- The Washington Times - Friday, November 6, 2009


Neither Barack Obama nor Nancy Pelosi can be as clueless as they want us to think they are. The White House said the president was so uninterested in the results on election night that he watched a documentary on the ‘08 presidential campaign, no doubt eager to see who won. Mzz Pelosi, as oblivious of the scoreboard as a ditzy cheerleader unaware of which team has the ball, insists her side won the night.

Mr. Obama continues to campaign for the job the rest of us thought we gave him a year ago. The day after the Republicans sent wake-up calls from Virginia and New Jersey, he was back on the stump, working up a sweat — or at least a gentlemanly perspiration — and breathing hard against George W. Bush.

“One year ago,” he told voters in Wisconsin who probably knew it already, “Americans all across this country went to the polls and cast ballots for the future they wanted to see.” When he finally got to Washington, he told them, he discovered “a financial crisis that threatened to plunge our economy into a Great Depression, the worst that we’ve seen in generations. We had record deficits, two wars, frayed alliances around the world.”

Some of this was even true. Americans had, in fact, gone to the polls the year before, and had in fact cast ballots for “the future they wanted to see.” Very few voters ever cast ballots for a future they don’t want to see. But the rest of his stump speech was a good deal of the windy exaggeration expected during a campaign. But like it or not, Mr. Obama is the president now, and the opportunities and failures at the White House are his. George W. is back home in Texas, where he no longer frightens women and horses. We’ve still got record deficits, two wars and now our allies don’t know what to believe. Someone should break the news, gently, to the president that the election is over and he won.

Rhetoric, even soaring messianic rhetoric, ultimately makes thin, watery soup. Mr. Obama has a gift for shutting his ears against what he doesn’t want to hear. The man who listened to the Rev. Jeremiah Wright every Sunday morning for 20 years and never heard any of the preacher’s signature rants against Jews and the evil white man insists he didn’t see or hear any of the bad news for Democrats in this week’s election results.

Some badly frightened Democrats tried to find good things in the details of the Tuesday night returns. Sen. Robert Menendez of New Jersey called the results “a mixed bag” and in no way a referendum on the Obama agenda. Sen. Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, the Little Miss Sunshine of the Senate, agreed. Sen. Harry Reid of Nevada scoffed that the verdicts in Virginia and New Jersey were “just local.” Why worry about the results of a race for county assessor?

But there are wiser Democratic assessments for the president to consider. Sen. Jim Webb of Virginia, who owes his own election to the popular view that he is made of tougher stuff than the usual Democratic candidate, says the results will “energize” Republicans and persuade Democrats to get their message “straighter.”

But this is President Obama’s dilemma. His “message” is his agenda, and that’s the whole point of why a community organizer ran for president in the first place. He can dither about sending enough troops to Afghanistan - the “necessary war” he talked about last year is the irrelevant war this year - but he can’t dither away his unexpected opportunity to recast the nation into a harmless Little America, small and weak so that it can never again offend the cultured sensitivities of the Swedens or Lower Voltas or Luxembourgs of the world. It may be now or never.

Nancy Pelosi and her purveyors of fairy-tale economics in the House understand this. The longer Congress takes to create the vast bureaucracy to “reform” health care, the greater the likelihood that common sense and a righteously angered public will kill the evil scheme. Most people look at the $1.05 trillion - that’s trillion, with a ‘t,’ not a ‘b’ - health care “reform” and see a debt to crush their grandchildren. The Republicans got a lesson in the elections, too. The natives are restless; Barack Obama’s windy eloquence and his 25-cent promises of hope and change are stale and getting a little moldy. Even credulity has its limits. But winning in spite of themselves won’t be enough to resurrect the Republican corpse. Unattended corpses get moldy, too.

Wesley Pruden is editor emeritus of The Washington Times.

• Wesley Pruden can be reached at wpruden@washingtontimes.com.

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