June 23rd, 2009
10:46 AM ET

Is Obama's honeymoon over?

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/06/22/obama.iran/art.barack.obama.afp.gi.jpg caption="Julian Zelizer says some of President Obama's political vulnerabilities have started to emerge."]

Julian E. Zelizer
Special to CNN

June has been rough for President Obama.

After experiencing enormous success during his first months in office, some of his political vulnerabilities have started to emerge.

As Republicans begin to think about the 2010 midterm elections and moderate Democrats decide how they should vote on Obama's most ambitious initiative, health care, the White House must prevent these weaknesses from becoming debilitating.

The first vulnerability is the tension between the left and center of the Democratic Party. Since his election, President Obama has struggled to navigate the divisions that exist between the liberal base of the party, who were the core of his early support, and moderate Democrats, who were also instrumental to his victory.

At first, the administration relied on good will and political capital from the election to overcome conflicts, such as when Obama agreed to reductions in the size of the economic stimulus package to placate the conservative Democrats and some Republicans despite the objection of progressives.

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Filed under: 360° Radar • Democrats • President Barack Obama
soundoff (19 Responses)
  1. JIM S

    The party is over for out socialist president Barack Hussein Obama. In his first 6 months in office, he has accomplished nothing but increasing the budget deficit. He makes George W. Bush look like an amateur. He has made this recession worse. I believe the American people would have seen at least a slight improvement in the economy. It is worse than when Bush left office. He is making the country less safe not doing anything about Iran and North Korea Nuclear ambitions. All polls I hear about show most Americans disapprove of his performanc than approve.

    June 23, 2009 at 9:16 pm |
  2. Larry

    Maybe it will be over when his mother-in-law finds her own place to live.

    June 23, 2009 at 5:28 pm |
  3. Isabel, Brazil

    The honeymoon was brief because the economic crisis is deep.

    June 23, 2009 at 3:40 pm |
  4. Fay - California

    When will the Democrats stop undercutting the power they have and stand together in the manner that the Republicans typically have done in the past to get something done? The Democrats tend to be their own worst enemies. While I am disappointed with the Obama Administration's current stance on DADT and DOMA, the Democrat's tendency to throw up roadblocks in the face of progress is equally troublesome. The President has only been in office for five months and is facing enormous challenges and because of this, I'm not quite ready to jump on the "Obama has failed" bandwagon that seems to be the mantra in the media these days. According to a few polls, the Republicans still have their work cut out for them in terms of getting their party back on track again.

    June 23, 2009 at 3:22 pm |
  5. BHO - fan

    Honeymoon! . . What Honeymoon? He's been attacked from day 1 by the Rethugs.

    On his first wedding night at the Whitehouse the Repuplican were waiting at his bedroom door for him and Michelle to go to bed so they (Rethugs) could holla foul!

    June 23, 2009 at 3:20 pm |
  6. velma harley


    Look at it this way. At the beginning President Obama
    never had a chance for a HoneyMoon.He came in with
    everything in a mess. Things now is beginning to make
    sense.Because President Obama is all about the peoples and
    what matters to the peoples. God cares so much about us
    and so do President Obama.
    Velma Harley

    June 23, 2009 at 3:07 pm |
  7. Mindy

    How long was it to last?Surely he knew the work would be hard with little thanks

    June 23, 2009 at 2:22 pm |
  8. Benigna Marko

    A president's job is never easy. Perhaps now we can better understand George W.
    Benigna Marko

    June 23, 2009 at 2:04 pm |
  9. Lisa in CA

    The biggest issue facing Obama - his failure to enact the "change" he promised throughout his campaign. We have the same people making the same policy decisions that got us into this mess in the first place.

    It has been business as usual with the only change being who sits in the Oval Office.

    I grant that healthcare is a large issue, but it is one that could have waited until his second term (or the last year of his first term if it looks like he won't be re-elected). The last thing a president needs to be doing is spending more money on a program while we're still climbing out of a depression/recession.

    People are still fearing for their job security. Many remain unemployed (in CA, 11.5%), or are working part-time jobs or have taken a major reduction in salary just to be working. And then the liberal Dems (and yes, I am a registered Dems) are considering taxing my medical benefit - which in effect would wipe out that break of a whopping $400 Obama gave us. And all these Czars and their staffs and departments he's added - where is that money coming from to pay for them? Nothing like living up to their reputation of "tax and spend".

    Obama needs to slow down, and take a good look at all the balls he has in the air then figure out which ones he needs to pull out - rather than adding to - before his whole juggling act comes crashing down.

    June 23, 2009 at 2:04 pm |
  10. Randy Shalom

    President Obama is just a man, and its only been 6 months give the guy a chance,

    June 23, 2009 at 1:33 pm |
  11. earle,florida


    June 23, 2009 at 1:13 pm |
  12. Morgan

    I believe that the country is bound to be extra critical of President Obama based off of our last presidential experience, whether considered good or bad. I do not believe that that is a bad thing. We need to ask questions and be inquisitive of those who are representing and running our country.

    June 23, 2009 at 1:08 pm |
  13. adrienne rhew

    Maybe we all expected the world to change when Obama moved into the white house. The reality is a little different. I'd feel fine if he'd just realize that congress should make no law that prevents citizens from growing HERBS and flowers. The time for discussion is over. I should be free to grow my own medicine!

    June 23, 2009 at 1:08 pm |
  14. Mari

    President Obama inherited a MOUNTAIN of problems! Starting with the economy, what I call the Bush Disaster!

    He has been in office 5 months, and is doing all he can to return America to prosperity.

    I for one, BELIEVE that a recovery is on its way! Took BUSH EIGHT YEARS to ruin the thriving economy he inherited from Clinton!

    People need to be patient.

    June 23, 2009 at 12:47 pm |

    It's not superman, it´s man, a president who works deeply for the good, step by step, day by day...

    June 23, 2009 at 12:10 pm |
  16. Q

    Obama never had an Honeymoon. He has been attacked by the opposition from even before he was sworn into office. No coorporation on their part to move this country ahead. It's like going to your honeymoon overseas and reside at a five star hotel w/ the in laws right next door complaining how you're not good enough for their daughter.

    June 23, 2009 at 12:01 pm |
  17. Jane, Arizona

    What president in US history hasn't been challenged? It's a tough job FULL of challenges. Will he smell like a rose ALL of the time.... probably not, but of all the President's we've elected, who HAS?

    June 23, 2009 at 12:00 pm |
  18. Michael C. McHugh

    I still think he is the best president in my lifetime, and the best president we have had since FDR. He is correct that deficit spending and easy money policies from the Federal Reserve are the only things preventing us from sinking into a 1930s-style depression. He is correct in trying to offer a public option in health care, an expanded Medicare program to cover the uninsured and working poor. Overall, he is correct in his foreign policy in recognizing that America is no longer the Great Superpower it was in the 1940s and 1950s and adjusting to new realities. I could go on, but I think his ideas and policies are far better than those of the Republicans, who only want to return to the free market capitalism of the 1980s–or the 1920s.

    June 23, 2009 at 11:49 am |
  19. SLM

    We can only hope everyone who was hypnotized by Obamas nice speeches and empty promises are waking up and taking off their rose colored glasses. We can't afford this man, he is bankrupting this country and doesn't care.

    June 23, 2009 at 10:55 am |