It's too easy to keep your head down and get distracted by the he-said-she-said of the daily political show.
You know how it goes: Will the administration succeed in quarantining FoxNews? Will the "public option" get into the final health bill? When will the president make a decision on Afghanistan? Will the Democrats allow a vote on subpoenaing the records of Countrywide Financial?
All this tactical noise drowns out the greater strategic question. And that question is: Just how deep in trouble is President Obama?
My guess is: deeper than we know. Deeper than we can imagine. That's why we are seeing all the desperation flapping around and crude strong-arming.
It's always hard to see the future. Heck, the future doesn't even know the future. But it is clear that the political plates are shifting. As Jonah Goldberg writes, recalling the stories of the Indonesian tsunami in 2004:
Before the tidal wave crashed on shore, beachgoers stood around and idly gaped as the water drastically receded. Bewildered, they didn't realize they were looking at the prelude to a calamity.
That's what is happening right now. The tide is going out. Something is about to happen. Politicians are still going about their normal business, buying and selling votes as they always do, but there is a eerie stillness that makes everyone look at each other with a questioning look.
Everything the administration is doing is wrong. Its stimulus program should have been an emergency tax cut on the payroll tax, not a giveaway to Democratic voters. The cap and trade should have enabled nuclear power and hydrocarbon drilling, not taxes and green-energy subsidies. The health care reform should be increasing transparency and market responsiveness, not creating more subsidies for slacker liberals.
If the economy is to recover quickly and effectively it needs to be freed up from the weight of government, at least for a while. It seems that President Obama and his advisers don't get that. Why would they? They are all liberals, and have lived all their lives in the liberal bubble.
It's the American people that will have to pay for all this. As they start to grasp the enormity of the situation, they will start to become very angry. They will demand new leaders, and they will make sure that they get them.