A like minded cyber friend asked this question yesterday and I thought it was something we may have never asked ourselves and, yet, for such a simple question it is incredibly key. I do not think he did. I do not think he planned for them, anticipated them, understands them, gets them, knows how to react to them or has a plan to counteract them. Obama has never faced true conservative opposition before. It does not exist in Chicago. Other warring members of the corrupt Democrat machine? Sure, and he knows how to deal with them.
For a man with maybe slightly higher than average intellect and questionable psychological stability, does he have the stuff to face serious or principled opposition? How will he handle the presumptive scenario of sharing power with a tea party influenced senate or house? He came to power in a state with no real Republican presence, let alone a conservative or principled presence. Remember this is a guy who won his senate seat when his primary opponents were all disqualified for one reason or another.
He tells the story now of having gone door to door meeting the folks and getting his message out. Not so much. He was successful in challenging enough signatures on his opponents petitions to have them disqualified. Including the incumbent, Alice Palmer. Essentially he ran unopposed.
From what we have seen this far, this is not a man who makes compromises. Beyond the Alinksy inspired rhetoric and packaging there exists not much else. I doubt he ever imagined more than a small amount of polite hemming and hawing from the "extreme" right wing that he could easily marginalize and paint as voices from extremists.
His bag of tricks are like pebbles to the Kevlar® vest of the Tea Party Movement. In fact, they have begun to actually strengthen the movement as they are now proving to work against him. His silk tongued vocabulary and a narcissistic ability manipulate had always outwitted those around him in his circles of the politically correct vacuum of academia and in the snake pit of Chicago politics he was used as a tool by others more cunning and ambitious then he. He simply had to modify the shtick to the new circumstances. If one study his history you'll find that the pattern is essentially the same. All pomp, no circumstance.
He is utterly ill-equipped to hash out an effective strategy for the Tea Party Movement. It is why one day he is populist Obama, the next he is lashing out at Fox News, freezing spending and the next he is on vacation or not heard from for a few days. We have watched him richochet from thing to thing, searching for a strategy and hoping if he throws enough crap against the wall something will stick. With his limited patience and experience, he gives none of it enough time to see if it will work.
Watching his speeches in the last few days, his tone seems more erratic and certainly more paranoid. He keeps making references to unnamed "theys". "They'll say this, they'll say that about Obama". What is November going to look like if the mid-term results come out as unfavorably as they many predict?
It is interesting to note, there are precedents in history for this sort of unravelling. In the mid 1960s Soviet Union, after Khrushchev's policies eroded his popularity, he was put on a little "working vacation". Even in our own history, one have to only look back so far as the 1970s to reference a time when the Secretary of State, Henry Kissinger, took on more and more responsibility as the Nixon lost power, sometimes actually omitting Nixon from policy meetings. It is also widely believe that Kissinger, raised the nation to DEFCON 3 without first getting President Nixon's approval, on the evening the Soviets threatened to send troops to the region. Hmmm, does a certain crusty black pants suit wearer know her history?
Realizing the situation is fluid and anything can change, he could prove me wrong and turn this thing around. However if we continue on the trajectory that we are on and the American people still reject Obama's cure all potion of Marxist medicine, all bets are off.