In fairness, I should note that Jonah Goldberg is too sanguine for my tastes. While Obama is just another politician, he is a very good one–a fact that should not be forgotten. Five years ago, the man was a state senator in Illinois. Now, he resides in the White House. We ought to be fair and admit that this is no small feat.
After we are done admitting that, we ought to acknowledge as well that just as the media enjoys writing stories about politicians falling, it also enjoys writing stories about politicians making comebacks. Much of Bill Clinton’s appeal centered around his ability to pull a Houdini and frustrate his opponents. Obama has similar abilities, which makes him a formidable foe even now. Of course Republicans should be pleased that they finally have the White House on the defensive concerning a number of policy issues–especially health care reform–but that is no reason to ease up. It is also no reason to think that Obama cannot turn things around. The god who bleeds can bandage himself up, after all.
If Republicans are going to advance at a time when the President may be politically vulnerable, they are going to have to make some serious–and credible–claims concerning the President stick. Now is a good time to point out the White House’s profligacy on a multitude of issues, including and especially health care. Now is a good time to point out the White House’s penchant for increasing taxes. Brand the Obama Administration and the Democratic party a certain way while they are back on their heels, and the branding may stick in time for the 2010 elections, and perhaps the 2012 elections as well.
Note that I said that the charges have to be credible. This means telling the birthers to shut up, since they are wrong on the facts, and since they are hurting themselves and the center-right movement more than they are hurting Barack Obama. I don’t mind if the birthers hurt themselves by being wrong on the facts. I do mind when they hurt the center-right movement, however.