Political pundits have written a good deal about how President Obama misread his mandate. At GayPatriot, we have focused on how he assumed the American people had elected him to use his judgment in discerning and then addressing what problems faced us, but in the process neglected some of the promises he made in the campaign (especially that “net spending cut“) and the main factor contributing to his September rise in the polls and eventual electoral success.
Recall, that the polls shifted in Obama’s favor during the financial crisis. With John McCain’s erratic behavior at the time, Obama seemed more temperamentally suited to confronting our economic difficulties than did his Republican rival. Americans expected him to focus on the economy.
But, not wanting(to borrow an expression) letting a crisis go to waste, Obama thought he could use the crisis to focus on the priorities nearer and dearer to his heart than promoting economic growth by spurring on the normally dynamic private sector. He just had to pass a massive health care overhaul.
Perhaps, had he kept his focus on the economy, people might have granted him more slack if the unemployment did not decline as rapidly as his team had forecast. At least, his fellow citizens would know he was concerned about their employment situation and financial well-being.
Charlie Cook believes his failure to focus on the economy accounts, in large measure, for the Democrats’ woes this fall:
Unemployment seems stuck at 9.5 percent, reinforcing the view that last year would have been better spent focusing on the economy than on health care reform.
He’s not the only one to say this. As Jay Cost noted last week, the focus on the unpopular health care overhaul really does seem to the primary factor endangering the Democratic majority in Congress. Guess some people just don’t learn from history.