Thus spaketh the man with a 41 percent approval rating. I like his metaphor, actually, even if he has the particulars wrong: After two years of watching him swerve all over the road and sideswipe the occasional telephone pole, the public’s decided that he’s drunk and it’s time to take his keys away.

If only he’d swerved a bit harder and maybe hit some of those poles head-on, says Robert Reich, the left would be more jazzed to keep Democrats in the driver’s seat:

Reasonable people disagree about whether these initiatives should have been more or less ambitious, but almost everyone falls into one of these camps. And that’s precisely the political problem Democrats now face.

A stimulus too small to significantly reduce unemployment, a TARP that didn’t trickle down to Main Street, financial reform that doesn’t fundamentally restructure Wall Street, and health-care reforms that don’t promise to bring down health-care costs have all created an enthusiasm gap. They’ve fired up the right, demoralized the left, and generated unease among the general population.

This leaves the Democrats in a difficult position. They have to prove a negative proposition—that although these initiatives cost lots of money or require many new regulations, conditions would be or will be a lot worse without them.

That’s basically their argument, especially vis-a-vis the stimulus: “If not for us, the totaled car that is American policy would be … even more totaled.” Slap that slogan on the bumper of a Chevy Volt and you’re ready to roll. Exit question: Given his incredible driving prowess, why is our Jeff-Gordon-in-chief here not being invited for a national victory lap by congressional Democrats? Click the image to watch.