Early 2009 was a heady time in Washington. Big plans were hatched. Optimism ran high. The future looked bright, even while recession ravaged the country. Our new president’s inaugural addressed promised great things. The word “Republican” was not used once in that speech, and Mr. Obama’s only reference to his predecessor was a brief word of thanks. Instead of anger, frustration, and resignation, the president’s tone in those early days was hopeful, even conciliatory:
But I also know that in a time of crisis, we cannot afford to govern out of anger, or yield to the politics of the moment. 
One year, ten months later, the tone had changed:
Now, look, understand it would be one thing if the Republicans, having made this mess, they went off into the desert or into some retreat somewhere and they meditated on, boy, we really screwed up, and now let’s come up with some new ideas because we recognize the error of our ways. But that’s not what’s going on. The Republican Campaign Committee chairman promised the “exact same agenda” if they win back the House and if they win back the Senate — the same agenda of cutting taxes for millionaires and billionaires – 
Tuesday will be a good day to remember why this country continues to suffer from catastrophic unemployment. The president has been blaming our failed recovery on everyone except those who charted our course over the past twenty-two months.
Mr. Obama decided that our health care system was destroying the country:
So make no mistake, the status quo on health care is not an option for the United States of America. It’s threatening the financial stability of families, of businesses, and of government. It’s unsustainable, and it has to change. 
Instead of focusing on economic policy, we focused on health care policy:
I’m confident it’s going to get done because we’ve got a great team behind us. And we are going to be continually talking about this for the next 2 to 3 weeks until we’ve got a bill off the Senate and we’ve got a bill out of the House. Then we’ll deserve a few weeks rest before we come back and finally get a bill done so we can sign it right here in the Rose Garden. 
The Recovery Act passed. The TARP handed out billions to the financial institutions the president views as enemies of the state. Then we turned to health care reform. When it was obvious that jobs were not being created, and that our recovery was in jeopardy, the entire Obama agenda should have been put on hold until the economy was back on track. Instead, Congress worked on a health care bill.
Now we have that health care bill. We also have a private sector still recovering from the recession, and so confused by the bill’s labyrinthine provisions for new taxes, penalties, and regulations that it has shut down entirely, refusing to create jobs or even consider investing in expansion.
Some problems are too serious, too urgent, and have consequences so cataclysmic that they cannot be put on hold for even a moment. Democratic Washington failed to recognize this, or to realize that our economy would be punished for the consequences of health care reform years before most of the bill even takes effect. Sadly, if the GOP makes good on its pledge to repeal the health care bill, the entire effort will have been for nothing, and we will still have 9.6% unemployment. Given the legislative gridlock that will ensue when Democrats lose control of either or both houses on Tuesday, and the voter backlash against this administration that will almost certainly extend into the 2012 elections, President Obama’s lame duck period will likely begin in just four days.
1..President Obama’s Speech to a Joint Session of Congress. February 24, 2009.
2..Remarks by the President at Los Angeles “Moving America Forward” Rally. University of Southern California – Alumni Park. Los Angeles, California. October 22, 2010.
3..Remarks by the President on Health Care Reform. July 15, 2009.