Fred Barnes writes in today's WSJ on how the Dems got bogged down (for now at least):
He made a rookie mistake early on. He let congressional Democrats draft the bills. They're as partisan as any group that has ever controlled Congress, and as impatient. They have little interest in the compromises needed to attract Republican support. As a consequence, what they passed -- especially the $787 billion stimulus -- belongs to Democrats alone. They own the stimulus outright.
That makes them accountable for the hopes of a prompt economic recovery now being dashed. With the economy still faltering and jobs still being lost, Mr. Obama's credibility is sinking and his job approval rating is declining along with the popularity of his initiatives. Republicans, who had insisted the stimulus was wasteful and wouldn't work, are being vindicated.
The political fallout that mattered most, however, has been among Democrats in the House who will face tough re-election fights next year. They're in a state of near-panic over the lingering recession. Their confidence in Mr. Obama is fading, and they no longer believe in quickly passing the president's agenda. Cap and trade has been put off until the fall and health-care reform is starting to stall.
For Mr. Obama, this is all a potentially disastrous turn of events. On Capitol Hill, delay favors the opposition and tends to lead to defeat. The longer a bill sits around, the more its contents are dissected and the less likely it is to pass. Mr. Obama realizes this fact, which is why he is pressing for a quick vote on his health-care reform.
Read the whole thing here.