A meme is building to the effect that Obama is failing. Would that it were true. It is true that his poll numbers are sliding (yet, not that much from a historical perspective) and even liberals are beginning to bark at him. But that tells only a small part of the tale.
On the contrary, Obama — with a lot of help from Congress and the major media outlets, of course — has yet to lose any big battle. The KSM trial was moved from Manhattan under public pressure, but that is small potatoes by comparison to what he's muscled through Congress.
Anywhere you look, he's gotten almost everything he wanted. The huge Stimulus bill, ObamaCare, the Dodd Fin-Reg bill, and a dozen other smaller issues all attest to that sad fact. He's about to get another $26 billion to buy off local police and teacher unions.
His policies may be opposed by a plurality or more of Americans, but Congress is ignoring that. When Congress does stall, as they have on Cap and Trade, Obama simply ignores the separation of powers and uses Executive orders to achieve the same result, as he did with EPA regulation of CO2.
He wanted Berwick as head of Medicare so he bypassed Congress and made a recess appointment. He wanted Sonia Sotomayer on the Supreme Court. It happened, despite her lying to Congress about her legal philosophy. He wanted Elena Kagan on SCOTUS and he'll get that soon, too, despite her total lack of qualifications.
Sure, Van Jones was forced to resign and Anita Dunn has to hide in the closet while still giving him advice, but those are minor skirmishes. There's a block long line of clones to replace them. And, it's true he was chastised in a minor way for his comments about the Cambridge police handling of Henry Gates. He turned the incident into a photo-op and that was the end of that.
They used to say Reagan was the Teflon President. If so, then Obama is coated with that spray Johnny Carson demonstrated on the Tonight Show decades ago. It decreased friction so much no one could stand on the floor without falling down.
If Reagan could get into a mud puddle and emerge clean, Obama can stay in the pig pen and still make farmers everywhere his slaves with the stroke of a pen. Obama took heat for his sloppy handling of the BP oil spill. Yet, even after losing two legal challenges to his Interior Secretary's moratorium, drilling rigs are still leaving the Gulf for Africa and elsewhere. Don't expect drilling to resume anytime soon.
Obama may be getting less popular personally as time goes on, but it's having little effect so far on his ability to get the things he wants. Why should it? Except for the minor detail of getting elected, he never cared what the American people, or anyone else, thought anyway. With a Democratic Congress who shares his attitude solidly with him, there's no reason to expect any slowdown in statism until at least November.
The coming election could help, certainly. Still, even if — as many are confidently predicting — Republicans gain a majority in the House, (and possibly even the Senate), it will not spell the end of Obama's victories. As with the Gulf oil moratoria, the EPA rulings, and the semi-nationalization of the auto companies, he's shown a clear willingness to skirt the law to achieve his desires.
The largely forgotten Constitution won't stop him until or unless the Supreme Court starts knocking down his decisions. Unfortunately, don't hold your breath; history is not on our side here. The men in black uphold the 2nd Amendment one week and ignore the 5th the next. (See, Henry Mark Holzer's Sweet Land of Liberty for 100 more examples from the past century.)
Even with increased Republican resistance after November the trend is likely to continue, sad to say. Republican politicians are still morally weak when it comes to the vulnerability Democrats are expert at exploiting: politicians' faux concern for the welfare of 'the little guy'. Unless the Tea Party sentiments come to dominate the country, men like Boehner and McConnell will always cave in the clutch. They don't have the will or the background to consistently make a principled stand for the rights to private property, voluntary trade, or individual liberty.
I take a back seat to no one in my loathing for Obama's philosophy and actions, and in the desire to see him truly fail (everywhere but Afghanistan). But it does no good to pretend or minimize the danger. It will take extraordinary efforts to stiffen the spines of the Republicans in Congress. Unless something changes, Obama will remain unstoppable until Jan, 2013, and two and a half years is a long time to do damage.
Fortunately, something is changing: the growth rate of the Tea Party movement. If the attention and public protests grow large enough, the mainstream press will no longer be able to vilify or ignore them. Will that happen? That is up to all of us.