The Obama administration came in with momentum but, as John Maxwell says, "Momentum can be your best friend or your worst enemy."
The President was elected by a country frustrated over the war in Iraq and the stall of the junk paper economy. In fact, the Democratic Party as a whole gained great momentum from these problems.
The Obama administration has developed a sober plan to extricate from Iraq. This is responsive to the national desire and should give the Democrats positive momentum.
On the economy, the jury is still out - the "stimulus" plans might have dulled some painful edges of the problems, but at a great cost with high potential for unintended consequences. And the Democratic Congress' efforts to build in all kinds of porky social engineering and interest group pay-offs didn't build positive momentum.
Now there's the health care debate. Apart from the policy specifics, the way the Dems are attacking critics brings the potential for very negative momentum. And this is a mess that the President can't blame on the abysmal Pelosi/Reid Congress -- Pres. Obama has inserted his own staff into this, on You Tube, no less.
It is hard to express the foolishness of this direction. Part of the national frustration with Iraq was bundled up with other questions about the national response to 9/11 -- including civil liberties concerns about The Patriot Act. For the Obama administration and Congress to call for what look like citizen informants and data bases of "enemies" is a jaw dropping choice to slam the brakes on positive momentum, do a donut, and hit the gas going the wrong way.
How might the Dems have used their "mandate mo" to build national unity and maintain positive momentum? Their biggest and most responsive moves have been on ending the action in Iraq. They might well have emphasized this and even played up a mini "peace dividend," showing how the end of that costly operation would release funds for domestic needs or even leaner, better focused counter-terror options.
Instead, they've launched into this health care boondoggle. While the issue of health care reform is always somewhere in the stack of stuff on any administration's desk, there is no widespread public call for a massive Federal intervention in health care. In fact, some of the reform models are about getting existing government programs fixed or rolled back. "Hillarycare" is still an epithet two administrations later. This whole initiative is the biggest momentum buster to come out of DC since -- well, since Pres. Bush lost the momentum of post-9/11 patriotism by not anticipating the insurgency in Iraq.
President Obama is a well packaged left winger, perfectly suited to a population that gets its "news" from internet and TV entertainment bites. (Just compare him to Pelosi, Reid et. al., who share his statist ideology but are poorly packaged and get low public marks in the polls). But just as the popularity of screen celebrities rises and falls very quickly, even this President is seeing his "numbers" fall, due in the main to this ham-handed attempt to foist an agenda with little popular mandate on the nation.
This is ironic, since "community organizers" are known for workmanlike coalition building, deal making and patient working of unresponsive systems. The Dems right now are acting less out of that model and more like media creations, desperately acting out to squeeze as much as possible from 15 minutes of fame.
15 minutes of fame means 15 minutes of momentum -- but the jokes and type casting that follow have a longer running mo of their own. Which is why Hillary Clinton is Secretary of State and not President. The one who parlayed her negative mo into his positive campaign mo, President Obama, needs to revisit his less showy community organizer skills and get to work -- his 15 minutes of celebrity mo are pretty much up.