Jonah Goldberg had a short post on NRO the other day talking about the weakness of the Obama White House. I think this is a big issue, one that Conservatives and Republicans need to think through strategically.
Obama supported a candidates in Massachusetts, New Jersey and Virginia. All lost. He supported a candidate in Pennsylvania who switched to his party--and that candidate lost. His administration has offered jobs to at least two candidates to drop their runs in in favor of White House choices--both have refused. What's happening here? To fracture Machiavelli--Obama is loved, but he is not feared.
There will be no more "big" wins for Mr. Obama. His party will get waxed in November's mid terms, and moving anything big along in the second half of the first term will be even more difficult than it was in the first half. There is simply no penalty to crossing the White House (I could go on about how this applies internationally too, but I will restrict this to domestic politics), and Democrats in Congress will walk fine lines between public affirmation of the President and votes that are ultimately in their own electoral interest. We are watching the beginning of this generation's Carter Presidency unfold before us.