with and actually attempt to solve the problem. Again, no Republican support (other than Cao from LA).

A telling recent example of the Republican approach. Most Republicans backed the Conrad-Gregg deficit commission idea. Mitch McConnell said last spring that it was a good and very important idea. A couple of weeks ago, Obama endorsed it. Then it came up for a vote and 8 Republican co-sponsors dropped off and didn’t vote for it.

What Lane and much of the Beltway punditry fail to understand is this. There is one “grown up” political party in this country right now, and it is the Democratic Party. The Republican Party is by-and-large more interested in playing politics and pursuing cockamamie right-wing policy ideas that would make conservatives from a generation ago blush. They peddle fear at every turn, and unfortunately they are finding a receptive audience in today’s recession-battered, terrorized, fact-challenged America. There is no compromise with such a party, at least none that will serve America's interest.

Posted by: cgw1 | February 4, 2010 4:12 PM | Report abuse

Yes, and if the Democrats do lose control of the House and Senate in November...what? Congressional Democrats no longer get to be first in line in the congressional cafeteria?

Even with a supposedly filibuster-proof Senate, Democrats were not able to muster enough support to get their agenda passed. Hand off the Congress to Republicans (a la 1994), and you almost guarantee Barack Obama a second term in 2012 (a la Bill Clinton in 1996).

Congress plays defense in Washington, the White House plays offense. You can't get an agenda through without holding onto the White House, so if Democrats truly want to get their big ideas through, it's more important to ensure a Democratic victory in 2012 than trying to keep every vulnerable congressional seat in Democratic hands this November.

Blanche Lincoln and others like her have to decide what they're for. Instead of criticizing President Obama, why doesn't she see how far her ideas go with the rest of the country. Why isn't she sponsoring key legislation on major issues? How far is President Obama supposed to go to jeopardize his liberal/progressive base at the expense of yielding to congressional centrists?

Ronald Reagan is the only president since FDR to have won two consecutive terms and then handed the presidency to a successor of his own party. He, like FDR before him, did not govern as a centrist president. Rather, Reagan tacked to the right and allowed Bob Dole and Bob Michael to play the centrist role in Congress.

President Obama, if he wishes to starting moving the country in a leftward direction, needs to ensure that he's a two-term president, AND that he hands the presidency over to a Democratic successor. Congress only plays defense in Washington politics. The White House is the one that moves the agenda up and down the field.

Posted by: sthomas1957 | February 4, 2010 4:13 PM | Report abuse

maybe obama is thinking that he takes his punches this upcoming November, and watches a number of Dem senators go down the drain: Lincoln in ARK; uncle harry in vegas; the new Dem candidate in Illinois; and a few others. but then, as if by miracle, obama comes up swimming even stronger in 2012. or it could just be his principles. i will not sacrifice my principles to political favoritism, is possibly his thinking. either way, things are not looking too good for lots of Dems come november. even boxer in CA could get her clock knocked off kilter, if not KO'd.

Posted by: RoguesPalace | February 4, 2010 4:17 PM | Report abuse

If I were Mitch McConnell -- and thank heaven that I'm not! -- my favorite senators right now would be Max Baucus and Joe Lieberman. In their effort to show how "wise" and "important" they were, they slowed down the health care legislative process, giving opponents time to organize, and also lent their own voices to the chorus of those saying it might be too radical. Baucus, Lieberman, et.al, did indeed show how important they were -- by being the ones who destroyed their own party's attempt to reach a long-cherished goal at the moment when it was finally possible to reach it.

In fact, it would have passed the Senate in time to be reconciled with the House version. Personally I wish that had happened. But I suspect that Plouffe is correct. Democrats are going to be targets over this anyway; they may as well have it in place. I don't think it will happen, though. They DO care about the terrible job market, and are too busy running to keep their own jobs to actually perform those jobs. It is difficult to respect those of them who sold out.

I think this matter also relates to the selling out of John McCain, referred to in another Post article and blog today. We are witnessing the results of too many people who think they are entitled to be in office, and who are selling out politically in order to keep their positions in these troubled times. I understand the realistic need to position oneself as a candidate, but it's not necessary to make such wholesale shifts as we have seen here.

Posted by: j24w | February 4, 2010 4:18 PM | Report abuse

Where exactly is "the center"? Is it whatever appeals to the GOP? And as "the center" keeps moving right, all the parties go chasing it? Sounds like a recipe for a political culture of no ideas at all.

Posted by: Matthew_DC | February 4, 2010 4:29 PM | Report abuse

If she did her job better, the state would not be filled with food stamps scrapers so ignorant (bottom five educated states are where and vote for whom?) they vote for the monied interests (GOP). They support the GOP idea of no socialism, cut them off and then look at the next election.

Posted by: jameschirico | February 4, 2010 4:40 PM | Report abuse

Lane's commentary assumes that Obama was invoking a political straw man. But was it that, or was he attempting to force Lincoln and the House GOP to stop adopting political poses into a true, substantial debate?

One could say that our entire debate in DC is not left versus right versus center; but of "substance versus image" overlapping with a corollary debate of "service versus selfishness". Perhaps Obama is trying to force a debate over "substance in service to Americans"; rather than "substance in service to ideology" or "image instead of substance on anything".

My take is that Lincoln and most centrists are focused dominantly on image, while the "left" and "right" are more worried about service to their ideology than service to their country. That is why Americans of all political stripes are disgusted with our Congress!

The Chinese have a saying. "It is more important that a cat catch mice than if it is black or white". Perhaps we buy Chinese goods on our shelves because the American populace is more interested in whether the cat is black or white.

Posted by: CraigCooper | February 4, 2010 4:47 PM | Report abuse

Attention, Mr. Lane, what we have in the House and Senate is a centrist healthcare bill. No single payer, no public option. The Democrats moved to the center to get the votes of people like, um, Blanche Lincoln, in case you weren't paying attention.

Given that, so far, we've had one, count 'em, one Republican vote for either the House or Senate versions of the healthcare bill, which didn't include single payer or public options, it's a little hard to envision what the Democrats would have to offer to get a Republican to vote for it.

Perhaps you forgot the vote on the bipartisan debt reduction panel? You know, the one supported by seven Republicans who then voted against it?

How about John McCain, saying he would listen to the generals when it came to Don't Ask, Don't Tell being removed. Then the generals and admirals speak and he says he's against it. He follows up by saying, Why should I change my mind when Colin Powell hasn't? One day before Colin Powell changed his mind.

A little, three word suggestion for you, Charles: Get. A. Clue.

Posted by: baltova1 | February 4, 2010 5:03 PM | Report abuse

"The problem with the Democrats is from the beginning they have tilted to the center, they forgot who put them in the white house."

**************

Like every candidate since the parties were emasculated by Progressive forces in favor of Corporatist forces, THEY WERE PUT IN OFFICE BY INDEPENDENTS. The sycophants that constitute "true believers" on either side falsly flatter themselves if they think that their 1/4-1/3 of the electorate puts anyone in office (Chicago has typically been excepted but even that appears doubtful this fall), in the contemporary political environment.

Posted by: UncomfortableTruths | February 4, 2010 5:03 PM | Report abuse

Arkansas is at the bottom of the barrel. I have family members there. They are ignorant to facts....It is so easy to suave them with words...not facts!....but words

BLANCE LINCOLN AND EVAN BAYH SHOULD NOT GET ONE LIBERAL/PROGRESSIVE VOTE....THEY CAN'T WIN WITH JUST THE INDEPENDENT VOTE...

BOTH LOOK LIKE THEY BELONG WITH MICHELLE BAUHMAN AND JOHN BOEHNER....

DO NOT VOTE FOR BLUE DOGS!!!!!!!

RAHM EMMANUEL HAD NO RIGHT TRYING TO CHANGE OUR PARTY THE WAY HE SEES FIT!

OBAMA NEEDS TO GET RID OF THIS DUDE....

Posted by: dove369 | February 4, 2010 5:17 PM | Report abuse

If Virginia and New Jersey didn’t prove that, Massachusetts did. And November could prove it again.
------------------------------------------
Did it ever occur to you that New Jersey, and Massachusetts happened because Dems and Independents were tired of the "do nothing" Congress and wanted change. Perhaps, just perhaps had they moved faster on Health Care Reform NJ and Mass may not have resulted in losses for the Dems? VA is a different story, they go with the wind (and by the way the best candidate) more likely a Republican unless an outstanding Dem emerges...hence Obama.

Posted by: Beingsensible | February 4, 2010 5:19 PM | Report abuse

Dear Leader is throwing them under the bus again.

He's on a super-ego trip to end all super-ego trips.

He want his fellow Dems to follow him off the cliff.

Many will.

Posted by: battleground51 | February 4, 2010 5:21 PM | Report abuse

Without the teleprompter Obama speaks at a 5th grade level.
------------------------------------------

And sadly even when speaking at a 5th grade level Rethuglicans don't understand much of what he's saying. Case in point, at the Rethuglican summit last week President Obama went in there--one man against 150 and he left dead bodies in his path out. What was the Rethuglican response..."maybe it wasn't a good idea to allow media in the room", LOL...And what did Fix Noise do...cut to commentary while all of the other major news organizations showed "their parties" summit live. Rethuglicans = a bunch of dumb a.s.ses who can't intellectually understand a single word that comes from the President's mouth and so they claim he's unintelligent, LMAO!!!

Posted by: Beingsensible | February 4, 2010 5:28 PM | Report abuse

Just to judge from the comments here, a lot of your readers, perhaps a majority, must be government employees with a vested interest in Obama and the Democratic Party. Everybody else is suffering, but the federal payroll continues to grow as do pay and benefits for this non-productive part of the economy. Obama says he's not an ideologue, but only an ideologue would ignore the rapids straight ahead that will lead to the breakup of his party.

Posted by: Banjo1 | February 4, 2010 5:30 PM | Report abuse

If Obama thinks being the anti-Bush is responsible politics, then Obama is more delusional and incompetent than I thought.

The failure to cut taxes, and in fact raise taxes, raise consumer costs, and throw uncertainty into health care and energy when we have a uniquely dangerous recession (yes, still dangerous as in Depression dangerous) on our hands.

Posted by: hz9604 | February 4, 2010 5:31 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Lane, this is the funniest thing I have read in the Post in 2010. Gene Weingarten should feel threatened.

Do you do humor on other topics, or just on Blanche Lincoln?

Posted by: lowercaselarry | February 4, 2010 5:32 PM | Report abuse

rmorris391 is an idiot (presumably a Republican--aren't the terms synonymous?).
He claims:

Garbage1 claims Lane is repeating Repub talking points and then provides a list of Dem talking points.

My first "talking point" has to do with why
business aren't hiring. Lincoln claims (and is quoted approvingly by Lane) that business "uncertainty" about government policies is the cause of unemployment. In fact, every poll of business owners indicates that it is the high unemployment that is perpetuating high unemployment, just like in the Depression. Obviously, the key is getting more people employed more quickly and that means government action. I don't see how this is a Dem talking point because the obvious comment is that the first stimulus wasn't enough. That clearly is an indication
that the Obama administration made an error.

As for the other two "points", most commenters have noted that Lincoln is not after the center but after the right. So Obama was exactly correct to note that the center is where the Democrats are--that the idiotic policies of the last 8 years have
set back this nation by a generation. And as
far as health care being like civil rights, that is an obvious analogy--most of the people who will be helped will be those without insurance (in civil right, the blacks), but in the long run those with insurance will be better off also (due to decreasing costs). In civil rights, blacks were the immediate beneficiary but whites arguably benefitted more in the long run (look at Israel if you want to see the opprobrium placed on a nation viewed as an oppressor).

Posted by: garbage1 | February 4, 2010 5:37 PM | Report abuse

News Flash in case you weren't around in November 2008... Folks like myself didn't go to the polls and place a vote for Obama so that he would be "centrist," whatever that is. If the center is way off target, why would we want him to go there? My biggest problem with Democratic politicians is that they too often act like Republican politicians. Centrist won't curb environmental destruction gone wild. At least it hasn't in the past 150 years. Centrist won't stop the US from its next imperialistic war (or should I say covert nation building exercise). Centrist ensures the rich get what they want, and the people get the scraps. Centrist won't kick the fossil fuel addiction. Health Care Reform is just a thing to distract you. Health care better be affordable. The environment we live in has become toxic. The food that the centrist super-market puts on its shelf is toxic. We've got politicians making people in other countries so angry that they're trying to blow everyone up. We have soldiers returning home for horrible and unnecessary wars, trying to shoot us. We've got doctors who are glorified drug dealers. They gotta keep the working class alive somehow, so health care better be affordable. And we have a society that is essentially oblivious to anything that goes on outside the boob tube. How is centrist going to do anything about that? I'm gonna write the prez a letter, and tell him to ignore the "centrist" nothing talk and get busy. Your centristness looks extreme from this perspective.

Posted by: halifar59 | February 4, 2010 5:38 PM | Report abuse

The reason why "Ms. Blanch" is heading for defeat is because she is corrupt and she has lost touch with her supporters who, unlike those inside the "beltway", have to get up every morning & go to a "real job" in order to put food on the table.

She "sits" on finance & agriculture, takes campaign contributions from the banking, insurance and credit card lobby; then she turns around & votes to change bankruptcy laws making it harder for her supporters to get out of debt and then votes against the "public" health care option.

Her family owns crop land in Arkansas, yet she never rescues herself from votes on the Agriculture Committee, a conflict of interest.

"Ms. Blanch" would do well to announce her retirement so an up & coming Democrat can take her seat.

Otherwise, the Republicans could run and elect a "yellow dog"!

Posted by: mikeconville | February 4, 2010 5:46 PM | Report abuse

The Center is where the country is.

==========

The country is watching Jersey Shores, Professional Wrestling, thinks Joan of Arc was Noah's wife and "God helps those who help themselves" is in the Bible.

The head of the Tea Party [Paul Barret] says that 99% of the American people are idiots and he thinks if the US were to abolish the Federal Reserve that Americans wouldn't need to pay income taxes any longer ... He has 6 million believers.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hxNva1l4FNI

Posted by: James10 | February 4, 2010 5:53 PM | Report abuse

President Obama always uses the strawman tactic. It works in the short term and deflect attention off the real issue. He did this with Lincoln and the Republicans last week. The long term problem with that tactic is that it does not settle the issue and it does not sell his ideas. That is why people perceive him as a great orator and great on his feet, but he still cannot get his message across. For those who actually listen to the questions and his tactic of setting up strawmen to answer a different questions, it's frustrating. To his supporters, it should be troubling because he is only amusing those already converted and not persuading people on his larger point.

Posted by: Arlingtonguy | February 4, 2010 6:06 PM | Report abuse

Well, as an "extreme" liberal, I'd like to see the Democrats stand for something and the Blanche Lincolns aren't helping. The Republicans aren't going to cooperate no matter what is conceded to them. They seem to be doing just fine with their attacks on our President and dragging their feet on anything that will affect this country and its people positively. I wonder if all the tea baggers know the Republicans would like to take away their Social Security AND Medicare.

Posted by: MNUSA | February 4, 2010 6:17 PM | Report abuse

i'm an arkansan, and i agree with some of the other comments posted here to the effect that obama is right. i'm sick and tired of the me-too, scared stiff of limbaugh and beck mollycoddles who are scared witless that someone might confuse them with statemen. either stand for something or get the hell out. that includes you too, miss blanche!

Posted by: jimfilyaw | February 4, 2010 6:37 PM | Report abuse

Well, it seems that the White House staff is out in force today.

Blanche Lincoln is exactly right as to what is happening. People did vote for change in 2008, the problem is they didn't pay attention to what the change would be. Obama and the Democratic Party were able to convince that Republicans were responsible for the bad economic problems that existed. The media was a willing accomplice in promoting Obama, never really asking tough questions about his past and his leftist associations.

The Deomcrats rightly complained about the deficits run up under Bush. Now in power, they spend at rates that make Bush look like a fiscal conservative. Americans don't want this. This is why Scott Brown won in MA, a state no Republican should ever win.

The Democrats placed Pelosi and Reid, two of the most extreme leftist, in charge. They left no room for comprimise.

Obama is in a no win situation. Change course, and he's a flip flopping, indecisive failure. People will question why he wasted a year on healthcare in a financial crisis. Stay the course, and he's certain to lose the super majority he's been given in both houses. He's headed towards a one term Presidency in either case.

Posted by: jimbo561 | February 4, 2010 7:09 PM | Report abuse

Hey Blanche, while your going under the Bus, for "The One".

Just Remember "Yes We Can"

Posted by: dashriprock | February 4, 2010 7:19 PM | Report abuse

Obama is tone deaf, and will take what is left of the democratic party down with him. It is either "Obama's way or the highway." Problem is, Obama does not have a map, and has no idea what highway he is on!

But folks, there are "DANGER" signs everywhere now!!

Posted by: wheeljc | February 4, 2010 7:25 PM | Report abuse

OBAMA--PATHOLOGICAL NARCISSIST
a PREDICTIVE Profile of what obama will do

Obama's Presidency is in free fall FAILURE.

When a Republican even had a CHANCE in Massachusetts-- the verdict is in on the Obama Administration.

Team Obama was voted off the island by angry Americans fed up with the stimulus waste, cap and trade, obama's incessant asinine attacks on capitalism as he kills jobs, obamacare and most importantly 10% unemployment.

A failed embittered Presidency can be extremely dangerous--
so a profile of Obama's like FUTURE actions is critical.

In his monumental work "Hitler and Stalin" Alan Bullock notes both Hitler and Stalin were narcissists. ProCounsel is NOT stating Obama is either Hitler or Stalin. But his analysis, written long before Obama's ascendancy, is a useful model.

Bullock explains narcissism on page 11:

"In such a state only the person himself, his needs,feelings and thoughts, everything and and everybody as they relate to him are experienced as fully real, while everybody and everything otherwise lacks reality or interest."

Bullock describes the effects of narcissism and provides a predictive model useful for Obama on page 343:

"Narcissistic personalities are convinced of their special qualities and their superiority over others, and any threat to this self image--such as being criticized, shown up, or defeated--produces a violent outrage and often a desire for revenge."

Bullock cites 3 psychological reactions Stalin used to guard his narcissistic self image. Bullock credits Robert Tucker for these insights on page 356. The 3 reactions to expect for the Obama profile would be:

1. Repression–simply blankly deny the truth, no matter how obvious or even if caught on video

2. Rationalization-Admit but use the fault as proof of his zeal

3. Projection-Obama will attribute to others the motives and attitudes he refuses to admit in himself

Ironically, per the Profile Dems in the House and Senate will be in much more danger from a wounded irrelevant White House than the Republicans, as Obama will deem the Dems unworthy of him--THEY failed NOT him.

Don't believe the profile??

Just go back and review Obama's response to the Detroit airplane bombing. Obama went through all 3 stages above and that analysis is especially instructive as Obama was naked--without senior staff.

Posted by: ProCounsel | February 4, 2010 7:26 PM | Report abuse

This rightwing birdcage liner formerly known as the Post drives an educated person crazy anymore. We're tired of hearing the Post repeat the myth that the Scott Brown election was some kind of signal from the electorate that they want a shift to the right. There is simply NO DATA to substantiate that claim.

Massachusetts sent to Congress someone who voted FOR government-facilitated universal health care in Mass., and he has said that he stands by the vote. The people there - including BROWN'S OWN VOTERS are HAPPY with their state run health insurance program, and they also do NOT want Brown advancing the Republican's agenda (if they even have one) on health care.

Meanwhile, not only Massachusetts but the entire country is CALLING FOR A PUBLIC OPTION. Poll after poll finds that somewhere between 60 and 77% of people WANT one to rein in health care costs from an out-of-control private system that enjoys a crazy antitrust exemption from the Congress than they own.

Google it yourself people! "public option" and "polls". Here's the latest, and it's a doozy. In ten swing districts, where supposedly these conservative dems are trembling at the prospect of going too far to the "left", EVEN THE REPUBLICANS want a public option.

http://fdlaction.firedoglake.com/2010/01/26/51-of-self-identified-republicans-in-swing-districts-favor-a-public-option/

This is crazy. Is ALL of our media, in addition to Congress, really this bought and paid for by Aetna, Cigan and Blue Cross??? It's like Alice in Wonderland here, and America has been flushed down the media's rabbit hole. We've become the United States of AetnaEtAl, I guess.

Posted by: B2O2 | February 4, 2010 7:39 PM | Report abuse

Meanwhile, the UK is having inquiries over the lies Tony Blair shoved down England's throat to get them into the Iraq war - the one Lane and his neocon buddies shoved down Americans' throats from 2001 to 2003.

TOTAL BLACKOUT AT THE POST. Of course they aren't covering it. If they did people here might get the crazy idea that our politicians (and punditry) should be accountable for the genocidal lies they tell. The Post was so complicit in it that you can guarantee they will be nowhere near this story. But here it is, happening in the UK:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/politics/8493645.stm

Posted by: B2O2 | February 4, 2010 7:51 PM | Report abuse

Welcome to the American Patriots Blanche, the Obama Red Coat never really looked that good on you anyway.
It doesn't look good on anyone trying to rob the people to grow Government.

I suppose that is why preppers are going ahead to move up the inevitable depression on their time scheduale
Instead of letting Obama rob the Gold and hoarded life out of them first, they will refuse to support anything Obama, until Congress is forced to place Biden.

X Democrats are filing Quo Warrants in lines in every State, to get to the illegally hidden history by a Public Offical.


You are right Blanche and Obama is wrong.
He has never met a payroll.

Posted by: dottydo | February 4, 2010 7:55 PM | Report abuse

Welcome to the American Patriots Blanche, the Obama Red Coat never really looked that good on you anyway.
It doesn't look good on anyone trying to rob the people to grow Government.

I suppose that is why preppers are going ahead to move up the inevitable depression on their time scheduale
Instead of letting Obama rob the Gold and hoarded life out of them first, they will refuse to support anything Obama, until Congress is forced to place Biden.

X Democrats are filing Quo Warrants in lines in every State, to get to the illegally hidden history by a Public Offical.


You are right Blanche and Obama is wrong.
He has never met a payroll.

Posted by: dottydo | February 4, 2010 7:57 PM | Report abuse


Rahm and Axelrove have accepted the inevitable: Blanche Lincoln is going down. So their thinking is, "Why change our message for a lost cause?"

What they're missing is all the seats that they will lose in states more moderate than Arkansas because of their insistence on staying the course.

Watch for tomorrow's January unemployment figures.

Posted by: WylieD | February 4, 2010 8:01 PM | Report abuse


Barry pretty much dismisses the majority of the Nation's reaction to his Radical Policies and Agenda.

Posted by: jas7751 | February 4, 2010 8:04 PM | Report abuse

Boring Dioixide (B2O2)

Interested in the poll results you quoted...problem is everyone wants a free lunch. When they have to pay for it...support falls quickly.

The poll reveals, however, the obstacles that remain in the way of the public option and broader reform efforts. Many Americans are concerned that their own health care may be compromised if the government is involved, and while they are generally willing to pay more in taxes for universal coverage, that support drops when dollar amounts are mentioned.


Good luck with that one Boring.

Posted by: jhpbriton | February 4, 2010 8:11 PM | Report abuse

I live in south eastern virginia. The right wing is back in style here. Sad, to realize that a democrat is but a shade different than a republican. I am progressive in my political thinking. I will never give a dime to another democratic candidate who talks the progressive talk and walks the way of the republican party.

Posted by: fabricmaven1 | February 4, 2010 8:12 PM | Report abuse

There is more than one interpretation for President Obama's reply to Sen. Blanche Lincoln. Far from writing her off, he was modeling for her how she should run her campaign for re-election, namely by laying it out for her constituents that there are serious problems that have to be solved and the obstructionism and know-nothing current practices of the Republicans just aren't contributing to the solutions to these problems. Judging from the expression on her face after President Obama finished replying, I doubt seriously that she got it.

Posted by: raymondw1 | February 4, 2010 8:13 PM | Report abuse

Look, we have had thirty years of Conservative rule and the country is at the lowest point since the Depression. Coincidence?

Why shouldn't we progressives/liberals be given a president? Liberals are the conscience of this country. Virtually every great movement of the 20th Century - Civil Rights, Woman's Rights, Social Security, Environmentalism etc. - is a Liberal idea. I want to see it be our turn for once before I die.

Posted by: nyrunner101 | February 4, 2010 8:29 PM | Report abuse

From the likes of these posts, the Dems just don't get it. Press on Obamaites but you won't get anything substantial passed, and you will lose big time next November. It is fascinating to watch this self destruction.

Posted by: delusional1 | February 4, 2010 9:00 PM | Report abuse

Dems may lose in November, But the GOP will rue that loss, because then THEY will have to do something besides say "no". Almost everything the GOP has done in the last decade has spiraled into a greed fest for their biggest supporters, and into tremendous losses for everyone else financially.

Should they get a majority, and the economy and jobs tank in the same manner as under Bush - and everything they are proposing is straight out of that playbook - then they will have nowhere to hide.

And Lane is a shill for the GOP -he will crash and burn in the long term.

Posted by: maxtor0 | February 4, 2010 9:15 PM | Report abuse

to bad Blanche--the Prez is NOT going to help you--you didn't help him or his agenda. go cry to the repugs.

Posted by: jjanit | February 4, 2010 9:17 PM | Report abuse

Obama is an empty suit destined to take the Democratic party into oblivion...if the Democrats are foolish enough to continue following him.

Posted by: JCM-51 | February 4, 2010 10:19 PM | Report abuse

Blanche, you now have the platform from which to step forward and show Americans that just because you're a Democrat, doesn't mean that you support the wild-eyed, radical Obama.

You have nothing to lose. Begin to vote your conscience...let the Democratic party fall where it lay.

All Americans can respect that and will respond to your change of heart.

Posted by: easttxisfreaky | February 4, 2010 10:21 PM | Report abuse

I am amazed that otherwise intelligent Americans are willing to tell our Congress that doing nothing for the American people is a GRAT idea.

If Blanche Lincoln can't explain to her consituents why Health Care Reform is necessary, then perhaps she should seek employment in another sector.

For all of you advocating dropping health car reform, you are either on Medicare, haven't notice that your raises are getting smaller and smaller because of rising health care costs, or you are partisan and want to see the Dems fail.

I used to think the American were smart. But now that I see how easily people fall for "talking points" and lies, I am re-evaluting that assessment.

Posted by: Julescator | February 4, 2010 10:24 PM | Report abuse

BO is over and done.

Posted by: annnort | February 4, 2010 10:25 PM | Report abuse

TO: PEMBROKE60, Obama speaks at 5th grade level without a teleprompter. Really? You Sir, write at a fifth grade level with its accompanying intelligence quotient.
The United States Army printed its manuals not to long ago so that an eight-grader could read and understand instructions. When I read where folks criticize the president for reading from a teleprompter I am immmediately informed that they are "Limbaugh Lemmings". You folks act as though there is something abhorrent reading moving script on an electronic device rather than using your finger to mark a position on a sheaf of papers. With all due respect Sir, WHAT THE HELL IS THE DIFFERENCE if words being spoken are coming from the lips of the Preident of USA?

Posted by: october30 | February 4, 2010 10:31 PM | Report abuse

That pretty much seals it. Obama is so out of touch that he doesn't understand that he got elected because *he wasn't George Bush*.

The people didn't know or care what he stood for, but he imagined they must've liked him because he's so smart. The truth is, Hillary would have won, pretty much any Democrat would have won because Bush screwed up.

That only thing that I can say is the most savvy leaders know when the winds have changed and change their tack.

Obama is simultaneously so smart and so dumb. I'll be in his memoirs he blames racism when he loses in 2012.

Posted by: Ombudsman1 | February 4, 2010 10:38 PM | Report abuse

I still believe most Americans are for health care reform. The problem is that democrats want to turn the whole mess into another bloated, government run, all union entitlement program when most of us would have been happy with patching up the system we've already got.

Posted by: jgault2 | February 4, 2010 10:48 PM | Report abuse

Without the teleprompter Obama speaks at a 5th grade level.

"If our response ends up being, you know, because we don’t want to -- we don’t want to stir things up here, we’re just going to do the same thing that was being done before, then I don’t know what differentiates us from the other guys. And I don’t know why people would say, boy, we really want to make sure that those Democrats are in Washington fighting for us.

####################################

I can understand what Obama was saying - why can't you? If you want a fifth grade speaking level, go look up some of Bush's old remarks.

Posted by: maggots | February 4, 2010 11:11 PM | Report abuse

I still believe most Americans are for health care reform. The problem is that democrats want to turn the whole mess into another bloated, government run, all union entitlement program when most of us would have been happy with patching up the system we've already got.

Posted by: jgault2 | February 4, 2010 10:48 PM | Report abuse

##########################################

That's like patching up the Titanic after it hit the iceberg.

Posted by: maggots | February 4, 2010 11:13 PM | Report abuse

Obama is an empty suit destined to take the Democratic party into oblivion...if the Democrats are foolish enough to continue following him.

Posted by: JCM-51 | February 4, 2010 10:19 PM | Report abuse

$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

This from somebody who followed George Bush for eight years.

Posted by: maggots | February 4, 2010 11:15 PM | Report abuse

I think you missed a key point. I'm a Mass. liberal who voted for Scott Brown. My first Repuglican ever. I did so not because I want the national Dems to abandon healthcare, or the agenda they sold in 2008. I did so because I want them to include a public option, not bargain it away. I did so because I want a MORE LIBERAL healthcare bill passed. More than 5% of the Mass. electorate feels the way I do. That was basically Brown's margin of victory. This was a protest, not a watershed in direction. You've greatly misread what happened here. Plouffe is more likely to guide Obama toward the sentiment of people like me, who expect and demand MORE CHANGE than was being offered; not more centrism and less change.

Posted by: seve2yoo | February 5, 2010 12:02 AM | Report abuse

The Democrat party is a center right party, Speaker Nancy Pelosi is center right, Senate leader Harry Reid is center right, President Obama is center right. The president is far right on military issues, foreign affairs and he's down right "hawkish" when it comes to prosecuting the war against the so-called terrorists. But the Democrat Congress sit lethargically by and allow the Republicans to paint them as being extreme left wing "Liberal" loonies. Democrats like Blanche Lincoln, Mary Landreiu, Ben Nelson, Stupka, Evan Byah and Joe Lie-berman are extreme right wing, neo-con, reactionary, stealth Republicans. They do the bidding of Mitch McConnell, John Baehner, Eric "pretty boy" Cantor, Limbaugh and Glenn Beck. These Benedict Arnold Democrats who blocked the health care bill are corrupted, traitorous scoundrels and bribe takers, who sold insurance reform down the river for a fist full of dollars. Someone need to tell the Republicans that they do not speak for America. The American people voted them out of office in droves in 2008. The Republicans have exhibited more pompous arrogance since losing power than they did when they were in power. The Republicans like Adolf Hitler actually believe their own rhetoric and lies. Right wing, neo-con Democrats like Blanche Lincoln, Landrieu, Nelson, Byah, stupka and Lie-berman are now acting like deers caught in the headlights of tractor-trailer trucks bearing down on them at 80 MPH. If anyone vote for them in the upcoming elections, it will be Republicans. Because the Democrat voters are not going to vote for them. We the moderate Democrats are going to cleanse our party of all the right wing, turncoat, stealth Republican-Democrats. The lest they could do for the people before being voted out of office is to vote in favor of health care reform.

Posted by: ODDOWL | February 5, 2010 1:59 AM | Report abuse

Lane continues to demonstrate that he is the Post's most dimwitted columnist. Obama is exactly right. Democrats were elected to solve the nation's problems, not to twist with the wind as Lincoln is doing. Democrats seem incapable of maintaining party discipline. Republicans never seem to have problems passing legislation when they control Congress. But Democrats have been installed with very large majorities in both Senate and House, but continue to argue amongst themselves, undermined by the Lincolns, Ben Nelsons, Liebermans, and Landrieus. This group might as well be Republicans as they certainly don't vote like real Democrats.

Posted by: OHIOCITIZEN | February 5, 2010 3:14 AM | Report abuse

Republicans have stated that their mission is to take down Obama, no matter how much their obstructionism hurts the reswt of us. The Dems, imo, have bent over backwards too many times trying to work with the GOP only to to get their offered hand bit. They are not going to work with Democrats no matter what -- they have demonsrated that over and over again going so far to vote against the programs they introduced once upon a time. Lincoln is trying desperately to save her own endangered job and too bad for her, she is getting bagged back home. Democrats were not elected in huge majorities to be Republicans and to continue their past disasterous course. I say scre 'em and grow a spine. They are not going to save their seats by being weak and running scared.

Posted by: creatia52 | February 5, 2010 3:55 AM | Report abuse

"The ease of a shill" is about right.

Posted by: rarignac | February 5, 2010 3:58 AM | Report abuse

Get medical insurance for your entire family at the best price from http://bit.ly/atGzeD

Posted by: rothstein05 | February 5, 2010 4:34 AM | Report abuse

I, for one, hope that the Democrats tack further to the left. We need bigger deficits, more job-killing regulations and a cap and tax bill that sets electricity rates "skyrocketing" (in Obama's own words).

We also need to try more, not fewer, terrorists in the US. At $200 million per year per trial that would be a big boost for the law enforcement community. (If I were Bin Laden, I'd send 1,000 terrorists with pocket shorts to visit.)

Posted by: neilwied | February 5, 2010 4:48 AM | Report abuse

Blanche Lincoln is a DINO bought and paid for by corporate interests. She is no centrist.

Posted by: Gatsby10 | February 5, 2010 6:16 AM | Report abuse

As I read the many comments to this article, I am filled with optimism (and amusement) that the far left cabal controlling the Democrat Party is headed, at ever increasing speed, for self destruction. My guess is that Obama will not even win the Democrat Party's Presidential nomination in 2012, and both houses of congress will be controlled by Republicans as early as 2010.

Posted by: amazd | February 5, 2010 6:57 AM | Report abuse

Obama is going down in flames. Thank God.

Posted by: smorgano | February 5, 2010 7:31 AM | Report abuse

Obama came in promising hope and change from Washington's corrupt ways. He would put an end to lobbying, inside deals and institute complete transparency. So what he did was immediately make some deals with the AMA, Big Pharma, and the insurance industry. When asked about Obama's promise to put bills up in advance on the internet and televise any negotiations on C-span, Nancy Pelosi said, well you know lot's of things are said during campaigns.

Obama's talk about a spending freeze to show his concern about deficit spending was ludicrously contradicted by his own bloated over-the-top spending, even in the out years when he projects we will be over the recession.

Next, he exclaimed: "I am no ideologue," even as he dismisses concerns of members of his own party that his ideology is killing democrats.

You can bet your last dollar that Obama is as committed to blind ideology as anyone who as ever gotten near to he Presidency. He is incapable of self-critical thought, or of telling truth from falsehood. He will certainly destroy the democratic party for years to come. The only question is what will be left of America itself.

Posted by: blackmage | February 5, 2010 7:51 AM | Report abuse

TNR fired the wrong person. Stephen Glass was more entertaining than Lane, and not a whit more dishonest.

Posted by: misterjrthed | February 5, 2010 8:27 AM | Report abuse

Hey Lane- doing nothing on health care is exactly the same policy as the last 8 years or the last 80 years for that matter. What don't you get?

Posted by: FrankM64 | February 5, 2010 8:47 AM | Report abuse

THIS NEO-COMM ENGLISHMAN WILL FIGHT TO THE LAST BLUE DOG FRENCHMAN!

Remember the German propaganda campaign during the World War I trench warfare featuring the statement that, "those English, they will fight to the last Frenchman"? Obama and his people are neo-comms, most of which are red diaper doper descendants of the European socialists FDR imported to build his socialist heaven. They work for enemies of our democracy like Soros, and will go all out NOW to impose socialism, knowing that Soros and other subversives will have a pot of gold waiting for them at the end, no matter what happens. Blue dog and other rational Democrats are whistled "over the top" to sacrifice themselves for the neo-comms. As an Independent Centrist who will be flushing Democrats from Congress this Fall, I say, TAKE HIS ADVICE!!!

Posted by: IowaPatN | February 5, 2010 8:48 AM | Report abuse

Of course he dismisses Blanche Lincolns' appeal, that he move to the CENTER, from the MARXIST FAR LEFT. And, of course he dismisses it. Because he's "NOT AN IDEOLOGUE". Remember?
And he's gonna take PUBLIC FINANCING for his Campaign. And there won't be any EARMRKS. And all Legislation will be up on the INTERNET for 72 HOURS. And he's gonna do HEALTH CARE on CSPAN. And there aren't gonna be any LOBBYISTS in his Administration. And it's gonna be the MOST TRANSPARENT ADMINISTRATION EVER.
Remember?
Did i mention that he's NOT AN IDEOLOGUE?

Posted by: GoomyGommy | February 5, 2010 8:48 AM | Report abuse

That the most anti-business "administration" and Congress is American history is pleading with the private sector to add jobs, just shows what incompetent circus clowns the Democrats are.

Who in their right mind is going to hire with our unqualified tax and spend President in the White House and with the Red Queen in control of the House of Reps?

Obama's lack of experience is embarrassing. He has no idea what it is he's doing, you can't whack businessmen across the head with a two-by-four while asking them to hire, please.

Posted by: NoDonkey | February 5, 2010 9:03 AM | Report abuse

Blanche Lincoln's failure to push for health care reform early provided space, time and energy for tea-party ranters to damage its passage. It gave her opposition fodder against her. Had she considered the noise against Medicare's inception vs its embrace today, she might have used that to sell reform. Instead she expects President Obama to relinquish his agenda to satisfy her state's right wing majority. Leadership sometimes requires courage. Instead Lincoln chose to mollify her opposition and asks our President to join in her effort.

Posted by: JAS51 | February 5, 2010 9:17 AM | Report abuse

Blanche Lincoln's failure to push for health care reform early provided space, time and energy for tea-party ranters to damage its passage. It gave her opposition fodder against her. Had she considered the noise against Medicare's inception vs its embrace today, she might have used that to sell reform. Instead she expects President Obama to relinquish his agenda to satisfy her state's right wing majority. Leadership sometimes requires courage. Instead Lincoln chose to mollify her opposition and asks our President to join in her effort.

Posted by: JAS51 | February 5, 2010 9:17 AM | Report abuse

So what's that about the GOP purging out its "moderates" and the Dems becoming more centrist? No doubt Blanche Lincoln helped Obama set up that straw man when instead of being explicit in her condemnation of his policies, Lincoln interpreted her "Democratic businessman's" concern on business uncertainty in a trope about Americans being upset about the process in Washington.

That being said, Mr. Lane's point is certainly instructive: anyone paying attention to the campaign should've seen how with such ease Obama campaigned Hard Left when he seeking the nomination and the minute he got it he easily put on a mask of centrism. A person with just a little curiosity would've noticed this rapid turnabout and would've been able to rat out the inherent contradictions between candidate Obama's positions and nominee Obama's positions. Now we get to witness it in all its glory.

By the way, why are the Dems still sticking to Obama? Have they not realized that all of them - progressive and moderate - are only pawns to be used to further HIS agenda? They have all been badly damaged by pursuing healthcare, many whom never supported his version of healthcare, and his position on terrorism, but Obama is coming away relatively unscathed with his base (as independents are fleeing and the Repubs are all but gone). Even his base should be outraged with the way his administration has disparaged them through his many surrogates both in and out of the White House and himself (after all, if we took his advice none of us would be here). He is only in this for himself and not for the American people.

Posted by: cmb551 | February 5, 2010 9:18 AM | Report abuse

Obama’s answer to Lincoln suggests that he fully embraces the Plouffe strategy.

LOL. Now the handmaiden Jefe will have yet another tushie to wipe up.

Posted by: PoohziePhart | February 5, 2010 9:20 AM | Report abuse

Mr. Lane - You and Dr. Krauthammer et. al. completely misunderstand the fall in popularity and enthusiasm for the Obama agenda. Read carefully the Massachusetts polls - the populace wanted more, not less, health care reform. The D's are in grave trouble because they have de-energized a base of voters that overwhelmed the R's in '08 and will be perfectly competitive if they are inspired again. A pivot to the center will not only be policy surrender, but political suicide as well - and President Obama knows it. Watch him fight. The harder and more transparently that he does, the more he will awaken his huge army of supporters who lay in waiting.

Posted by: dgkerns1 | February 5, 2010 9:32 AM | Report abuse

Guess Lane believes the only way for Obama to show he's a centrist is to give the Republlicans everything they want. So what if those policies failed and led us into this mess. Let's do it again!!

Posted by: guyachs | February 5, 2010 9:49 AM | Report abuse

Exactly, Mass elected a Republican who ran as the man who would kill Obama's health care plan and they elected him to SUPPORT Obama's health care plan.

Unless the Democrats are just trying to peddling that story to their nutroots rubes? That couldn't be it, could it?

Posted by: NoDonkey | February 5, 2010 9:50 AM | Report abuse

Obama can't speak to a 6th grade class without TOTUS, why would anyone expect him to be lucid speaking without one in front of the Democrats.
******************************
Of course since he went to HAAAAAAAARVARD, the LEFTWING Media ASSUMES he is bright. Proved time and time again, that BO is not bright, or else he would learn from his many mistakes and LISTEN to the people. not Rahm and Axelrod!

Posted by: morphy | February 5, 2010 9:53 AM | Report abuse

Some of these posts are hilariously devoid of anything but kool aid regurgitations from the like of moveon, huffpo or democratunderground - geez folks try to think for yourselves - God gave you a brain for a reason, you know.

1. Bush spent way to much, but at least his tax cut brought home the bacon to pay for half of what he spent - overall a mediocre president.

2. BHO is a living example "The Emperor's New Clothes" with a Saul Alinsky slant. He spends like Bush on a drunken binge, he cares nothing for the will of the people and is suffers from Narcissitic Personality Disorder. Americans by and large don't want to live in a 3rd world Bananna Republic that BHO and congress is hell bent to turn us in to.

I know that BHO is not stupid, just a leftist wannabe dictator. His failings in the past year make many in the GOP optomistic for easy victory in '10 & '12; but I fear BHO is just waiting for his 'fire in the Reichstag' to take all dissent to Big Brother away - he is a VERY DANGEROUS MAN surrounded VERY DANGEROUS COHORTS! Not saying he has the exact intents Hitler did (mass genocide, etc), but he certainly could emulate Stalin; well a Stalin that needed a teleprompter to speak to 6th graders.

BHO cloaks himeslf in his 'nothing speak' allowing people to hear what they want to - including his critics so they can be blamed for taking things 'out of contex'. If he just stood up and told America he was a proud Socialist and he has Socialist dreams for America (like many leftist commenters wish he would) - that would be great. His honesty would be rewarded with sheer disdain from the electorate and he knows it - this is why we have the 'say one thing in a platitudinal way; do whatever your socialist agenda was planning on doing anyway' Barry.

I can only hope America get the opportunity to vote the vermin out of the congress (from both parties) and the messiah-in-chief out of the White House before he has his 'Reichtstag moment'.

Posted by: jonsey11 | February 5, 2010 10:46 AM | Report abuse

This whole thing is so beautiful. President Zero pushes the country left as hard as he can with every idiotic, failed big-government scheme he can dream up, and his reward for it is an historic drop in approval ratings. A winning Republican in MA makes stopping this horrible, unpopular, unintelligible, budget-busting pig of a healthcare bill his major priority, and President Grinning Genius says, "Hey, it's because they love me and they hate Bush!" A Democrat sees the writing on the wall and says, "Hey, why don't you cool it a little bit?" President Oblivious says, "Screw you! I know what I'm doing! I'll shove government meddling (bought with money we don't have!) down everybody's throats!" Then you tune into comments on WaPo and what do you get? A bunch of liberals shrieking about how Maobama needs to move further left! Yeah! Force it on 'em! Enslave the people with taxes and generational debt! That'll fix everything! The h*ll with freedom to use the fruits of your own labor! People hate freedom anyway!

I couldn't make this up! It's just too awesome! See you in November, when no doubt every losing Democrat will have had his election "stolen" from him! Wheeee!

Posted by: HypnoToad | February 5, 2010 11:12 AM | Report abuse

Time and again the polls illustrate the nature of the American population...time and again!
40% (give or take) moderates
38% (give or take) conservatives
22% (give or take) liberals

Obama won because he duped people into believing he would be a centrist. (Remeber the debate when he was cloaking himself in the names of Paul Volker and Warren Buffet?) Noone gets their agenda passed in a democracy when only 1/5th of the country supports it.

Posted by: liseliz | February 5, 2010 12:05 PM | Report abuse

WOW! WOW! WOW! Reading the comments here is quite awe striking!! People really do not understand what happened in NJ, VA and MA. Someone stated that Obama forgot who put him in power. He thinks it is the extreme left wing! NO! It was the "independents!" The people on the "center!" Who, unfortunatelly, often go with the current political winds, whether left or right, rather than sticking to core beliefs! Obama was elected because of a bad economy! And Obama comes in and does what? MAKE THINGS A LOT WORST! Look at the DEFICITS he is proposing! Unbelievable that the left is so blind!!!

Posted by: josedfarias | February 5, 2010 12:18 PM | Report abuse

@liselis is right on the mark! Moderates and Conservatives are even, the liberals are the minority and yet, they think they are the majority! They think (and so does Obama) that Obama won because of his extreme left views (unknown to the majority of the American people)! No, he did not! It was anti-Bush sentiment out there and a poor McCain candidacy that elected Obama. Now look at his policies, they are all stuck and people are against his left wing agenda, not just health care!

Posted by: josedfarias | February 5, 2010 12:22 PM | Report abuse

Let's see...."Give the President credit. No one can accuse him of bending his principles to politics."

Seems to me that the Left called this "arrogance" when it was Bush sticking to his principles.

Hypocrites, every last one of them.

Posted by: dobrien60 | February 5, 2010 12:26 PM | Report abuse

@HypnoToad! Why make your statements so lukewarm?? Are you uninspired?? Just kidding! Great comment! Thanks!!!

Posted by: josedfarias | February 5, 2010 12:28 PM | Report abuse

It's been said before and needs to be said again: denial ain't a river in Egypt. Of course you Dems know what's best for all of us, so I urge you double down and ignore the recent setbacks. And I love some of these comments: Obamacare was really composed of GOP ideas, Obama was far too centrist, the moderates are the real problem . . . demented!

November is going to be a bloodbath -- at this rate bloodier than even '94.

Posted by: prosecutor1 | February 5, 2010 12:40 PM | Report abuse

Hey, the Obama presidency has been very successful, let us take a look at some of the facts:
1. He promised in the campaign and he ushered in a new era of post-partisanship!!! N O T !!! From the very beginning Obama and his hackers introduced division and partisanship by going after Limbaugh and declaring him the leader of the GOP!! Right after his inauguration, when dealing with concerns of House Republicans what was his answer? "I WON!" Obama has registered the highest divisions ever in the country!!!
2. He claimed to be a post-racial President! And he handled himself with wisdom and without pre-judging on the case of the arrest of his friend Henry Louis Gates Jr!! N O T!! Obama jumped to a conclusion that his friend's arrest was racial motivated! When facts became known he tried to save his face and that was the reason for the Beer Summit!!!
3. Obama has not allowed any terrorist to attack people on the USA soil!! N O T!! Fort Hood and Detroit flight bomb attempt happened under his watch. We know what happened in Fort Hood and almost 300 did not get killed on the way to Detroit because Abdulmutallab had problems detonating the bomb!!
4. Obama has successfully prosecuted KSM and other terrorists in civilian trials in NYC. The terrorists are waiting execution! N O T!!! We all know what is going on!!!
5. Obama has successfully convinced the American people that civilian trials are the best way to go in prosecuting terrorists!!! N O T!! The largest majority of the American people want their tax dollars to be used to catch terrorists, not to give them US citizen rights!!
6. Obama has successfully convinced Iran to drop its Nuclear pursuit!!! N O T!! Iran is more belligerent than ever and is moving on towards a nuclear weapon!
7. Obama has brought North Korea under control!! N O T!!! North Korea continues to make missile tests in order to provoke the USA.
8. Unemployment is down to 6% because of the success of the bipartisan Stimulus Package which successfully passed!!! N O T!! Unemployment is close to 20% unofficially, and 9,7% officially, after the administration promised that if the stimulus was passed unemployment would never reach 8% (it reached 10,2% officially). And the PACKAGE was passed by DEMOCRATS only!!!
9. Obama has successfully passed, in a bipartisan way, cap and trade!!! N O T!! It passed the House on partisan line and is being held in the senate!
10. Obama has successfully passed the HC overhaul with support from both Democrats and Republicans!!! N O T!! Two different bills were passed without bipartisan support. The bills were so different that it is waiting reconciliation and we all know what happened in MA and what happened to the HC bill.
Well, did I miss anything?

Posted by: josedfarias | February 5, 2010 12:46 PM | Report abuse

Senator Lincoln and other moderates are like passengers on the Titanic shouting "there's an iceberg ahead!!" and the Captain and crew won't listen. The results will be the same. They are cruising full speed toward disaster and I hope all you "stay the course" commentators remember your advice when you lose at least one house of congress this fall.

Posted by: NDFuller | February 5, 2010 1:01 PM | Report abuse

I am delighted with all of these Thelma and Louise liberal posts. No centrism for us! Forget the polls! President Obama, aim for the cliff.

Posted by: a_dreaded_redstater | February 5, 2010 2:12 PM | Report abuse

I think I speak for many when I say I don't give a rats *ss whether policies are left, right, center - I just want results. That is to say, lowering unemployment, reducing the deficit and security... I'm willing to be patient, but right now, I want at least a plausible roadmap of how we are going to get there. I haven't heard anything like this from either the Democrats or the Republicans and my patience is running thin.

Posted by: invention13 | February 5, 2010 2:20 PM | Report abuse

Keep it up boys ... right over the cliff ...

Posted by: cunn9305 | February 5, 2010 2:35 PM | Report abuse

Because Obama and his crew are supremely arrogant (as John McCain said in 2008), and can't be bothered with silly things like the will of the people. When his party is decimated in 2010, let's see how much of a hero he is to all the feckless worshippers in Congress....

Posted by: subframer | February 5, 2010 2:51 PM | Report abuse

BLANCE LINCOLN AND EVAN BAYH SHOULD NOT GET ONE LIBERAL/PROGRESSIVE VOTE....THEY CAN'T WIN WITH JUST THE INDEPENDENT VOTE...

BOTH LOOK LIKE THEY BELONG WITH MICHELLE BAUHMAN AND JOHN BOEHNER....

DO NOT VOTE FOR BLUE DOGS!!!!!!!

RAHM EMMANUEL HAD NO RIGHT TRYING TO CHANGE OUR PARTY THE WAY HE SEES FIT!

OBAMA NEEDS TO GET RID OF THIS DUDE....
+++++++++++++++
This is why libs are so amusing!! Y'all realize that you're about 15-20% of the electorate? Right? So..how's the math on that working for you? Unless there's a shift to the middle (and that DOES NOT mean a "return to the failed policies of GWB"), the D's will get hammered in November. The other smug notion of the Coastal Sophisticates is that anyone from anywhere else in the county is, by nature of geography, less intelligent and less well informed than they.

Posted by: LeftCoastRightBrain | February 5, 2010 4:46 PM | Report abuse

I guess Blanche didn't pay attention to teh 80, or 90 times he used a personal pronoun in his state of Barack speech.

Its all about the cult of personality. You people wanted this mess - deal with it.

Posted by: VirginiaConservative | February 5, 2010 5:01 PM | Report abuse

Reminds me of the scene in Titanic where the lookout screams - "Iceberg right ahead". Then later - "Why aren't they turning?".

Keep going Dems, encourage your party to stay the course. Crashing into the iceberg dead on is going to be spectacular.

Posted by: scottinphxaz | February 5, 2010 5:02 PM | Report abuse

He cares only for himself . . . he's losing support and he will fail, but he will blame his failure on people like Lincoln because that's the way or narcissists.

Posted by: rplat | February 5, 2010 5:05 PM | Report abuse

Of course it was mere kabuki. Lincoln excoriated the "extremist in our own party", when it is clear that she was addressing the Chief Extremist himself. And then she contradicted herself and neutered everything she had just said by thanking Obama for "all the good work" he was doing. It was all meant for local consumption back home, and probably the whole event served that purpose.

Posted by: pbpublic | February 5, 2010 5:09 PM | Report abuse

@josedfarias

The independents do not go with the political winds. They vote the economy or if there's a really bad scandal. If the economy is good, they vote for those in power. If it's bad they vote against those they perceive to be in power. Had the housing bubble burst in November of '08 rather than September, McCain might very well have been president. If you look at the independents from that standpoint, you can see how they swung elections all the way back to Kennedy/Nixon in 1960. That election was swung on Eisenhower spending billions on the Interstate Highway system. 1968 was swung on LBJ's Great Society. 1976 on Watergate. 1980 on Stagflation. 1992 on "Read my lips." 1994 on HillaryCare. 2000 on Lewinsky. 2006 on Medicare Part D. VA, NJ, MA, and most likely 2010 on ObamaCare.

Posted by: TXKafir | February 5, 2010 5:45 PM | Report abuse

Bozobama is an idiot. His programs are almost unAmerican, as he is unAmerican. He is the product of a pregnancy not sanctified by marriage, so you know what that makes him.

He will not be re-elected.

Beginning this November, we voters will retire many, many, many of his Damocrat friends, and send Republicans or Independents or Libertarians to Congress, who will stiffle Big O for his last two years in office.

Thank you Scott Brown, my HERO !

Posted by: raymeo | February 5, 2010 6:05 PM | Report abuse

"Obama’s answer to Lincoln suggests that he fully embraces the Plouffe strategy. I don’t understand it."
-----------------------------------------
It's simple really. If he's going down, he's taking the WHOLE party with him. Because it's ALWAYS about Him.

This guy is not as nuanced as you think.

Posted by: HughJassPhD | February 5, 2010 6:08 PM | Report abuse

This is a well-written and insightful article. As Mr. Lane correctly points out, the problem isn't that centrists Democrats are seeking a return to Republican poliices of the past, it is that the Administration appears to be too focused on old ideas. Following a union-centric, New Deal agenda just doesn't respond to the problems we face as a nation today. It is the lack of innovation in ideas and policies by the Administration that is making life so hard for centrists Democrats. The public is rightfully picking up on a problem in the policy agenda and we should all listen. The Adminsitration's position is all the more puzzling and disappointing for so many Democrats because the President in his campaign promised to undertake the very type of innovative thinking that we need at the dawn of this new Century. Morris Panner

Posted by: morrispanner | February 5, 2010 6:15 PM | Report abuse

I love the comments from the liberals on this thread. Face it, Obama's support has COLLAPSED from centrist, suburban (read: white) voters. Plus, only 20% of the country identifies as liberal. If he doesn't regain the support of this group, he is dead politically.

I have a theory on Obama. His views have essentially remained fixed over the past 25 years as an urban liberal. He ran a perfect campaign and his timing was also perfect to take down the tired Clinton machine.

But....his views have not changed, but America's views have over the past 18 months. The voters were tired of Bush to be sure, but we didn't vote to become France.

If Obama doesn't move to the center, he is looking at 3 years of being a lame duck.

Posted by: JohnBoy3 | February 5, 2010 7:04 PM | Report abuse

How does a Leftist like President Obama explain the ruination of ultra-left Detroit, Michigan? Burnt out buildings, burnt out people: The Sinister World of Left.

Posted by: ironmule | February 5, 2010 7:19 PM | Report abuse

I'm not sure if Lincoln's original question included some centrist policies that she wanted Obama to return to. But Lane's column certainly didn't. Republicans have made it a talking point to refer to all of Obama's policies as "far-left", and their own radical agenda as "centrist". Unless Lincoln gave up some concrete examples, I can forgive Obama for assuming that a "return to centrism" was typical echo chamber code, for "capitulation to Republican ideologues".

Obama's economic policies so far have had the support of most reputable economists. His military policy has been decidedly hawkish and is implemented by a republican as Defense secretary. His plan for health care resembles McCain's campaign plan, more than anything Pelosi would have originally supported. Obama's performance in office so far has earned him substantial criticism and even derision from the progressive base.

So I would be interested to know which main policy plank of the Obama administration Lane feels should be "moderated". As far as I can see, Obama's opponents don't care a hoot about the overall the ideological tilt of the government so long as that government is a Republican one.

Posted by: bidalah | February 5, 2010 7:25 PM | Report abuse

To paraphrase Mayor Goodman said, Old Barry is no genius. At some point, even liberals will have to admit that the fellow who said "i've been to 57 of the 58 states; bitter clingers; corpseman; I don't speak austrian; gyp; my muslim faith; & etc is a dim bulb. He's a slow learner and by the time it works in, the Rs will be back in power.

Posted by: Grabski | February 5, 2010 7:32 PM | Report abuse

To paraphrase Mayor Goodman said, Old Barry is no genius. At some point, even liberals will have to admit that the fellow who said "i've been to 57 of the 58 states; bitter clingers; corpseman; I don't speak austrian; gyp; special olympics; my muslim faith; & etc is a dim bulb. He's a slow learner and by the time it works in, the Rs will be back in power.

Posted by: Grabski | February 5, 2010 7:34 PM | Report abuse

Garbage's comments are just that, garbage. Keep up the good work. November will be a bloodbath. How to blame Bush then? I am sure the Anointed One, who has been a spectacular failure at every single thing he has tried, will find a way.

Posted by: mp188 | February 5, 2010 7:58 PM | Report abuse

Its' amazing that Obama would so flatly reject the please of members of his own party to be the centrist President he promised to be during the campaign. The broken promises and the radical left wing agenda will continue. Trillions and trillions more in corrupt spending and debt, the Louisiana Purchase and the Cornhusker kickback. Obama wants to plunge ahead with everything. So much for the message the voters of MA sent. The American people have no choice but to restore balance to our Government in Nov before Obama can destroy the most powerful economy in the world!!!

Posted by: valwayne | February 5, 2010 7:59 PM | Report abuse

Comments are great. I like to see that Soros' money is being well spent. When disastrous spending and borrowing require a tax on wealth, rather than income (and of the living, not the dead), then we'll hear the real screams.

Posted by: whodat4 | February 5, 2010 8:13 PM | Report abuse

Hey you guys—you Democrats, the GOP is not your enemy. They are not even your adversary. The GOP is your twin brother who happens to wear a different colored shirt. Your enemy is the American people. You do not realize what is going on in this country. Wake up.

Posted by: kenharkins | February 5, 2010 9:51 PM | Report abuse

Obama is provinig he is indeed an ideologue and will not bend. But he will break when the Criminal Democrats lose the House and Senate in November.

An aside to the Obama supporters and delusional commenters - the American People will give you a huge CLUE in this next election.

Posted by: crypticguise | February 5, 2010 9:54 PM | Report abuse

Obama is provinig he is indeed an ideologue and will not bend. But he will break when the Criminal Democrats lose the House and Senate in November.

An aside to the Obama supporters and delusional commenters - the American People will give you a huge CLUE in this next election.

Posted by: crypticguise | February 5, 2010 10:00 PM | Report abuse

This is consistent with him completely rejecting bipartisanship.

Posted by: jfshiey | February 5, 2010 11:07 PM | Report abuse

the bottom line is that Americans do not give politicians much credit for enlightened paternalism, especially if the paternalism is locked the health system and doesnt depend on ongoing political will. if the democrats insist on defying the voters and pass a bill that some voters who are now against it grudgingly comes to value, the most likely outcome is for these voters to take whatever security the bill might give them and run to the republican party.

the public wants politicians to listen to them first and foremost, which is why popular policies which fail still cost politicians their jobs.

Posted by: dummypants | February 5, 2010 11:37 PM | Report abuse

It assumes that being “centrist” is a virtue, that there are always meaningful “bipartisan” agreements available, and that Obama’s problem is that he has been insufficiently “centrist” and has overlooked opportunities for bipartisan agreement.
***************

its would be more accurate to say that charles made the point that Blanche Lincoln made the point directly to Obama that being centrist is a virtue. and Obama proceeded to brush her concerns off by setting up a false choice (i guess its only a false choice when one of obama's enemies do it) and was, for this reason, completely unconvincing.

charles highlighted this to demonstrate the gapping gulf between the two wings of the democratic party. Obama could be all things to all people during the campaign without the contradiction being obvious, but governing has been a completely different story.

Posted by: dummypants | February 5, 2010 11:46 PM | Report abuse

The failure to cut taxes, and in fact raise taxes, raise consumer costs, and throw uncertainty into health care and energy when we have a uniquely dangerous recession (yes, still dangerous as in Depression dangerous) on our hands
=====================================================================================
This is what is so irritating about Republicans. 95% of all Americans got a tax cut. Let me repeat THEIR TAXES WERE CUT. Small businesses had their taxes cut. Obama is also proposing that the Capital Gains TAX for small business be CUT. He is also going to cut the payroll taxes for small businesses.

Why do they keep repeating the tiresome and idiotic lie that Obama has raised taxes? He CUT TAXES!!!!

Are you all retarted? Yes, I said retarded! Sue me.

Posted by: rlritt | February 5, 2010 11:57 PM | Report abuse

People who can not even spell 'vote' put a far left ideologue in the white house.
There is the policy of limited central government, states/individual rights, free market solutions, reduced government size/cost/intrusion/taxes, individual responsibility, colorblind society.

Then, there is the policy of demonize free enterprise, discredit free markets, bigger/unlimited/intrusive centralized government, more govt spending, higher taxes, more regulation, punitive/confiscatory corporate and individual taxes, more entitlements, govt determining winners/losers, racial identity politics, victimology and govt dependence.

One set of policies provided us 12 years of prosperity with a Republican Congress, through 2006, with sub 4% unemployment, record high DOW, 54 straight months of economic growth.
The other set of policies over 3 years of a Dem Congress dropped the DOW 44%, raised unemployment to >17% effective, triggered the bank/financial system meltdown, produced this Dem recession, misery, and failure.

When you choose the party, you choose the policies.

Posted by: Amerman | February 6, 2010 12:15 AM | Report abuse

The Democrat mayor of Los Vegas offered the best description of Barack Obama that I have seen - "this guy is a real slow learner".

He was elected with a comfortable margin and had at his disposal all of the levers of power on an unprecedented level. With a lock on both houses of Congress, he has been unable to pass any of his agenda programs. Is any assessment valid except "he is not very good". Evidence shows that his appearances in solidly democratic Mass. cost Coakley votes.

Obama is more glib than he is intelligent. You don't have to be a genius to realize that promises made on camera that you don't intend to keep will come back to haunt you.

He reversed himself on public election financing because the left held out the prospect of unlimited funds. He achieved an unimpressive win by outspending his opponents 3 to 1 and 4 to 1.

He is running a won-lost record of about 0 for 15 when he is personally involved.

Blanche Lincoln dutifully supported the Obama-Pelosi-Reid agenda and is watching her career fall apart. Obama won't try to mitigate the damage he has done and can't help her. Obama in Arkansas would cost her ten points. The left will realize how little they got for their money last time and are unlikely to be generous and hundreds of Democrats need help. She is unlikely to get much financial help. There aren't enough cushy jobs for all of the Democrats that will get ex in front of their title in November. Poor Blanche is behind all three challengers and needs to overcome a thirty point deficit - CAN YOU BLAME HER FOR BEING DESPONDENT.

Bill Clinton was shrewd, politically savvy and understood the American people and was able to come back from disaster. Obama isn't and won't. Politically he is toast.

Posted by: Xdem | February 6, 2010 12:27 AM | Report abuse

As we watch the WaPo in it's descent, it is heartening to see it's staff occasionally produce articles that are critical of Obama.
But it is too late I am afraid. The tide is turning. The country is awake, the Tea Party Movement is set to explode this spring. People from every walk of life, Democrats, Republicans and Independents joining together in one voice. They will be heard! More than any moment in my life, I can not wait for November. I am not alone. We are Americans and we will not allow tyranny and socialism to take root. The Liberal Fascists MUST GO! November 2nd is coming. Tick.....Tock.....Tick....Tock....

Posted by: ByTheBook1 | February 6, 2010 3:00 AM | Report abuse

Pembroke60 writes "Without the teleprompter Obama speaks at a 5th grade level."

I ran his excerpt of Obama's talk (below) through the Flesch-Kincaid grade and readability calculator. In fact the excerpt rates a grade level of 15 (junior year of college). But the readability index was only 53 of 100, a very incommunicative score.

"If our response ends up being, you know, because we don’t want to -- we don’t want to stir things up here, we’re just going to do the same thing that was being done before, then I don’t know what differentiates us from the other guys. And I don’t know why people would say, boy, we really want to make sure that those Democrats are in Washington fighting for us."

Posted by: frumious | February 6, 2010 3:20 AM | Report abuse

Lane writes:

"Still, give the president credit: No one can accuse him of bending his principles to politics."

When I read lines like this I'm really left wondering about the sanity of these Beltway columnists. Either that or they're actually aware that to even state such a thing goes against all of the evidence and they just write it anyway, out of sheer right wing partisan zeal.

Barack Obama certainly has been accused of pandering to the right, by pretty much the entirety of the progressive movement in this country right now, in fact.

I mean, Charles Lane can pretend that this doesn't matter, or can criticize it as unfair, but to simply state "No one can accuse the President" of pandering to the right, as if it's clear, obvious, and settled-- it's just absurd.

Barack Obama has been confusing, there's no doubt about it. The progressive blogosphere was thrilled at his slap down of the ridiculous right wing talking points of Lincoln and Bayh during that meeting, but many were completely baffled also, since the White House has been giving the opposite signal for a year, telling Reid to give Lieberman everything he demanded in his virtual blackmail of the health care bill, along with Nelson and the others.

In addition, the White House's recent "across the board spending freeze" announcement was seen by progressives as nothing but a cheap political pander to the right, since every economist worth the title will tell you that while still locked in a serious recession is no time to be embarking on a spending "freeze", instead you need to be spending, since the government is the only entity that can. Then once the economy is growing strong again, the revenues are far better at erasing debt and deficits than any tax cuts are, which actually do the opposite.

The point however is that this is clear, whether you agree with progressives or not, it's obvious how almost all of them are furious at the right wing pandering of this administration, so to say "no one can accuse Obama of that" is simply crazy. Or blind.

Or just another right wing villager who knows nothing outside of the Beltway bubble, yet makes a living doing commentary on the political state of the entire country.

Amazing.

Posted by: BillEPilgrim | February 6, 2010 4:29 AM | Report abuse

Once again its policies of the last eight years. Well as I recall, domestically, it was seven good years and one bad one. Obama is o for one.
Stop fighting and start leading.

Posted by: flyover22 | February 6, 2010 7:12 AM | Report abuse

To sum it up Blanche- Frankly my dear Obama doesnt give a damn. Enjoy your retirement Blanche because you and your kind---- who supported this radical--- are going down in November.

Posted by: JUNGLEJIM123 | February 6, 2010 7:20 AM | Report abuse

Of course he dismisses Blanche Lincolns' appeal, that he move to the CENTER, from the MARXIST FAR LEFT. And, of course he dismisses it. Because he's "NOT AN IDEOLOGUE". Remember?
And he's gonna take PUBLIC FINANCING for his Campaign. And there won't be any EARMRKS. And all Legislation will be up on the INTERNET for 72 HOURS. And he's gonna do HEALTH CARE on CSPAN. And there aren't gonna be any LOBBYISTS in his Administration. And it's gonna be the MOST TRANSPARENT ADMINISTRATION EVER.
Remember?
Did i mention that he's NOT AN IDEOLOGUE?

Posted by: GoomyGommy | February 6, 2010 8:06 AM | Report abuse

This article is very insightful. Obama's comments and the liberal angst in the comments sections of this article leaves me giggling.

Anyone with half a brain saw this coming a year and a half ago. Obama ran as the every man to all people. When in front of the hard core lefties, he spoke from the heart (because he's a hard core lefty) and they loved him. When he spoke to the middle and the right, he'd speak for hours and really say nothing. This allowed him to tip toe into the White House with all groups that were crazy enough to vote for him projecting their feelings onto him.

Fast forward to today. When you are actually President, you must make actual decisions. The mainstream Democrats and Independents were shocked to find the centrist they pulled the lever for was actually a hard core lefty. Backlash ensues and now Obama has a decision to make. Stay true to the yourself and the nutty left or tack to the middle and try to save his own skin (noting he's already screwed many Democrats coming up for election in 2012).

What we've gotten since the Brown election is candidate Obama again. When giving the State of the Union, he blathers on forever promising all things to all people. He then goes back to the base and pulls his favorite straw man routine out, always phrasing things in "it's either this or that".

Bottom line? 33% of this country is hard core nutty left, 33% middle, and 33% conservative. Right now, 66% of the country is repulsed by Obama's first year. He can talk all he wants but people are really tired of the used car salesman in chief. Time to be a man Mr. President. Time to lead. Time to act. Go with your true liberal leanings and be a one term President like you say is OK with you. Or come to the middle where a majority of voters are. Either way, do something and stop the whining because then you have no one.

Posted by: gorams1 | February 6, 2010 8:18 AM | Report abuse

If Bush and a previous Congress made such a huge mistake passing the prescription drug Medicare benefit, then why doesn't Obama/Pelosi/Reid ELIMINATE IT OR RAISE TAXES TO PAY FOR IT???
If Bush submitted budgets that were bad for America by exploding the deficit, WHY DID OBAMA/PELOSI/REID VOTE FOR THEM???
If Bush's last 2 budgets (Dem Congress

Posted by: johnL1 | February 6, 2010 10:09 AM | Report abuse

Why does Mr. Lane say the health care bill is unpopular. Just about every poll taken on this issue shows that people are HIGHLY favorable towards health care reform, especially health care WITH A PUBLIC OPTION. The people have spoken! Congress isn't listening! Especially people like Blanche Lincoln who is practically in bed with the healthcare industry at the tune of over $800K!

To all who are "centrist" on this issue: stop saying things that will get you re-elected. I would rather be voted out because I voted for what's right than trying to compromise my principles and get voted out anyway.

Posted by: ecglotfelty | February 6, 2010 11:52 AM | Report abuse

actually only 18% of the population self identify as liberal, so you lunatics can scream all you want, the fact is that obama has driven the democratic party off a cliff. You guys are gonna lose one hundred seats in the house and senate in november, and obama is on his way to a primary challenger in his own party, (think Hilary or newly former sen evan bayh).

"I am not a smart man Jenny, but I know what a one term president looks like"

Forrest Gump

Posted by: tedmarkuson | February 6, 2010 1:52 PM | Report abuse

I hope he (Obama) does stay the course. He will become a lame duck President in his first term and get voted out of office in 2012 when "We the People" remind him who is boss.

Posted by: disgusteddemocrat | February 6, 2010 7:00 PM | Report abuse

Charles, at the end of your piece you say, "No one can accuse him of bending his principles to politics."

But that's exactly what Obama did before he even began the push for health care reform last year.

It's well-known among both liberals and conservatives that Obama in his heart favors a single-payer system, perhaps in the form of an expansion of Medicare to all Americans. But he abandoned this principle right away, at the start of his presidency, in favor of fighting for whatever bill he could get through Congress.

In service of this aim, he has continually resisted defining what exactly he is fighting for and what he would refuse to accept from the Congress. He has made it abundantly clear that he just wants a feather in his cap, and he asks liberals to have faith in him on the thin hope that whatever passes can form the basis for a future push toward single-payer.

The end result of this compromise has been a predictable embarrassment: each house of Congress has produced a mess of a bill that epitomizes the sacrifice of principle to politics. The House's mediocre and expensive bill is at least a roughly workable plan, but the Senate bill is a toxic pile of political gamesmanship that deserves an ignominious death.

So now Obama is stuck in a humiliating and completely ridiculous position of his own making: trying to act like a fiery, principled liberal in support of a health care plan that makes very little sense, and which he sabotaged at the outset.

This is Obama fighting for principle?? You can't be serious. No, this is Obama fighting for his political career and the viability of the rest of his presidency.

I am not optimistic. You can't suddenly assert that you have integrity when everyone has been watching you throw it away for a year.

Posted by: gjosh | February 9, 2010 12:17 AM | Report abuse

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