- The Washington Times - Friday, March 12, 2010

Almost nobody is happy with what Sarah Palin dismisses as President Obama’s “hopey-changy stuff,” but the worst outbreak of hopey-changy just won’t stay dead. The president’s health care “reform,” regarded as road kill only a month ago, is headed for a close vote in the House that he might still win.

There’s abundant evidence that Mr. Obama’s toxic agenda seems to be disintegrating before our very eyes. Democrats with a bad case of nerves (this includes most of them) finally admit that Obamacare has “problems,” and several Democratic office-holders in Missouri suddenly had business elsewhere when the president showed up for a rally in St. Louis this week. Robin Carnahan, the Missouri secretary of state who is the leading Democratic candidate in pursuit of the Senate seat that Kit Bond, a Republican, is relinquishing, wanted ever so to be there but she had to wash her hair, or buy a stamp, or couldn’t find a taxi to get to the airport for a flight home. Or whatever.

Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas, the most vulnerable Democratic incumbent, got roughed up at a tea party and is running now against the Democratic Party. “I don’t answer to my party,” she says. “I answer to Arkansas.” Actually, she slavishly answered to her party until she stumbled into the tea party, and, as they say down on the farm, “got a little religion.” Her free fall in the public-opinion polls continues.

The president no doubt feels her pain, since it’s similar to his own. A new Gallup Poll finds that the president’s approval rating has fallen to 46 percent, against a 45 percent disapproval. Some polls find bad news worse than that. Some Democrats ask bluntly whether Mr. Obama is losing his base. Indeed, the only people more contemptuous of the president than the conservatives are the liberals on the president’s left-most flank. A growing number of them, even those who insist on calling themselves progressives, warn - or boast - that they’ve had it with the messiah of Hyde Park and intend to pay him back in November with the handiest club they can find, i.e., sacrificial congressional candidates.

“The liberal wing of the Democratic Party is now in shock,” Chris Bowland of Santa Rosa, Calif., once a community activist like Barack Obama, tells USA Today. “It’s very clear that the party hates us and has no respect for [the] base. … Obama has broken his campaign promises and now, ‘We’ve had it. I’m done.’ ”

The conventional rap on the president is that he has been aloof and disengaged, reluctant to impose discipline and leadership, and allowed his radical agenda to drift into the congressional swamp presided over by Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid.

But wait. Maybe he hasn’t been so disengaged as the conventional wisdom supposes. His strategy of imposing no discipline on Congress may be a deliberate act of leadership. Barack Obama came to Washington with an agenda from his community-organizing days. He made his bones with Saul Alinsky, the evangelist of radical politics who put down the blueprint for making America over into a European-style welfare state, with commissars empowered to supervise every detail of how Americans would live lives regimented for their own good. The debate over health care reform has been messy and often chaotic, but here we are a year later and Barack Obama and his radical agenda might yet win. If it does, he will have put in place the structure for taking over everything else.

His remark several months ago that he was willing to be a one-term president if that’s what it takes to reorder America was dismissed as an irrelevancy, an aside from a man having a bad hair day. But the remark revealed an insight into the man and his mission. Karl Rove, “the architect” of George W. Bush’s two successful campaigns, thinks an Obama victory over Obamacare would be a pyrrhic victory, that it might insure a Republican takeover of both House and Senate. Perhaps. But it might be a price that the president is willing to pay to get his structure in place.

The Republicans could come to office determined to repeal the monstrous “reform,” but that would be easier said than done. A new Republican Congress wouldn’t have the numbers to override a presidential veto. Besides, boldness is not a Republican virtue. The Republican takeover of ‘94 is not a reassuring omen. Killing the corpse graveyard-dead is easier now.

Wesley Pruden is editor emeritus of The Washington Times.

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