From James Taranto’s “Best of the Web Today” column, a must-read column:

How did Barack Obama manage to kick off his presidency by making exactly the same disastrous mistake Bill Clinton made 16 years earlier? One answer is that Obama thought Clinton’s health-care errors were tactical rather than strategic, and that correcting these–by letting Congress write the bill, or by cutting deals with industry groups in exchange for their support–would be sufficient to ensure success.

But if Rep. Marion Berry is right, the answer may be as simple as sheer hubris. Berry, an Arkansas Democrat first elected in 1996, announced over the weekend that he won’t seek re-election. In an interview with the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, reprinted by Politico, Berry, who was an “aye” in the House’s 220-215 vote for ObamaCare Nov. 7, recounts his unsuccessful efforts to persuade the White House to pursue more moderate policies:

Berry recounted meetings with White House officials, reminiscent of some during the Clinton days, where he and others urged them not to force Blue Dogs “off into that swamp” of supporting bills that would be unpopular with voters back home.

“I’ve been doing that with this White House, and they just don’t seem to give it any credibility at all,” Berry said. “They just kept telling us how good it was going to be. The president himself, when that was brought up in one group, said, ‘Well, the big difference here and in ’94 was you’ve got me.’ We’re going to see how much difference that makes now.”

“You’ve got me.” In fairness, one can see why Obama might have been overly impressed with himself. Here’s a guy who became president of the United States just four years out of the Illinois Senate, and along the way developed a cultlike following. It sounds as though Obama became a follower as well as figurehead of his own cult of personality. He overestimated the degree to which he was special as opposed to lucky–a very human failing.

Indeed, he’s only human.  His followers, however, bought into the image hook, line, sinker and fishing pole.  It was willful blindness, as they couched their ignorance in the heady thought of electing the first African-American President.  It was all about feeling good about what you were doing, rather than about policies and programs and party planks.  And now the Democrats are paying the price for promoting it.

As it turns out, Berry understated the peril in which Obama was placing Democrats–not just in a conservative area like the First District of Arkansas (where John McCain topped Obama, 59% to 38%), but even in Massachusetts (Obama 62%, McCain 36%), where last week the Democrats could not hold Ted Kennedy’s former Senate seat. Even observers who have thought for some time that ObamaCare was bad news for Democrats were surprised that it was this bad.

Welcome to the real world, where even liberals are getting the idea that government is doing too much to try to “fix” things, many of which aren’t broken, and many of which the private sector can handle.  (Yes, those are poll results from last September, and they can certainly change, but the trend lines are really veering away from the “big government” mindset.)

Believing your own press is the worst thing that can afflict a politician, and Obama seems to have soaked it up.  This is why a liberal media can, indeed, sometimes hurt a Democrat; they butter him up with good press, and don’t reflect what the people think.  (It another proof that indeed the media lean liberal, causing this to happen.)  Then a Republican replaces Ted Kennedy and they’re shocked.

Good morning Democrats.  This your wake-up call.

Filed under: CultureDemocratsDougGovernmentPolitics

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