Today Barack Obama may get a rude awakening. As Jay Cost notes:
Coakley will rightly get most of the blame should Brown actually pull off what once seemed to be an impossible victory. Yet much of the responsibility will have to rest with Barack Obama, who has guided his party so poorly that it is having trouble making an appeal to voters in Massachusetts.
Cost argues that Obama made grievous errors in dumping bipartisanship, making Reid and Pelosi the de facto “prime ministers,” and coming up with an agenda ill-suited to the times. Well, we’ve come a long way. It seems like just yesterday that Obama was peddling his “judgment” in lieu of “experience,” right? It turns out that he has neither.
The judgment errors are many and serious. He misread his mandate, confused campaign rhetoric for persuasive communication, overexposed himself, refused to let go of his juvenile fixation on blaming George W. Bush for all the problems he faced, replaced bipartisanship with hyper-partisanship, and declined to take seriously early-warning signs sent by the voters in New Jersey and Virginia. The common thread through all of this: arrogance. “We won!” he pronounced early on and therefore never seemed to take seriously criticism or objections, whether from the other party, concerned Democrats, the media, or even polls. He simply plunged ahead, oblivious to the backlash that was building.
Insularity has been the order of the day. And we will soon know whether it has cost him his filibuster-proof Senate majority and his signature agenda item. Three years is a long time in politics, so it’s possible that Obama may yet recover and succeed, but only if he wakes from his political slumber and learns from his many costly misjudgments.