Is Charlie Cook overreacting again?

Published February 19, 2010 7:20PM (EST)

Charlie Cook, the longtime election analyst, rather dramatically decrees in a new interview that healthcare is "Obama's Iraq":

"I sort of reject the notion that there is a communications problem with President Obama. I think it's just fundamental, total miscalculations from the very, very beginning. Of proportions comparable to President George W. Bush's decision to go into Iraq."

Yeesh. Cook generally knows his stuff, but isn't this a bit much? For one thing, even if healthcare reform dies now (and there's no guarantee that will happen) and contributes to a rough November for Democrats, the political fallout could end there. Didn't Bill Clinton prove just that by bouncing back from the demise of his healthcare plan in 1994 to win a second term -- resoundingly -- in 1996?

It may just be that Cook is given to hyperbole. Here, in case you've forgotten, was his take on John McCain's GOP nomination prospects back in July 2007:

"Let's have a moment of silence. The physicians have left the room, and now it's the executors of the will taking over. This isn't about strategizing or organizing or messaging, it's now about paying off the bills and sort of winding down…It’s over."

(I know, I know. Everyone was writing off McCain back then. But still.)

By Steve Kornacki

Steve Kornacki is an MSNBC host and political correspondent. Previously, he hosted “Up with Steve Kornacki” on Saturday and Sunday 8-10 a.m. ET and was a co-host on MSNBC’s ensemble show “The Cycle.” He has written for the New York Observer, covered Congress for Roll Call, and was the politics editor for Salon. His book, which focuses on the political history of the 1990s, is due out in 2017.

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