Change We Need
The biggest obstacle Barack Obama now faces isn't Republicans or the will of the people. It's the Democratic congress, or as I call them collectively, the Dims. As crows gather into a murder, so do our elected critters, and Congress is first and foremost a finishing school for lobbyists. They have relished the eyes in our hanging bodies, and picked them out with their dark beaks. While there are laudable exceptions, and I live in such a district, the Democratic congress has it so good now that there's tremendous institutional resistance to change. Any change. They want payback, they want bounty, and the whole Beltway is abuzz with how to line up first at the pig-slop.
Obama's tip-top priority is Alternative Energy, because that's how you change our fundamental bellicosity. If you own a huge imperious tiger who needs 20 pounds of meat a day or else he eats your family, you better start raising sheep. (Whether he's appointed or not, Al Gore will be the de facto Secretary of Energy.) Obama's opening salvo for the Green Machine is going to be half a trillion dollars. Which Congress should love, but many in it will vehemently despise it for various reasons.
First, Obama will get the credit and he has them over (pun intended) a barrel. A Green Deal will impart no glory, for example, to Blue Dog Democrats. Nor to Nancy Pelosi, nor Harry Reid. Next, the Dims will have no ready grapple points for earmarks. Even worse, Obama wants to set up a five-member Infrastructure Committee tasked with analyzing all energy projects and giving ultimate go/no-go. There will be a furor of lunches, dinners, comfort girls, and big-screen TVs sent to the wrong addresses for those committee members, such that Jennifer Anniston would frolic with them atop the Lincoln Memorial if they would just approve a wind farm in North Dakota. And he'll pick people who won't care.
Republicans, of course, expect to get screwed. The biggest source of unhappiness will be from the Democrats who don't think they're getting their due. Obama is going to take a flamethrower to them, so they just might be outraged. (They have my sympathy. As much as I have for paint sniffers.) Obama is anti-lobbyist, and he knows the process is set up to bring ostensible damned-if-you-do-or-don't legislation chock-full-o-pork through. In a delicious irony, his biggest ally across the aisle may end up being John McCain, the Anti Earmarks super hero.