Friday, May 28, 2010

Friday's fish fry

Concerning the oil spill in the Gulf, Rich Lowry has a good reminder today:
"If the presidency of the United States is the most powerful and majestic office on earth, it does not confer omnipotence on the mere mortal who happens to occupy it.
Perhaps Obama himself needs to be reminded. A White House aide told a reporter that the president, in a fit of frustration, barked to his aides during one meeting, “Plug the damn hole.” That’s a meaningless order, with the world’s best engineers already desperately trying to solve a hellish technical problem."

Meanwhile, Peggy Noonan thinks this spill crystallizes a whole bunch of big trouble for Mr. Obama:
"I don't see how the president's position and popularity can survive the oil spill. This is his third political disaster in his first 18 months in office. And they were all, as they say, unforced errors, meaning they were shaped by the president's political judgment and instincts. There was the tearing and unnecessary war over his health-care proposal and its cost. There was his day-to-day indifference to the views and hopes of the majority of voters regarding illegal immigration. And now the past almost 40 days of dodging and dithering in the face of an environmental calamity. I don't see how you politically survive this. The president, in my view, continues to govern in a way that suggests he is chronically detached from the central and immediate concerns of his countrymen. This is a terrible thing to see in a political figure, and a startling thing in one who won so handily and shrewdly in 2008. But he has not, almost from the day he was inaugurated, been in sync with the center. The heart of the country is thinking each day about A, B and C, and he is thinking about X, Y and Z. They're in one reality, he's in another."

She goes on to say:
"I wonder if the president knows what a disaster this is not only for him but for his political assumptions. His philosophy is that it is appropriate for the federal government to occupy a more burly, significant and powerful place in America—confronting its problems of need, injustice, inequality. But in a way, and inevitably, this is always boiled down to a promise: "Trust us here in Washington, we will prove worthy of your trust." Then the oil spill came and government could not do the job, could not meet need, in fact seemed faraway and incapable: "We pay so much for the government and it can't cap an undersea oil well!"

Now I don't know if the American people as a whole are yet at where Noonan thinks they are. I tend to think Americans are blaming BP right now more than Obama. But it could be that Americans are heading in Noonan's direction. Why indeed did it take Obama until May 1 to name an administration point man for this disaster? And isn't there a contradiction in Obama's position right now? On the one hand, it's BP's fault. On the other hand, Obama claims, he and his administration are on this, have "got" this, and will solve it. Well, in that case...the longer it DOESN'T get solved, the more the American people WILL blame Obama.

In polling news--more reminders today of why Republicans can't be overconfident in 2010. For example, here we see that the Sestak/Toomey senate race in Pennsylvania will be a dogfight.

So too will be the battle any Republican will have in Nevada against Harry Reid.

We shouldn't be surprised. Our opponents have either incumbency or the White House (or both) helping them. It is good though to see that Harry Reid (for example) STILL doesn't poll above 40%...