Quotes of the day

“Obama and his team believed that the 2008 election represented something seismic — in other words, something fundamental and long-lasting — in the country’s governing landscape. They believed that the historical cycle had turned, that voters had not only rejected George W. Bush’s brash conservatism but also moved beyond Bill Clinton’s tepid and defensive-minded progressivism.

“The nation’s problems and mood put momentum behind Obama’s vision of robust, large-scale government action. But there had been no seismic shift. The country’s ideology is fluid — and depends on perceptions of the economy and the daily flow of news out of Washington. The assumption that Obama would be swimming mostly with the current rather than often against it on issues such as health care, financial regulation and global warming was naive in retrospect.”

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“Maybe House Democrats can pull this out, even with a gaping hole in White House leadership. Barney Frank seems to have thought better of his initial defeatism. But I have to say, I’m pretty close to giving up on Mr. Obama, who seems determined to confirm every doubt I and others ever had about whether he was ready to fight for what his supporters believed in.”

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“I am not sure how Obama can surmount this crisis. Obama does not seem, like Ronald Reagan or Clinton, to be a man of many faces. Even back in Chicago in the 1990s, it was clear that the man who had given up community organizing to become a lawyer and politician was more comfortable in Hyde Park than in Southeast or Northwest Chicago. Obama can try to make himself into a friend of Joe Sixpack and the enemy of Wall Street — he’s certainly trying to do so with his proposal to tax the big banks to pay for their bailout — but it’s not going to come naturally.”

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“‘There’s a wave here. The first shore was New Jersey and Virginia,’ Lake told CNN Tuesday, referring to Democratic losses in the governor’s races in New Jersey and Virginia. ‘The second was Massachusetts, and it’s coming to the island now, so we’d better do something about it.'”

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“Said Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif.: ‘Every state is now in play.'”

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