"Aren't there things Obama & Co. could have done differently?" Howard Fineman writes in the current issue of Newsweek (9/20/10). "Election Day is still seven weeks away–but it's not too early for a 'pre-mortem.'"
No, never too early–especially since Fineman's column offers the same advice corporate media pundits have been giving to Democratic politicians for at least the past 30 years: Move to the right. "Obama's 2008 victory was a personal one," Fineman quotes Bill Clinton adviser Bill Galston. "It wasnÃƒÆ’Â¢ÃƒÂ¢”Å¡Â¬ÃƒÂ¢”Å¾Â¢t a vote for a more expansive view of the role and reach of government." You may have thought that enacting healthcare reform was a central promise of the Obama campaign, but no–apparently we just voted for him to hang out with us.
Instead, writes Fineman, "Obama–an overachiever, the guy who fills up a second blue book on the extra credit question–tried to do it all." For example, he foolishly tried to address the global catastrophe of climate change, pushing the House to vote for a cap-and-trade bill: "With this one early vote, the president exhausted his chits with Blue Dog, swing-state moderates and the coal-staters, who were then reluctant to help him on other matters." If only he had saved those chits!
If this doesn't make much sense to you, then you may suffer from another malady Fineman diagnoses in Obama: He hasn't "seemed all that curious about what makes Democratic insiders tick." That's certainly not Fineman's problem.