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Presidency

Auld Acquaintances the President Wishes he Could Forget . . .

As 2010 wanes, the UK's Telegraph correspondent in Washington, Nile Gardiner, writes about the many reasons making it unlikely we'll see the Presidency of Barack Obama waxing in 2011.  He argues that "liberal hype" about a political comeback for the President in 2011 is seriously wishful thinking, at best, and he lists four significant points--any one of which by itself would be sufficient to be a game changer in 2012.  It is hard to see how Obama can fight off political disaster--even supposing massive Republican stupidity--when confronted with all four of these facts. 

Most significant in his list of reasons for Obama's impending political doom is number two on the list:  the fact that self-identified "conservatives" now outnumber self-identified "liberals" by a ratio of 2.5:1.  Of course, this does NOT mean that Republicans outstrip Democrats by similar margins or that their path, going forward, is a primrose one.  I think what this really demonstrates is that the American people are in the midst of a serious struggle to figure out what it is that they stand for--what it means to be an American.  Obama, Pelosi and Reed have performed the extremely useful service of clarification.  We may not fully know what we are, but it is pretty safe to say that after 2010, we certainly know what we are not.  If the political story of 2010 was the story of Americans figuring that much out, the political stories of 2011 and 2012 promise to be even more interesting as we begin to rediscover our political heritage and argue its merits.  Politics can never, exactly, be like one gigantic graduate seminar; but the last year and a half have really seemed like something close to it.  I hope we're all ready when the real tests come.


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