A Political Disaster in Only a Year

Senators Dodd and Dorgan head for the exits, carried in part by political winds that have shifted more in the past year than in any such period in recent memory. Those winds could hardly have been stronger at the president's back as he took office a year ago and they had propelled his party to huge majorities in Congress.

What drove all this was the near collapse of the banking system and the onset of a severe recession. The president had a free hand to fix these problems with the only requirement being that his remedy be effective. What an opportunity.

But a year later, the economy is still limping in spite of a nearly $800 billion spending bill that was so waste-laden that not a single House Republican felt compelled to vote for it, and only three did in the Senate. One of them, Arlen Specter, is now a Democrat.

The legislation has utterly failed to keep unemployment at the levels the White House promised, but the president and his party in Congress then proceeded to spend the balance of the year trying to restructure the nation's health care system in a way that not even the political left seems to like, and which has nothing to do with reviving the economy.

The president's job approval rating has crashed; Congress's has slid into the twenties. And the Republicans, who have done little beside vote no, are now leading in most polls on the question of which party is preferred for Congress.

What a political disaster and in only a year.

Brit Hume is the senior political analyst for Fox News Channel.