Wednesday, April 22, 2009

HIGH ROLLERS. At Pajamas Media, Jennifer Rubin tells the troops that Obama is losing it with the voters. She cites in support of her argument no poll data, but the attributed feelings of a former CIA director, David Brooks, Alice Rivlin (whom Rubin non-quotes seriously out of context), and "editorial boards of major newspapers." She also has PowerPoint slides to illustrate her points ("Problem: Obama may have swapped his newly minted image as a sober commander in chief for the mantle of netroot bomb thrower"). Eventually she generously allows that "None of this is to say that Obama does not enjoy a high degree of personal popularity or that Republicans have recaptured the hearts and minds of all their countrymen."

Rubin was, of course, a McCain dead-ender, and claimed in mid-March that Tedisco might sweep into Congress in his heavily Republican district with the help of the AIG fracas (At last count Tedisco is behind and trying to sue his way into office). Even among conservative columnists she's a cheerleader.

But it's still a bit early in the game to be making these kinds of claims, isn't it? Obama's been President three months. I realize we are in the days of the permanent campaign, and these are eventful times for the nation, but it would seem that, with a disastrous defeat still smoldering behind them and any real elections far in the future, they might be focusing not on predicting Democratic collapse, but on sharpening up their own act. (I did notice their recent rebuilding phase went horribly awry, but that's a reason to try again, not to give up.)

Rubin's bit reminds me of something RedState's Moe Lane recently wrote about the deployment of the ever-popular Dick Cheney to do battle with Obama:
When it comes to the decision of how to prosecute the GWOT, the dispute was never between the progressives and the neoconservatives. It was between the neoconservatives and the outright Jacksonians. Which is why the progressive position is still being ignored in this debate, even though they thought that they had actually won an election or two.
It's an odd enough claim to make as people are actively debating the torture memos of the previous Administration. But "thought that they had actually won an election or two"? It's of a piece with the jilted-lover scenario I brought up earlier: they are full of faith that the country is theirs by right, and will come back of their own accord sooner than later.

The tea parties have been fun and invigorating for their cause, but I seriously think they have one serious drawback for these guys: they reenforce for them the impression that they don't have to do anything except call the faithful to arms. You could say the same for their recent Twitter enthusiasm. Getting names on lists and organizing events is important political work, but so far their only message is We Hate Obama Too, and its success presupposes an utter collapse that even failed Presidents don't always achieve, as the second terms of Clinton and Bush demonstrate. Power always has a trick or two up its sleeve.

In my cynicism I am tempted to say that they are less interested in winning than they are in feeling like winners. And that's an attitude the house can work to their disadvantage.

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