Scott Brown’s Senate victory in Massachusetts is the final nail in the coffin of the Obama administration’s first-year political strategy, John F. Harris and Carol E. Lee write for Politico. The miscalculations cover “three major counts":
- Believing 2008 was a game-changer: The Obama team thought the "election represented something seismic." But "the assumption that Obama would be swimming mostly with the current rather than often against it on issues such as health care, financial regulation and global warming was naive in retrospect."
- The "big bang" theory: The White House was counting on momentum, trusting "success in passing a big stimulus package would lead to success" on issues such as health care and cap-and-trade. But the public was ambivalent at best about the stimulus, and "this proved to be a radical misreading of the dynamics of power."
- The myth of Obama: The administration assumed there was something "singular about the president's appeal and ability to inspire." Instead, his agenda "managed simultaneously to unite Republicans in opposition and divide Democrats into camps that thought he was going too far or that thought he was not going far enough."