My old Greek pal George Maroutsos had a saying that no doubt originates in ancient Greek mythology.
"You can't tell a dog when it's out hunting," he would say. "You can only tell how good it is when it is being hunted."
In the long-ago days when Candidate Obama and then President Obama was out hunting, we dog fanciers knew that we couldn't yet tell what he was made of.
But now that the Labor Day polls have spoken and we know that the Democrats are in a rerun of the 1854 mid-terms, we can start to get an idea.
What's that? 1854 mid-terms? Michael Barone takes the credit for that one. You see, in 1854 Sen. Stephen Douglas (D-IL), pushed the Kansas-Nebraska Act through a very Democratic Congress. He figured that letting Kansas and Nebraska decide for themselves whether to allow slavery would put the issue to bed. It turned out he was wrong. Instead, he lit the fire for the Civil War. The Republican Party emerged out of the ruins of the Whig Party, and Democrats lost 76 seats in a 250 seat Congress that year.
Now that he is in trouble, what is President Obama doing? He is getting out into the old union heartlands of the rust belt and doing the populist thing. He is doing what a politicians does; he is dividing the voters into Us and Them. He is talking trash talk to the union working stiffs.
Now the president is in political trouble. Now the Democrats running in swing districts don't want him anywhere near them. Now Democrats are not uttering a whisper about ObamaCare on the stump.
Now we are getting to see the real Obama. He is not really bad, not evil. He turns out to be an ordinary politician that has read his polls and has determined that there is only one thing he can do this Fall that will help Democrats. He must go out an rouse up the old union base and get them to the polls to limit the GOP pickup in normally safe Democratic districts.
It means, of course, that this practical politician has written off the moderate middle, the chaps and chapettes that got him elected back in 2008. It means that the Democrats are in worse trouble than we can possibly imagine. It means that you young chaps are going to experience an election that you can talk about to your grandchildren.
(As for those of us that already have grandchildren, I suggest we tell them to pay attention, because this is new, and hip, and exciting, and has never happened before in the history of the earth.)
After the deluge, in January, we will see how good the president is with a Congress that wants to repeal everything he has done in the last two years.
How well will he perform? My guess is: not too well. I have a feeling that President Obama is a good hunter, but not very good when he's being hunted.