As Democrats digested the news that Sens. Chris Dodd and Byron Dorgan would not seek re-election, The Washington Post's Sally Quinn reported that White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel intends to leave after he has served 18 months and possibly run for mayor in Chicago. Are President Obama's allies abandoning him?
Get ready for political upheaval: The surprises are only beginning, says Fred Siegel in City Journal. The retirements of Dodd and Dorgan mark the start of what looks to be "an extraordinarily intense and unpredictable political year," as Americans react to "President Obama’s ambitious but ill-conceived agenda." In New York state, for example, congressional Dems who voted for ObamaCare could get the boot as "squeezed taxpayers" find out how much health reform will cost them.
"An upheaval to remember"
Obama's not being abandoned: Don't believe everything you hear, says Adam Howard in The Nation. The mainstream press is "going wild with speculation" that the retirements of Sens. Chris Dodd and Byron Dorgan "herald doom" for Obama and the Democrats in this year's midterm elections. But don't forget that "six, count 'em (Bunning, Brownback, LeMieux, Bond, Gregg, and Voinovich) six, GOP senators are retiring," and with Obama's approval rating still around 50 percent the outlook for Democrats is far rosier than it was before the 1994 Republican landslide.
"2010 isn't 1994...yet"
Whatever Obama's popularity, Americans oppose his agenda: It's clear that "the American people are sick" of being tugged toward the left, says Jonah Goldberg in National Review. "Obama’s signature domestic-policy goal, health-care reform, is decidedly unpopular." And Americans who wonder whether the Christmas bombing suspect knows of other planned attacks are second-guessing Obama's ban on waterboarding. So much for the liberal revolution.
"For liberalism, it’s hangover time"
The grass roots are failing Obama: Obama's inauguration could have been the start of a "new progressive era," says Harold Meyerson in The Washington Post. But "despite the impending enactment of a genuinely epochal expansion of health care," liberals are getting demoralized. Why? The gigantic liberal grass-roots network that backed Obama's campaign has failed to pressure Congress to move his agenda forward, and without a movement behind him Obama can only do so much.
"Without a movement, progressives can't aid Obama's agenda"
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