It's a Short Trip From "I Won" To "I Screwed Up"

Where's the handle on this thing?

The great baseball writer Bill James once opined, only partly tongue in cheek, that the one among the Lord’s divine duties that He really seemed to enjoy was punishing arrogance and hubris. Certainly history tells us that the Oval Office has served up a steaming plate of humble pie to many better men than Barack Obama over the years, and now it’s his turn. Recall the swagger of Obama as recently as January 23:

As the president, he had told Kyl after the Arizonan raised objections to the notion of a tax credit for people who don’t pay income taxes, Obama told Cantor this morning that “on some of these issues we’re just going to have ideological differences.”

The president added, “I won. So I think on that one, I trump you.”

To this, just eleven days later:

President Barack Obama on Tuesday abruptly abandoned his nomination fight for Tom Daschle and a second major appointee who failed to pay all their taxes, telling NBC News: “I screwed up.”

“I’ve got to own up to my mistake. Ultimately, it’s important for this administration to send a message that there aren’t two sets of rules — you know, one for prominent people and one for ordinary folks who have to pay their taxes,” Obama said on NBC’s “Nightly News with Brian Williams.”

It’s a little late for that last one, of course. More lessons will undoubtedly be on the way. Unfortunately for Obama, every day is not Inauguration Day.

Ben Domenech has more detailed thoughts on this point.