“God Protect Me From My Friends…”

The Mort Zuckerman column in The Daily Beast is a lot less academic than the New Republic article, but Mort is probably more damning because Mort is the editor of U.S. News and World report and he writes with more punch. (He and his magazine both supported and endorsed Obama.)

If perchance you didn’t read it, here is a tease: (Remember – THESE ARE OBAMA SUPPORTERS!)

“It’s very sad. It’s really sad.

He’s improved America’s image in the world. He absolutely did. But you have to translate that into something. Let me tell you what a major leader said to me recently. “We are convinced,” he said, “that he is not strong enough to confront his enemy. We are concerned,” he said “that he is not strong to support his friends.”

The political leadership of the world is very, very dismayed. He better turn it around. The Democrats are going to get killed in this election. Jesus, looks what’s happening in Massachusetts.

It’s really interesting because he had brilliant, brilliant political instincts during the campaign. I don’t know what has happened to them. His appointments present somebody who has a lot to learn about how government works. He better get some very talented businesspeople who know how to implement things. It’s unbelievable. Everybody says so. You can’t believe how dismayed people are. That’s why he’s plunging in the polls.”

http://www.thedailybeast.com/blogs-and-stories/2010-01-19/hes-done-everything-wrong/

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The New Republic Scores!

Terrific article in the left-leaning New Republic by a devout Obama supporter“John B. Judis is a senior editor of The New Republic and a visiting scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace”

It is too long to summarize, but terrific analysis and I’ll just give you the final two paragraphs as a teaser:

The last two Democratic presidents faced similar crises. After the Democrats got drubbed in the 1978 midterms, Jimmy Carter took exactly the wrong course. He replaced mediocre people with even more mediocre people. He allowed intramural squabbles to surface. He lost his focus and ended up blaming the American people for his political problems. Clinton, who had governed his first year as a Rhodes Scholar and Yale Law graduate, rediscovered after November 1994 that he had been a successful governor of Arkansas. He governed for the remainder of his six years as the president of middle America, even resisting a furious attempt by Republicans to impeach him.

I am not sure how Obama can surmount this crisis. Obama does not seem, like Ronald Reagan or Clinton, to be a man of many faces. Even back in Chicago in the 1990s, it was clear that the man who had given up community organizing to become a lawyer and politician was more comfortable in Hyde Park than in Southeast or Northwest Chicago. Obama can try to make himself into a friend of Joe Sixpack and the enemy of Wall Street–he’s certainly trying to do so with his proposal to tax the big banks to pay for their bailout–but it’s not going to come naturally. Still, Obama has surprised his critics before, and perhaps (one hopes!) he will do so again.”

http://www.tnr.com/article/politics/he-doesnt-feel-your-pain?page=0,2

All Of That Bribery In Vain!

Just as the opinions from our two conversations with Massachusetts people this A.M. probably did not include ALL of their opinions on how they voted, the auto industry demise is a lot more complicated than just poor design, sloppy construction, or union problems.

No one can say what portion of the final problem each contributed, but all contributed.

The poor design was solved about a decade ago. The sloppy construction BEGAN to be solved about a decade ago, and many American cars now surpass Mercedes in quality of fit and finish – which may not be saying much because Mercedes has slipped badly for a decade.

The union problem was and is a pervasive problem. Management didn’t address it because it was easier to kick that can down the road, until there was no more road to kick it down. Unions had no incentive to address it because that is not in their DNA (they only want “more”), and now they have been rescued by a political bribery team.

Good fortune abounds for the unions, but not necessarily for their rescuers. The public bribe money going to them, and Nelson and Landrieu has aroused the public ire.

There is a political price to pay, and that price has not been completed. Here is the bad news: Unions, Nelson and Landrieu may have lost their reputations by giving support where it was not needed because the Healthcare bill as it now stands, may fall into something that has such bi-partisan support that their support was never necessary!

Reid bought a 60th vote several times, destroying himself and the Democratic Party in the process for something that may not even be needed! President Obama bought union peace for a Healthcare Bill that may never end up even trying to address taxation of “Cadillac” plans, destroying his reputation and his administration for NOTHING!

Karma!

Pelosi/Reid/Obama

Whatever the sins of Pelosi, and they are many including today’s political tone deafness, it is Harry Reid and President Obama who carry the burden.

It is Reid who engineered the Cornhusker Kickback, the Louisiana Purchase and the other Senatorial bribes.

It was President Obama himself who introduced the Union Bribe in the White House.

Reid was toast before this fiasco, so he could do as he wished – he was expendable. President Obama still has some personal political capital he can spend, but he has demonstrated short coattails even in states he carried by massive votes.

Pelosi’s polls are running less than 50% in California, but she still has a chance so she has been less obvious in her power wielding. Still she intends to plow ahead. Unfortunately for her, her clutch of cats is starting to slip their reins and are looking for political cover she cannot provide. Pelosi can reward or punish within the bounds of the House, but neither she, nor President Obama can sway sufficient voters help a challenged Democratic House member. Many members are more attuned to their constituencies than is their leadership.

This is going to be fun.

Checks and balances are back in play.

Instant Analysis

The interesting thing to me is that Democrats and the independents defeated the Democratic candidate.

We will see when the analysis is completed that Coakley lost Democrat votes, did not enthuse the Democrats that supported her and most importantly the independents went heavily for the Republican.

There were not enough Republican votes in the state to elect a dog-catcher!

It is much like the House and Senate which the Democrats have huge majorities – and they are as impotent as are the Massachusetts Democrats.

The problem in Massachusetts was simple: Harry Reid could not bribe individual hundreds of thousands of voters like he could pick off one Senator at a time.

He would have, if he could have.

There is another clue: For many years pick-up trucks outsold the most popular sedans as I recall. It is not wise to dis pick-up drivers, particularly when that dissing is done by patricians like Obama and John Kerry.

There are several interesting non-partisan points — and most important one is that Independents voted 73% for the Republican. That follows directly in the trend — as bad as Republicans are and have been, it is the independents who are the swing, and are in charge.

The other point is enthusiasm, the sort of passion that is brought by the Tea Party — which, however small, brings something important to the table. Last night, three hours after the Coakley concession speech, Brown was still “working the room” at his crowd.

Passion counts.