Sunday, January 24, 2010

Mr. Cool Gets Hot

Barack Obama is not unfamiliar with delivering big-stakes, high-pressure, bet-the-farm speeches—but the challenges presented by Wednesday’s State of the Union are of a different kind and order of magnitude than he has ever confronted before. In the wake of the smack-upside-the-head loss of Ted Kennedy’s Senate seat last week in Massachusetts, with its dire implications for health-care reform and dark portents for November’s midterm elections, Democrats in Washington and around the nation will be looking for more from Obama than mere eloquence or even passion and conviction. They will be studying him to see if he grasps the magnitude of his and his party’s peril, and trying to discern what he intends to do about it.

...During the campaign, Obama was fond of saying to Axelrod, “This s--t would be really interesting if we weren’t in the middle of it.” He’s even deeper in it today. Unless he finds a way to rise above the Washington cesspool he was elected to drain, and soon, the dung will surely drown him.

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