The cable elite saw Sen. Blanche Lincoln showboat a bit today with her challenging language to the president today at the Newseum; they're talking about Sen. Harry Reid's push-bash against a seemingly innocuous jibe at the popular image of Las Vegas by the president; they've read about how Robin Carnahan, who is running for Senate in Missouri, is touting her own deficit reduction plans and comparing them, favorably, to the president's.

Or how Bill Nelson of Florida criticized the president's budget. It was not a coincidence that most of the senators who asked questions of the president today were up for reelection this year, and most of those questions included at least some implicit criticism of the president's agenda. Lincoln and Sen. Evan Bayh chose to peacock -- a term I'm borrowing from David Dayen -- and directly criticized the left wing of their own party (or, in Bayh's terminology, liberal blogs) for sins committed in the name of prioritizing ideology over pragmatism.


More likely than not, other senators will begin to pick fights with the White House...just so they can pick fights. Most of these call-outs won't be serious -- after all, Obama's still more popular than they are. But where daylight can be found, you can be sure that Democrats will feel compelled to exploit it. The White House's response to all of this will be fascinating. They get the game; they know what these folks need to do.

Obama didn't seem to appreciate Lincoln's implicit criticism -- that her own party was to blame for the not-getting-things done.  Here's part of Obama's response:
Michael Bennet said it well, people have been in this mess for 10 years. No wage increase, no net job increases. They're just treading water. If our response ends up being, because we don't want to stir things up, we're going to do the same thing as before, then I don't know what differentiates us from the other guys. And I don't know why people would want Democrats in Washington fighting for them.

Translated: no, it's not on us, Blanche.

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