This week President Obama named Dr. Donald Berwick to run the Medicare and Medicaid program. As a "recess appointment" he didn't need Senate approval although to stay on past this Congressional session Berwick will have to be approved by the next Congress. Berwick is, to say the least, highly controversial. He loves the British one-payer system, especially their rationing board which is ironically called the NICE board. This only plays into the hands of the GOP as they continue to hammer away at the albatross of Obamacare. This appointment shows the ideological purity of Obama; he doesn't seem to care how much people complain about far-left appointments-he's simply going to do it to transform the country even if it's a political loser.
The Democratics are hoping and perhaps praying that the economy picks up so their electoral prospects will pick up. There's only three unemployment reports left before the election and I don't think that will help them much. When the Republicans took over in 1994 the unemployment rate had actually dropped two points to 5.5% but the GOP still picked up over 50 seats in the House and took over the Senate. Why? Many of the Indpendent voters had already made up their minds about the Clinton Administration well before voting began and were determined to vote against his agenda. That's almost certainly what will happen this year. With the economy in much worse shape than it was in 1994 we'll see a big shift in the fall. Combine that with the continuing ecological disaster in the Gulf of Mexico and the average nonpartisan voter gets a daily picture of the President not as a competent administrator but one that seems more and more to be over his head trying to deal with multiple problems at once.