A Democratic pollster is quoted as saying that “this is a president who needs a vacation.” Obama is making a big push on everything all the time, but the polls are moving against him.

If Obama were an endurance cyclist, we’d say he was bonking or hitting the wall. Anyone who has done an endurance sport (sorry, hoops is not an endurance sport) knows the feeling. The glycogen is depleted, the electrolytes are gone, the effort just isn’t moving you forward very fast. At a certain point, no matter how hard you work, you seem to move backwards. When you started the race, you hoped for a personal best; now all you want to do is finish to avoid the humiliation of failure.

And so it is for this President. Obama’s plan to restructure the health care system is the big race. Obama started with hopes of a personal best, a remaking of America in the image he imagined, but now all he wants to do is finish. Obama only now is realizing that he depleted his political glycogen on the failed stimulus bill.

Obama may make it to the finish line, but at a price. Some Congressmen and Senators will be bought off with pork, some others with promises of campaign help, and others will capitulate after a conversation with Rahmbo.

But the Obama who swayed crowds with promises of hope is gone, diminished with each vote gained through legal bribery and bullying. Obama can finish, but only at the loss of credibility and stature. At this point in the race, there is nothing Obama can do to change this reality.

Obama should rest, but he can’t. The patience of the American people is running out, so there is not much time left on the clock. And therein lies the paradox of the Obama presidency.

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