By FRED BARNES
One insight distinguished Barack Obama from the other presidential candidates last year. While he lacked experience or a special grasp of issues, Mr. Obama said he uniquely understood what ails Washington, and what was causing the endless squabbling and bitter stalemate on important issues. If elected, he said he would change the way business is done in Washington, end the partisan deadlock and the ideological polarization.
"Change must come to Washington," Mr. Obama said in a June 2008 speech. "I have consistently said when it comes to solving problems," he told Jake Tapper of ABC News that same month, "I don't approach this from a partisan or ideological perspective."
Mr. Obama also decried the prominent role played by lobbyists. "Lobbyists aren't just a part of the system in Washington, they're part of the problem," Mr. Obama said in a May 2008 campaign speech.
I was reminded of this last statement by a recent headline on the front page of USA Today. It read: "Health care fight swells lobbying. Number of organizations hiring firms doubles in '09." The article suggested that what Mr. Obama had promised to fix had only gotten worse.
Indeed that's the case. Washington is more partisan than ever, and more polarized. Even on a purely procedural vote to begin Senate debate on health-care reform this past Saturday, every Democrat voted one way (yes), every Republican the other (no).
With rare exception and with no objection from the president, Democrats draft bills with no input from Republicans. In return, Republicans vote in lockstep against Democratic legislation. Every House Republican voted against the stimulus, all but one against liberal health-care reform, and all but eight against cap-and-trade legislation that passed the House earlier this year.
Why has the president's publicly expressed vision of a kinder, gentler Washington failed to materialize? I think Mr. Obama—while hardly the only person at fault—is chiefly responsible.
He might have spawned a different Washington, a less divided town with Democrats firmly in charge but Republicans actively involved. The bonus for Mr. Obama and Democrats would be higher popularity and better prospects in 2010 midterm elections. Instead, the president made three strategic mistakes—or, really, misreadings of the political landscape—and they've come back to haunt him and his party. Click here to read rest of article.
Social Media Training - Eagle Forum's Executive Director Ruth Reynolds leading social media training at Eagle Council in St. Louis.
8 months ago