One might think that Barack Obama needs every vote he could possibly get if he hopes to cram a massively unpopular health care bill through the reconciliation process in a shaky and gunshy Senate. So when Blanche Lincoln - who faces a tough but not impossible re-election fight in Arkansas - piped up and requested a little more moderation from the President, you might have expected Obama to at least sound conciliatory in his response.
If the price of certainty is essentially for us to adopt the exact same proposals that were in place for eight years leading up to the biggest economic crisis since the Great Depression ... the result is going to be the same. I don’t know why we would expect a different outcome pursuing the exact same policy that got us into this fix in the first place.
... And I don’t know why people would say, boy, we really want to make sure that those Democrats are in Washington fighting for us.
Chris Lane of the Washington Post notes a couple of remarkable things about Obama's response. First, Obama's response was a first-round knockout of a world-class strawman. Neither Lincoln nor any other elected Democrat wants anything to do with any of Bush's economic policies. Obama is just so habitually incapable of dealing with the actual arguments of his Republican opponents honestly that he appears completely unable to flip the switch and even deal with the actual arguments of those in his own party.
Second, his response did not even acknowledge that Lincoln might have a point, or even include a Clintonesque phony "I feel your pain" acknowledgement that Obama is dragging sitting Democratic Senators to their electoral death. I guess after having thrown so many people willingly under the bus of his own self-promotion, Obama has become accustomed to believing that people who have fought long and hard to get Senate seats will just lay down in front of the bus for him, just like so many short-term political appointees to his Administration.
I have a hunch it's not going to play out that way. Knowing Blanche Lincoln in particular the way I do, I think Obama's arrogance is finally going to catch up to him among the one constituency he currently needs most.