Obama Progress Report / Year 2, Q3

The Republicans are going to control the House even if Nancy Pelosi remains as Speaker. How is that, you ask? Even if the House is saved, it will be by a margin large enough for the Blue Dogs to form a House equivalent of the Senate “gangs” and advance the Republican agenda. They’ll say, hey, look, we lost this last election! America is a center-right nation! Don’t you read Newsweek? Plus, we’re Democrats! We have to cower in fear.

Not so the Senate. In fact, we may see the Senate get revenge in the next Congress as the seat of some really good legislation because they know it probably won’t go anywhere in the House, the reverse of the current Congress. That’s assuming there really are 50 Democrats. And by 50, I do not include Joe Lieberman and Ben Nelson, whom I believe will flip if the opportunity presents itself. That’s looking like a strong possibility at this point.

What does this have to do with Obama? We’ll see what kind of progressive he really is, if he is one. Since he was elected, he has had the excuse of needing to get things past 60 senators. Now that he has legislated so well, it’s time for him to make statements.

Of course the GOP House won’t pass a carbon tax or a cut to military spending. What’s great is, they’ll pay the price for it not being enacted without the President being susceptible to all of the process stories that go with laws actually going into effect. That’s of course, if Obama tries. If he doesn’t, then, well, we’ll know what’s going to happen.

I still think the odds are better than not that Obama will get reelected, especially after folks get a dose of the current nutty GOP and especially since it seems like it will be very hard to stop Sarah Palin from being the nominee. But the question will be, will we be excited to return him, or will we be doing so just because we’re scared to death of the alternative?

Education: B- (B-)

Asking teachers to accept the changes that come with Race to the Top and other programs like it is one thing. But leaving them to flag in the wind is another. Obama needs to come to the defense of this core constituency soon. It’s a lot easier to complain about teacher quality when teachers aren’t underpaid. I have trouble finding a good gardener, too, but it doesn’t shock me. That’s not to say there are so many bad teachers. I just don’t understand why they aren’t expected to be bad though.

Environment: C- (D)

I heard another rumor that the EPA is going to do something about carbon. But pretending that the oil spill (remember that) is all better now and continuing to ignore this issue is stupid.

Foreign Policy: C- (C)

I hope you know what you’re doing with Israel. It seems to me that neither party really wants to make a deal, though Israel always gets closer, but until there’s a different governing coalition there, it doesn’t look good. Every new president is always “inexperienced” but they’re still going to throw rocks at you over this if it doesn’t work. And why are we in Afghanistan still? I think I know why, but does anyone else?

Social Issues: B- (A)

Bungling the DADT and DOMA appeals right before the election are hurting you with a key constituency, one that didn’t trust you much to begin with.

Economy: C

I can’t believe the fight on the “Bush” tax cuts was given up. I can’t believe that they’re going to continue even though I know they are. This is one of those things I hope will change after things become more adversarial with Congress. If they are going to extend the cuts, make them pay the price.

Overall: C (B)

I know there’s an election, but do better.