- It's time to revisit the theme of Barack Obama's would-be decline and its proximate causes. The conservative assessment, exemplified by this Rich Lowry post, is "If he'd taken a more modest approach [on stimulus and "his" health-care plan], he'd probably be in a much stronger position right now." But are these things dragging the president down? The public still blames Bush, not Obama, for the state of the economy. Pluralities believe that the stimulus has had little effect in the short term but will be beneficial in the future -- precisely the White House's message. As to health care, the president is still trusted over Republicans by a 20-point gap, and the public likes the defining features of the proposed reforms. The bottom line is that as long as the economy is crummy, the president's general approval rating will remain tepid at best.
- Health-care reform roundup: The course of the legislation is being shaped by six senators who collectively represent less than 3 percent of the U.S. population; Politico pushes right-wing nonsense in order to "win the morning"; the CBO likes the public option; the concerns of congressional liberals remain irrelevant to our "bipartisan" lovefest; their position on reform notwithstanding, I can sympathize with Blue Dog Democrats who are being terrorized by right-wing thugs; and the RNC embraces Medicare ignorance.
- Ben Smith notes that, unlike his predecessor, President Obama has not made a big deal about domestic terrorism suspects that have been rounded up by law-enforcement agencies. Like the demilitarization of DHS, this represents a shift from viewing terrorism as exclusively a military problem and moving it back to a more law-enforcement-based approach.
- The House voted unanimously to pass a resolution honoring the 50th anniversary of Hawaii's statehood which included language describing it as the birthplace of Barack Obama, 44th president of the United States. Despite this, and despite himself voting for the resolution, Rep. Bill Posey (R-FL) is undeterred in his efforts to force presidential candidates to prove their constitutional eligibility. Given that this is Posey's freshman term in Congress, I guess we'll never know whether he would have submitted his bill to make sure Clinton, Bush, or John McCain were eligible.
- Remainders: Uncontroversial Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor gets the thumbs-up from the Senate Judiciary Committee; Jim Bunning is not running for re-election in Kentucky; a pointless border wall is still being built; I'd love to know what color the sky is in James Inhofe's world; and please Fox News, don't ever change.
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