Barack Obama and Joe Biden are out replaying favorite scenes from 2008, but for crowds of Democrats and independent voters, it is as if the sound has been turned off. Their base has gone deaf.
“When I talk to Democrats around the country,” the President says in a Rolling Stone interview, “I tell them, ‘Guys, wake up here. We have accomplished an incredible amount in the most adverse circumstances imaginable.’ I came in and had to prevent a Great Depression, restore the financial system so that it functions, and manage two wars.”
He concedes “there were some areas where we could have picked a fight with Republicans that might have gotten our base feeling good, but would have resulted in us not getting legislation done.”
Joe Biden, as is his wont, puts it more bluntly and tells Democrats to “stop whining.”
But the epidemic of deaf, depressed Democrats is not likely to abate between now and November, and there is nothing in the new health care reforms to treat their condition.
If anything, the President’s pyrrhic victory in passing that legislation, rather than concentrating on economic issues, is a root cause of his dilemma now–a year-long spectacle of Republicans yowling about “Obamacare” while Democrats butchered and bargained over thousands of incomprehensible pages to buy off their own dissidents.
If the White House had set out to stage scenes that would lead to voter disgust and disenchantment, the results couldn’t have surpassed the months leading to passage of health care reform that few voters understand–leaving only images of an ugly process and few signs of the progress that the new laws represent.
Was passing something rather than nothing worth it?