Against the backdrop of double-digit inflation, a sagging economy, the president’s failure to enact healthcare reform and festering discontent over Obama’s spending policies and industry takeovers, the voters are sending a message. No longer will the president’s calm, measured words about facilitating change be enough to carry the day. He must actually accomplish something of note, or else the Democrats will face stiff challenges in the 2010 midterms, where the entire House of Representatives, a third of the Senate and two-thirds of gubernatorial posts are up for grabs.
Tellingly, even the Democrats seem to be treating the New Jersey and Virginia election results as a rebuke of the Obama administration. The day after the election results came in, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) told the press that Obama’s signature proposal — healthcare reform — may not get done before the end of the year. This sends a clear message that Democratic legislators are hesitant to attach themselves to Obama’s controversial program before the 2010 midterms.
These signals are astounding. A year ago, the country was aglow with the idea of electing this country’s first America black president. In one pull of the lever, hundreds of thousands of white voters felt as if they were wiping away their collective guilt about America’s deplorable racial past. Call it affirmative action — nearly everyone gave Obama the benefit of the doubt, notwithstanding his slight credentials.
But a year has passed, and the president who promised profound change has achieved little. The narrative is no longer about electing the first American who happens to be black. It’s about achieving policy successes. Obama has come up short, setting the stage for what seemed unthinkable just nine months ago — a rebuke of the Democratic Party in the 2010 mid terms.
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