A year and a bit ago, when Barack Obama was running for president, the country was worried but upbeat. "Yes we can!" they would shout at his rallies. Not this year. "The Union," the New York Times editorialized, "is in a state of deep and justifiable anxiety about jobs and mortgages and two long, bloody wars." That seems about right.
And the president last night seemed in a fighting mood. He challenged the Republicans for being obstructionist--no argument there, only three GOP senators voted for his stimulus bill and none for his health care plan. And he criticized his own Democrats for sometimes seeming to "run for the hills" rather than get tough.
The president promised to try to fix things. He has even scheduled a meeting tomorrow with House Republicans. The Times' Gail Collins asked, "Have you ever seen all the House Republicans in one place? It's like a herd of rabid otters." I wish I'd written that.
Signs of hope? I don't know. David Broder reports in today's Washington Post about a proposal to appoint a commission to examine government spending and revenue. If 14 of the 18 members agreed on a recommendation it would go straight to the Congress for an up or down, no amendments, vote. This sensible proposal lost, of course. Got a majority in the Senate, but not the 60 votes needed to end a filibuster.
I'm retired and don't cover Congress anymore, but it seems worse to me than it used to be--more partisan, less interested in legislation. Poor Mr. Obama. As George H.W. Bush once said, sir, "Nobody said it was going to be easy. Nobody was right."
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