As he prepares to take the oath of office, Barack Obama's biggest political roadblock may end up being institutional hurdles rather than a united Republican opposition.Yes! Yes! Finally, someone is paying attention. Paul Begala shares a little wisdom from John Sununu:
"I happened to have a long conversation with John Sununu [George H. W. Bush's Chief of Staff]. Sununu said you will find that the institutional difference between the legislative and executive branches are harder to bridge than the partisan difference between Republicans and Democrats. It was a remarkable statement. I don't think he is right. But I do believe the institutional differences are hugely important."I do think Sununu is correct (and fun to say). While I agree that President-elect Obama's been working hard to lay the foundations for a successful opening, and that his recent legislative experience will serve him well in that process, the main obstacle to his agenda is the looming fear of the 2010 midterms.
2008 was a good year for Democrats; repeating that feat in 2010 will not be easy. Many Dems in Congress will see independence from the Administration as their key to victory. In the Senate, 15 Dem seats will be up for re-election and as many as six of those could be weak, as opposed to the one endangered seat of 2008, Landrieu's, who pulled away in the end.