Obama is down but not out
I take issue with a Politico story last week suggesting that President Obama has lost Washington. Washington is not monolithic. It is composed of many power centers, tribes and stakeholders. They almost never move in unison, either for or against a president. And while Obama is down, I wouldn’t characterize Republicans as being up.
One key part of Washington is still with Obama: the left. He is its champion. Even if individuals occasionally show some faux independence by being critical, more in sorrow than in anger, the starry-eyed left will never abandon him.
My time in the White House and observing other parts of the Washington game has taught me that things are never as good or as bad as they seem. Presidents’ fortunes often change quickly. An international event or an attack abroad could instantly diminish the relevance of everything else.
Also, Obama is the luckiest politician alive, and in politics luck counts. His allies in Congress, the media and elsewhere will look for excuses to give him a hand, declare that the worst is over and accuse Republicans of being political zombies who won’t quit their mindless pursuit of him.
These waves will break over the president, and he will pop back up. When that happens, he will need an agenda, some energy and some luck. He’ll be back on The View and 60 Minutes, celebrating his victory over adversity. That’s not to say that these scandals take no toll. They will cost the White House time, and Obama will lose strength among independent voters. He may limp for a while – maybe even until the end of his term – but he is certainly not out.
(Ed Rogers is a co-host of The Insiders blog, offering commentary from a Republican perspective.)