Struggling For Traction

Republicans are trying their best to make themselves into the party that's paying the most attention to troubles with money from the Wall Street bailout.  Whether they'll succeed is another question.

Right now, not much is sticking to President Obama.  Republicans are trying hard, but the polls continue to indicate that Democrats and Independents remain solidly behind Obama and his plans.

Attacking Obama over shaking hands with Hugo Chavez excites many die hard Republicans, but I'm not sure that's going to change things for non-GOP'ers.

"Obama Skates While Right Fumes" read the headline on on Wednesday afternoon, in a story about how Republicans haven't been able to truly land a punch on Obama.

(Before you scream that Politico is nothing but a bastion of left wing, Obama supporting bedwetters, many Democrats in DC regard Politico as a web site that reliably skews towards Republicans and against the White House.  You don't have to believe it, but that's what I have heard many times up here.)

I've said it before and I will say it again, Obama reminds me of Ronald Reagan in the way that he aggravates the opposing party and how the opposition just can't "get" him the way they think they should.

I remember very clearly when Reagan beat Carter in 1980, there was talk amongst Democrats that it was okay, because they were happy that Carter lost, and anyhow, that Reagan would easily be defeated in 1984.

Instead, Democrats were out of the White House for 12 years.

One area where Republicans in the Congress are trying to angle for advantage is on the Wall Street bailout issue, as they try to assume the role of budget watchdog.

The problem is that Democrats and the White House are doubling those GOP efforts as well, as both sides position themselves for a future battle over a stimulus project gone bad.

Barring some kind of catastrophic event that we don't anticipate right now, I think there really is only one issue that is going to determine whether Barack Obama keeps flying high in the polls and at the ballot box.

That's the economy.  If it's still bad in a couple of years, it will mean trouble for him.  If it's better than it was when he took office on January 20, 2009, then it will be very hard to beat him.

Reagan had to confront an early recession in his first term.  It sure didn't hurt him in 1984.  Just look up that butt whipping on Walter Mondale.

Mondale thought he had traction.  He didn't.

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