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Still change we can believe in

The conservative Tea Party movement is on a roll and the Democrats are worried about losing control of Congress in November. Yet this will not happen. Why? Because president Obama is outfoxing the Republicans. He has gone from a do nothing president a little over three months ago, when Democratic anger led to Scott Brown's victory in liberal Massachusetts, to a president who is slowly but surely delivering on his promises.

Largely forgotten but nevertheless important, Obama has brought troops home from Iraq, improved relations with Russia and balanced its relationship with Israel. Obama has passed healthcare reform, which although deeply flawed, will do more to redistribute income than any other bill in the past 30 years. Some 35 million more Americns will be covered by health insurance and the measures will ban providers from excluding people from cover if they have pre-existing medical conditions. All children will for the first time be comprehensively covered.

The stimulus package passed last year has injected a good dose of Keynes-style demand into the economy, which has seen job numbers increase. And last night the Senate passed a bill that would better regulate the banks.

Of course, there is so much the president could and should do, and many opportunities have been missed (pushing more forcefully for the repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell and the closing of Guantanamo Bay). But such is the nature of the US political system that seldom can more than one item be promoted at any given time. A single law takes months to pass, due to the negative bias of the Senate, where a blocking minority can dictate the speed of events.

Yet the American people seem to understand this, hence why Obama's poll ratings have started to rise at the same time as Tea Party favourites such as Rand Paul have started to win. Republicans have been misguided in their shift to the opposed everything right. News cycles may be won, for a time. But Fox News and Rush Limbaugh are not as influential as liberals fear - their man is not in the White House after all. The conservative love-in with Sarah Palin will the undoing of Republicans in the 2012 presidential race. All Obama has to do is cling to the middle and look reasonable, and try not to look too smug about how fortunate he is in his enemies.

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