Friday, October 30, 2009

Time to scratch that sheen. Olympics, part 2

If Republicans seize the governors' mansions in both states, the embarrassment will be acute. That is just what happened in both New Jersey and Virginia back in 1993 before the Republicans seized control of the US Congress the following year, dealing a crippling blow to the newly minted Democratic president of the time, Bill Clinton.

But even losing one of them next week will scratch the sheen of President Obama, who seems, one year on from his election, to be hovering in the view of most Americans between competent and fumbling, notwithstanding the high esteem in which he is still held abroad and, of course, in the minds of the Nobel committee.

And, apparently, also in the eyes of Douglas Brinkley, whom David Usbourne quotes for his report.

"Obama has created an atmosphere of no fear," Douglas Brinkley, a history professor at Rice University and political biographer, told the National Journal. "Nobody is really worried about the revenge of Barack Obama, because he is not a vengeful man. That's what we love about him; he is so high-minded, and a conciliatory guy, and he tries to govern with a sense of consensus – all noble goals, but they don't get you very far in this Washington knifing environment."

That while, to quote James Taranto (h/t to him for this post, btw), "this scrappy insurgency is waging war on at least three powerful institutions all at once: Fox, the AP and Sarah Palin's Facebook page!"