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Thoughts on Obama post-Massachusetts

Here is an update of my charts of the polling results from the folks at Rasmussen. Obama's popularity continues to trend down, and the stock market this past week cast a big negative vote on where he is likely headed. Apparently he has decided that the Democrats lost Massachusetts because the electorate is still mad at Bush. His ego is so big that he can't allow himself to even think that it was a vote against him and his cherished healthcare reform. Now he wants to distract everyone's attention from the fiasco by pulling a standard populist ploy and beating up on the banks. When will this guy ever learn? As Charles Krauthammer notes, "You would think lefties could discern a proletarian vanguard when they see one."

If I could paraphrase the late Jude Wanniski, the job of a politician is not to lead the people, it is to figure out where the people want to go and then help them get there.

Obama's headed in the wrong direction, but that doesn't mean all is lost. On the contrary. The electorate is jumping up and down and waving its arms, and not all politicians are deaf or blind to the message. There's a new politics afoot, and what is happening on the political margin is not Democrats vs. Republicans. It's now about more government programs vs. fewer; government bureaucrats making decisions vs. individuals making decisions about what's in their best interest;  more spending vs. less; free markets vs. mandates; more income redistribution vs. less; higher taxes vs. lower taxes; and more individual freedom vs. less. It's no longer about abortion or same-sex marriage or gay rights or welfare. Our fiscal situation demands that we put aside the social issues for now and focus on the role of government in our lives.

Obama needs to refocus and perhaps triangulate as Bill Clinton did following the Democrats' trouncing in the 1994 elections. If he doesn't, his party and the electorate will rise up against him, and the Massachusetts massacre will be repeated. Sooner or later he will need new advisors, and he will need to focus on the economy and drop healthcare. More spending programs and populist attacks on banks and big business won't work anymore. He won't be able to push his former agenda any further—he's got to find a new one, and it has to be more palatable to those who want less government and more individual freedom. At the worst we will end up with gridlock, and if we're lucky we may see Obama & Co. moving in Clintonesque fashion to the center, where things can get done. Whatever the case, it's a huge improvement considering where we've come from.

Optimism is still the order of the day.

To close, here are some timely quotes from Ronald Reagan that are worth repeating:

"Socialism only works in two places: Heaven where they don't need it and hell where they already have it."

"Here's my strategy on the Cold War: We win, they lose."

'The most terrifying words in the English language are: I'm from the government and I'm here to help."

'The trouble with our liberal friends is not that they're ignorant; it's just that they know so much that isn't so."

"Of the four wars in my lifetime, none came about because the  U.S. was too strong."
"Government is like a baby: An alimentary canal with a big appetite at one end and no sense of responsibility at the other."

'The nearest thing to eternal life we will ever see on this earth is a government program."

"It has been said that politics is the second oldest profession. I have learned that it bears a striking resemblance to the first."

"Government's view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it."

"Politics is not a bad profession. If you succeed, there are many rewards; if you disgrace yourself, you can always write a book."
HT: Don T.

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