Obama has been criticised for pushing an ambitious legislative agenda too fast and too early in his presidency. Did he overestimate his political capital, and assume he had enough to get healthcare, financial reform, stimulus, and cap & trade all done at the same time?
Maybe, or maybe it was pure political necessity. Ostensibly a Presidential term lasts four years, but in reality it lasts about one year.
Nate Silver has updated his Senate rankings for 2010, and has concluded that Democrats are likely to slip below 60 seats in the Senate, rather than expand upon their filibuster-proof majority. Chris Dodd is in serious trouble. Harry Reid (!) is in serious trouble, potentially becoming the second Democratic leader in a row to go down (the other was Tom Daschle in 2004). Even Pennsylvania’s Arlen Specter, who switched his party affiliation purely to save his seat, is in trouble.
So basically, after the August break, Obama has a few more months to get everything done, and then all these Senators start campaigning for 2010 in earnest, with little desire to take controversial votes. If November 2010 brings a diminished Democratic majority, then the next two years are Washington gridlock. Four years collapses down to one year pretty fast.
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