Obamamania took a big hit during the summer Congressional recess and Charles Krauthammer and Peggy Noonan, in their respective styles, have it pegged pretty well. In a word, Obama has shown himself to be a pretty ordinary politician, even boring in Noonan’s terms. And the American people have again demonstrated that they are very difficult to fool, provided they are given enough time to focus on the issue at hand. Fortunately, the Republicans, but mainly the “blue dog” Democrats, gave them enough time to focus. So what now? Well, mainly Obama must make drastic adjustments to his expectations for health care reform to get anything at all, which he will probably do in some shape or form. But more than that, the future of his presidency rests on his ability to recalibrate his assessment of the mood of the electorate, particularly its appetite for more government intrusion into the economy and their lives in general. I have said before that I believe that he doesn’t really know the people he purports to lead, and this has already been vividly demonstrated. He is also running out of time and sympathy for the message that every problem is “Bush’s fault”, and, by year end he will own them all. Underestimating someone who outsmarted and soundly defeated the Clinton machine would not be wise, but the mystique is gone, and it will be very difficult to recapture.
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