Obama is falling and contrary to what anyone might have expected, it was not the marginalized Republican party under the inept leadership of Michael Steele or its stable of Congressional Republicans providing nothing but token opposition, who gave him that big push. While the official Republican leadership sat in the corner, information flew back and forth between bloggers, activists and talk show hosts and the result was an authentic grass roots movement.
The Republican leadership is almost as nervous, torn between seizing the moment or standing aside to avoid being accused of "extremism". The same folks who thought the best way to run a Presidential campaign was by being as inoffensive as possible, who think Meghan McCain represents the future of the Republican Party and that public opinion is determined by the op ed pages of the New York Times and the Washington Post, naturally have no clue how to respond to the situation. The Republican leadership has become detached from its base and increasingly has no idea how to connect to the concerns of ordinary Americans. By stepping back from the fight, they lost the chance to set the agenda, and now the agenda is being set for them.
But as appealing as populist rhetoric about fiscal conservatism may be, the whole power of being a congressman rests in handing out pork. Even Ron Paul who tried to brand himself as a leader in fiscal conservatism turned out to have his share of earmarks and family members on the payroll. And that unfortunately is the default standard for politicians, and though some may hide it better than others, a politician is a man who works on your payroll to spend your money on behalf of his supporters, which is why expecting fiscal conservatism from congress is like expecting a lion to go vegetarian.
Politicians listen to their constituents when they say they want lower taxes, less regulation, less immigration and no NAFTA. Sometimes they even mimic the rhetoric or even get out front to lead the parade, but when they're in the Senate cloakroom, it quickly becomes a whole different ballgame. Yet politicians can't do anything except on behalf of the people-- and rarely has there been such a showing of the people coming out to denounce a policy supposedly being enacted on their behalf. The Town Hall protests tore away the philanthropic facade behind ObamaCare. It was not some imaginary wealthy "Brooks Brothers Brigade" that went into the Town Halls, but ordinary working class Americans who firmly and vocally said, "No Thanks" to the ObamaCare boondoggle. And that has become a major gamechanger.
Obama and his cronies were counting on fighting the Republican party. They were counting on taking swipes at Limbaugh or Beck. They were not counting on serious public opposition. Denouncing the health care protesters as right wing extremists did not help. Trying to claim that the Obama socialist photoshop was racist was a desperate move that jumped the race card shark. By their very presence, the protests made ObamaCare controversial, and simply denouncing them was not going to be able to reverse that. The more the media denounced them and the more SEIU thugs attacked them; the more the general public came to see ObamaCare as a controversial program.
While the Republican party may have been neutered for now, Obama finds himself in the very uncomfortable position of playing, "Obama vs the People". The Obama Administration was counting on being able to run up the tab by the trillions with no serious congressional opposition. But while that worked long enough to subsidize UAW auto companies and bailouts for Obama's Wall Street buddies, after two thirds of a year in which the economic situation has kept sliding downward, the American people are grumbling about a lack of results.
Like most politicians, Obama does not understand that the voters did not put him into office so that he could run up a deficit of trillions of dollars composed of pork, giveaways and senseless centralization. Obama ran for office promising hope and change. The only things he delivered were payoffs to Wall Street donors and UAW union featherbedders. And just as he was about to deliver a whopping payoff to his SEIU union Marxist buddies, the whole thing collapsed because the American people reached the point where they had enough.
Obama's egotism and immaturity let him gain power, without understanding that being in charge, also means being responsible when things go wrong. And in his increasingly pathetic attempts to try and blame Bush for his own deficit spending, Obama showed that he did not know how to function without someone like Bush up top to blame the whole thing on. But now Obama is Bush, stuck with the big chair that he doesn't actually know how to use, and clueless about what it takes to pass legislation, because between photo op appearances and running for office, he had never really passed any. The State Senate assigned him credit for other people's legislation. In the United States Senate, he ran for higher office after only a 100 days in the chamber. Like a precocious third grader who suddenly finds himself in college, Obama lacks the skill set to get things done. The Peter Principle may have gotten him this far, but now that he's here, Obama doesn't even know how to do what any normal Senator knows how to do, how to work with congress to get legislation passed. And the same media which sneered at McCain's claims that he had the experience that Obama didn't, has now been forced to admit that the lack of focus and credibility at the White House level is a serious problem.
While Obama was still coasting on his "historic election", a lot of congressmen were getting ready for their nerve-racking midterm elections. The Republicans were still shellshocked, and liberal Democrats were arrogant, but the conservative Democrats who had given their party the majority in 06 and 08, felt vulnerable. Cut out of the loop by an increasingly radicalized White House and congressional leadership, and threatened by midterm elections that traditionally cut down seats belonging to the ruling party, they became the legislative weak point in ObamaCare. And once the Town Hall protests made it safer to do nothing, than to do something, ObamaCare hit an invisible brick wall.
Using the media, Obama squashed most opposition by established politicians, but he has now come face to face with a vocal popular revolt at the Town Hall protests and a quieter but vaster sense of dissatisfaction by the American electorate. Republican and Independent approval is peeling away, followed by that of many Democrats, leaving the naked emperor cloaked only in his own base and without a national mandate for change. And even his own supporters are beginning to suspect that Obama may have nothing more to offer beyond magazine covers and high minded rhetoric.
The White House has tried to fight back by targeting first Limbaugh and then Beck, demonstrating a profound contempt for the views of the grass roots opposition, which they imagine will go away if a few talk show hosts will just stop "inciting it." But what the left fails to understand is that if Limbaugh and Beck went off the air tomorrow, the situation would not change in any significant way. Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck are not some sort of aberrant phenomenon, they are a reflection of the views, fears and concerns of their listeners. And those views and concerns are not going away. The battle is a battle of ideas, and while the Democrats occupy the executive and legislative castles, they are finding that those positions may give them power, but also invest them with responsibilities that they are simply not capable of living up to... in the middle of a crisis.
Throughout it all Obama has relied on his media manufactured charisma to shield a multitude of sins. But incompetence is one sin that cannot be covered by magazine covers. In the Senate, Obama could have gotten by easily enough. As a Vice President, he could have posed endlessly for magazine covers while accomplishing nothing. But in the Oval Office, he had to deliver, and the only thing he delivered was the hijacking of America at the hands of his radical legion of czars. Now is the moment of truth where Obama faces the people, and begins to deal with the consequences of the disaster he has created, the deficit, the lost jobs and the economic crisis he tried to exploit for political gain. The case of Obama vs the People has just begun.