What should have been a great political week for Democrats will instead be remembered for the Shirley Sherrod incident, which was, of course, beyond the control of the White House. The news today that Rep. Charles Rangel will face a trial by the ethics committee is also beyond the White House's control, although it's something that the House could have avoided had they elected to force Mr. Rangel to resign his post before the investigation was complete. The fact that they did not, out of fairness to and fondness for Rangel, means that, during prime campaign time, a senior Democratic lawmaker will face daily headlines about ethics violations. (The Democrats did oust Rangel as chair of the tax-writing Ways and Means committee.")
Also bad timing: the quiet death of a comprehensive energy bill, and the substitution instead of halfway measures. Democrats have a small business bill they can try to build some national momentum on, but otherwise, they've got little to bring to recess. The financial reform bill, major in any context, seems to have floated away like gossamer.