Wednesday, August 12, 2009

August 12, 2009

      These are the dog days of August.  It was 97 yesterday. Cooler today, they say, only 94 or 95. If it weren't for the invention of air conditioning, you know they'd have moved the capitol by now. Congress, which sometimes does foolish things, always acts wisely during August. They go home.      It's the dog days for the president too.  Mr. Obama's poll ratings are down, dipping toward 50%.  But we should remember, as veteran reporters Dan Balz and Haynes Johnson point out in their book about the campaign, "The Battle for America 2008," he started out as longshot to get to the White House. Hillary Clinton, of course, was the early favorite.      We don't know a whole lot about President Obama yet;  his presidency is only a few months old.  But my guess is that he is smart, savvy, and cool-- that in Harry Truman's old phrase, he can stand the heat and won't have to get out of the kitchen.     The real problem may lie with the Congress, which increasingly seems antiquated and partisan.  When I lived in Britain years ago, I wasn't a great fan of  their parliamentary system, under which you're expected to vote the party line and it's a big deal if you don't.  But watching the Blue Dogs, the Orange Raccoons and the rest, I have to wonder.      Still, I'm enough of an optimist to think some health care bill will pass, hopefully with national insurance included.  One of the puzzles is that polls show it's we old folks who most oppose that, but of course we already have it:  it's called Medicare.  For this codger, at least, it's worked pretty well.      Anyway, before long it will be Labor Day.  Congress will come back to wrestle with health care and other issues. The weather will moderate.  Footballs will fill the air.  Mr. Obama will get some of what he wants.  The country will stand
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