Barack Obama’s presidency is in trouble. Support among centrist and swing voters continues to leak away, his signature domestic initiative is in jeopardy and the prevailing theme of US political commentary is shifting from hope and expectation to explaining what went wrong. Mr Obama’s cool is being tested in a way that few predicted – not by force of circumstance, but by the results of his own political bungling.
The paradox is that the White House has tripped up over healthcare reform – an initiative that the country both wants and needs, and which was at the centre of Mr Obama’s stunningly successful election campaign. For this, the administration has no one to blame but itself. Its own mistakes have brought it to this perilous point.
It is not too late to correct these errors, wrest a substantial and much-needed reform from the mess of current difficulties and emerge with approval ratings fully restored. But for all its brainpower, this White House is a slow learner, and one wonders.
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