President Obama said in an interview yesterday that, “The most important lesson I’ve learned is you can’t change Washington from the inside.”
It was one of those remarks that provoke a media tempest and plenty of campaign back and forth with some even suggesting that it may have rise to the level of – quelle horreur – a gaffe. Mitt Romney pounced on the remark like a duck on a June bug, as Dan Rather might say. After trying to recover from his "47 percent" stumble, Romney was plainly having a lot more fun on the attack with lines like, “He said he can’t change Washington from the inside. He can only change it from outside. Well, we’re going to give him that chance in November. He’s going outside."
This, too, shall doubtless pass and it will be on to another one of these hot skirmishes over what one candidate, or the other, said, meant to say, should have said, and needs to be saying, right now, if he is going to win this thing.
But before leaving the question of who can change Washington, Mr. Inside or Mr. Outside, it might be interesting to ponder why the president has found it so difficult. The reason, it seems, is pretty plain. Washington doesn't want to change. And why should it. Life in the Imperial City is good. Very good. According to Washington's very own newspaper of record:
The Washington region has emerged from the recession looking even more affluent compared with the rest of the country, boasting seven of the 10 counties with the highest household incomes in the nation, new census numbers show.
Come Election Day, those counties will line up solidly behind the president and send out a strong message.
Change? What on earth for?