Help Me Out, Dick!

It’s typical of the kind of thing you expect to see in an election year with an ailing economy.  President Obama is out on the campaign trail, trying to push what he’s calling a “Jobs Bill” but which is in fact just another re-hash of the failed 2009 Stimulus bill, with some bonus tax increases tacked on.  The political heat attached to this bill is significant, and the legislation seemed to take forever to find its way to both chambers of Congress after the President proposed it.  For the moment, it appears that the President’s own party in the Senate simply isn’t interested in going along.  Among Democrats, it’s running into increasing opposition, and while this goes on, the debt “super-committee” continues to hammer out the details of deficit reduction while Democrats continue to insist on hiking taxes first.

All of this signals a deepening crisis for the president, who is struggling against sliding approval polls and intransigent members of his own party.  Increasingly, he’s begun to look very much as a president under siege, and Obama’s lack of executive experience prior to his election in 2008 is beginning to show.  More and more, he’s taken on the appearance of a ranting child, making demands of Congress in deference to his own political fortunes while they are left to struggle against an electorate that is increasingly hostile to the president’s plans and policies.  Senate Democrats aren’t foolish, and with more than a third of them up for re-election in 2012, there’s an uptick in defections from the Obama Administration’s legislative priorities.  In short, they know where their bread is buttered, and in the near term, it’s won’t be by the fellow at the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue.

Senate Democrats notice that while they’re stuck in Washington DC wrestling with the President’s unpopular legislative proposals, he’s out on the golf course, or more notably, out on the campaign trail, exhorting the Congress to “pass the bill. Pass this bill. Pass this bill now!”  In what can only be a sign of the coming election’s influence on votes in the Senate, Majority Whip Dick Durbin, D -Ill, is letting it be known that he does not have the votes for the so-called “jobs bill.”  He’s currently blaming the lack of action on the few Democrats from oil-producing states who are therefore opposed to the new taxes on oil producers in this legislation.  As ever, when Democrats can’t find the support for a bill among their own members, they begin to immediately evaluate which RINO Republicans are eligible to defect from a party-line stance against new taxes.  With Mitch McConnell leading the Senate Republicans, they’ll probably yield at least a few votes for the Democrats.

Still, the hopeful sign in all of this is how difficult Obama is finding the job of pushing through this bad legislation.  It’s popular among unionists, government employees, and of course the radical left, but there isn’t any public outcry of measurable volume to support the legislation, and the Democrats are having a hard time ginning it up.  Obama is pushing it out on the campaign trail, but he isn’t exactly drawing large and enthusiastic crowds these days, so it’s having a limited effect.  It’s becoming evident that Obama is a failed president, and most of the country has essentially given up on him. Now it seems some in his own party are beginning to walk away too, issue by issue, and vote by vote.

Of course, don’t count him out yet.  He still possesses all the power and capacity of any president, and his reach is long.  You can bet the arm-twisting is beginning in earnest now, as his team decides who will be walked off the plank.  As his time begins to run out, Obama is becoming increasingly shrill, but the state of the country may immunize at least a few of them against the calls for party unity.  If he fails to get the support among Democrats, expect to hear him ratchet up the pressure on Republicans, trying to drive a few of the weaker-kneed variety into a bit of “bi-partisanship,” which when said by a Democrat to a Republican, means only surrender.

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