* The withdrawal of Tom Daschle, one of Obama's chief supporters.
* The Republicans controlling much of the debate on the stimulus package - despite being heavily outnumbered in Congress and highly unpopular, according to most opinion polls.
* The vast majority of the public not supporting the stimulus in its current form (though it's the form largely advocated by the president).
* Obama will employ a kinder, gentler "rendition" program (also known as governmental kidnapping).
* And perhaps the most probative evidence comes from Maureen Dowd. Dowd, who for the last year has been stridently anti-Clinton and effusively pro-Obama, has finally employed her spiteful and acidic writing style to analyze the president. Here's a short quote from her latest smarmy essay:
It took Daschle’s resignation to shake the president out of his arrogant attitude that his charmed circle doesn’t have to abide by the lofty standards he lectured the rest of us about for two years.
Before he recanted, his hand forced by a cascade of appointees who “forgot” to pay taxes, his reasoning was creeping perilously close to that of the outgoing leaders he denounced in his Inaugural Address: that elitist mentality of “we know best,” we know we’re doing the “right” thing for the country, so we can twist the rules.
Mr. Obama’s errors on the helter-skelter stimulus package were also self-induced. He should put down those Lincoln books and order “Dave” from Netflix.
She's baaaack. Dowd's decision to use her chainsaw writing style has upset some Obama supporters. Michael Stickings at The Moderate Voice, for example, says that Dowd has become "unreadable," and he longs for the days when she was "exposing Bushworld as the bubble of darkness it was." Dissenting Justice to Stickings: Dowd's demise started long before The King of Hope entered the White House.