"Barack Obama’s Big Bang is beginning to backfire," said Mike Allen and Jim Vandehei in Politico. The president's "plans for rapid, once-in-a-generation overhauls of energy, financial regulation, and health care are running into stiff resistance." Obama was hoping to "use a season of economic anxiety to enact sweeping changes the public likely wouldn’t stomach in ordinary times," but the public's mood has shifted—"from optimism about Obama’s possibility to concern he may be overreaching."
Republicans have got Obama on the run, said Fred Barnes in The Wall Street Journal. The media denounced former vice president Dick Cheney for challenging Obama's "inclination to go soft in the war on terror," then criticized former GOP vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin when her controversial statement about "death panels" exposed flaws in Obama's health-care reform plans. But guess what—in both cases, the Republicans' arguments "carried the day."
President Obama has indeed had some "setbacks" recently, said Jason Zengerle in The New Republic, but that's no reason for Democrats to "hit the panic button." A year ago people were "freaking out" because they thought Obama was bungling his presidential campaign—and we all know how that turned out. And while Obama has hit some bumps on health care and Afghanistan, "it's quite possible, maybe even likely, that the defining issue/event of the Obama administration has yet to even occur."
Even if Obama has to lower his sights, said Doyle McManus in the Los Angeles Times, he's likely to succeed where George W. Bush failed. Both came to office hoping to pass major reform "that touched every American family," but Bush's Social Security proposals "died without Congress ever taking a vote." Obama has left himself "room to downsize," so even if he has to drop the government-run "public option" insurance plan, he should be able to get some kind of health-care reform passed and "claim a victory."
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- After Ferguson: Stop deferring to the cops
- How to adopt the perfect rescue dog
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- Why the poor can't catch a break on Thanksgiving
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- Is it now OK to have sex with animals?
- The lessons of Japan's latest recession
- The hilarious hypocrisy of Republicans complaining about the imperial presidency
- Ferguson riots were terrible — but this racist reaction was worse
Subscribe to the Week