As a commentator-at-a-distance, with no inside information whatsoever about American politics, I am reduced at times to wetting my finger and holding it up to sense which way the wind is blowing. [I know, having watched King Solomon's Mines many times, that I want to be downwind of Washington, so that I can smell them but they cannot smell me. Not always an enticing prospect]. Well, right now I am sensing something blowing in the wind. After a long bad patch for the Democrats, what with the ugly business of health care reform and the loss of Ted Kennedy's Senate seat, I can feel the very first shift of the wind in the direction of the Democrats.
Most important, of course, is that health care reform seems now on track to be passed sometime late this month. Everyone's exhaustion with the issue may tend to diminish in our minds the enormous importance of such a victory. In politics as in war, winning matters. Presidents have been trying to do health care reform for forty years and more. If Obama succeeds, suddenly his presidency will look like a success, and Democrats will be emboldened to move on other fronts. Pelosi and Reid will be heroes, and even Rahm Emmanuel won't look quite so egregious.
The shift in the wind is being strengthened by the sheer stupid, callous, mindless incompetence of the Republicans. Drowning in negative commentary, the Democrats were thrown a life preserver by Jim Bunning, who leaped from obscurity to the top of the charts as worst member of the U. S. Senate. [Stupidest is still firmly in the joint control of Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III and Jon Kyl, but there are many competitors.]
Of course, I may simply be responding to the fact that this long, chilly North Carolina winter, universally characterized by locals as quite unusual, is finally coming to an end, and 60 degree days lie ahead.
To celebrate, I gave $100 to Bill Halter's challenge of Blanche Lincoln in Arkansas. Keep hope alive!