If the purpose of running for office is to acquire power and if the purpose of acquiring power is to do some sort of lasting public good with it, then it would be fair of the American people to expect Pres. Barack Obama’s report card to show significant accomplishments by the time the 2010 congressional elections roll in.

After today’s announcement of Al Franken  as the winner of last November’s Minnesota Senate race, the Democrats now have 60 senate seats and 257 congressional seats, more than enough to push through the Democratic President’s agenda. Any fears of a filibuster have now been eliminated. There is no longer a need to court Olympia Snowe or Susan Collins or any other so-called moderate Republican. The Democrats, if they only allow themselves to agree can now bring Americans single-payer Universal Healthcare, enact proper regulations of the financial industry, withdraw troops from Iraq, withdraw troops from a useless war in Afghanistan, confirm Sotomayor to the Supreme Court and much more…

But I suspect very few of those things will happen. Obama is a serial compromiser and Democrats and Progressives in general relish argument and debate even when it stands in the way of useful  and valuable accomplishments. And that’s probably going to be the Legacy of the 111th Congresss: immense possibilities but very few tangible results. I would love to eat my words in a few months but I don’t think I will.


Obama’s Chief of staff Rahm Emanuel was pushing a new Administration line this week-end on Face The Nation.  Speaking of Rush Limbaugh, he said he is: “the voice and the intellectual force and energy behind the Republican Party.” Got that? Rush Limbaugh, a radio talk show host is being presented as the intellect of America’s opposition party. The point of this positioning is to minimize the force of any ideas coming from Limbaugh and therefore from The Right. In addition, because Rush Limbaugh came out and said he wanted President Obama to fail, he can be easily presented as the antagonistic republican who loathes his country so much so that he does not even wish its president well. This is briliant from the Democrats given that beyond saying “NO” to everything the White House proposes and beyond pushing their usual “Tax cuts and Small Government” line, the GOP has nothing to offer after 8 years of Bush/Cheney.

 Now some have dismissed Rush, but it seems everytime a Republican does, he ends up coming back to apologize for the offence. This week-end, Michael Steele the new RNC chairman had to come back on his words after he called Rush “simply an entertainer”, then Minority Whip Eric Cantor , then Bobby Jindal joined the fray hailing Limbaugh as a “great leader for conservatives.”  This, on the heels of his dismal rebuttal to Obama’s Almost-State of the Union address last week.

Just in case you thought the loss last November did not rattle republicans, chew on this: Sarah Palin is still polling higher than most other conservatives leaders.

If only the mid-term elections could be helf today, the Democrats might be well on their way to getting that filibuster-proof Senate.