You knew it had it to happen.
Moses didn’t get the Red Sea mud off his sandals before the Children of Israel were clamoring for water, and watermelon. David may have routed the Philistines, but he never quite got the unity thing down pat, and within a generation of his death, Israel was locked in a bitter civil war that destroyed forever the hope of a united Israel (Netanyahu, please take note.) Jesus gets escorted into Jerusalem with shouts of “Hosanna!” on Sunday, and executed as an enemy of the state on Friday.
President Obama, whose ascendancy to the White House was accompanied by a hope that was not merely audacious, but imbued with Messianic fervor, is suffering some of the same. He promised change and then, when he got into office, he found out that, well, you have to govern. And governing means compromise. (Governor Sanford, please take note.)
The problem with compromise is that it is an attempt to reach out to those with whom you disagree. The reason you disagree with them is that you think they are wrong. Trying to find common ground with them means that the people who support you are going to think you’ve sold out.
Huffington Post, once a reliable proponent of all things Obama, features Bill Maher telling his audience, “This isn’t what I voted for.” The July issue of Harper’s Magazine has Obama as “Barack Hoover Obama,” presiding over the disintegration of the American dream. The Left is apoplectic over the expansion of the war in Afghanistan, the continuation of warrantless wiretaps, the closing of Guantanamo, extraordinary renditions of terrorism suspects, the reversals on lobbying and ethics reforms, the appointment of pro-business lobbyists to sensitive environmental watchdog posts, the prominence of insurance industry representatives in health care debates, and on and on, ad absurdum….
Meantime, there is real work to do. Obama has crises to solve in Iran, North Korea, and Pakistan. The economy, while showing some recent signs of life, has yet to emerge from deep recession, and the ice caps melt with alarming speed. To make progress on any of these things, Obama must continue to steer a course firmly down the ideological middle. He has to be tough, but he has to make progress, and soon. He’s standing on the free throw line, but he has to make a shot, and make one quickly, for the Left sharpens its daggers. And unlike the Right, they fear not to use them.
“O judgment! thou art fled to brutish beasts, And men have lost their reason.” –Marc Antony, Julius Caesar, Act III