The Magazine

Nobody Knows the Trouble He'll See

A few clouds on Obama's horizon.

Dec 29, 2008, Vol. 14, No. 15 • By FRED BARNES
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There's another aspect of that relationship that's potentially troublesome. More than Obama, congressional Democrats are sensitive to the wants of liberal special interest groups. They're impatient to pass the entire liberal agenda, sooner rather than later. They're eager to fill the $850 billion economic "stimulus" package that Obama is expected to sign soon after being inaugurated with goodies for these groups, notably organized labor and environmentalists.

The problem is Obama didn't run on the liberal agenda and the public didn't vote for it. Imposing that agenda on the country, as Reid and Pelosi would like to do, tax increases and all, might backfire politically. But the combined force of congressional Democrats and liberal special interests could be too great for Obama to resist.

And then there's Chicago, Obama's adopted hometown. He rose through the Democratic machine in Chicago without being tainted by it. But the Blagojevich scandal and the fraud conviction of Democratic fundraiser and developer Tony Rezko suggest we haven't heard the final word on Obama and Chicago. Could his ties to the Chicago machine come back to haunt Obama? If they do, that will be the biggest trouble of all.

Fred Barnes is executive editor of THE WEEKLY STANDARD.