In the dark days of the Iraq war, when valiant U.S. troops faced down multiple enemies who obeyed no rules of war, President Bush never panicked. Even when his approval rating dropped below 35 percent, the president slugged it out for better or worse, depending on your worldview.
The same cannot be said of President Obama, who is now reeling under the pressure of his collapsing health care vision. The latest evidence of this was a posting on the "Organizing for America" Web site, which was set up by Obama in January. The message, since scrubbed from the site, said this in part:
"Stay at home for (Health Care Organizing Day). Call your senators that day (Sept. 11) ... as we fight back against our own right-wing domestic terrorists who are subverting the American democratic process, whipped to a frenzy by their Fox propaganda network ceaselessly re-seizing power for their treacherous leaders."
Again, that posting came from an organization created by President Obama. And even though somebody saw the insanity of the words and removed them, if this isn't panic, nothing is.
I believe it is safe to say that many liberals are stunned by the president's decline in the polls and his inability to sell a government-run health care system. It all sounds so compassionate: helping the poor get quality medical care, ensuring that insurance companies do not gouge working Americans. How could you oppose that?
But theory is one thing; actual performance is quite something else. As you know, the president had months to clarify the details of the massive health care program but could not do it. Also, the Congressional Budget Office keeps embarrassing Obama by contradicting his optimistic financial prognostications.
Add to that the fact that hard-core leftists like Nancy Pelosi and Howard Dean are almost hysterical in pushing federal health care, and a deep distrust has set in.
And then there is the senseless viciousness on the part of some who support national health care mandates.
Calling those who oppose your health care point of view "domestic terrorists" is a slander no spin-doctor could deny.
There is no question that the Obama administration has been severely damaged this summer, but it can still regroup if it doesn't panic. Most Americans want a fair health care system and are worried about protecting their families from devastating illness.
But at this point, they may be more worried about a White House that is not only losing the health care debate, but is failing to control the crazies on their side. Not exactly a healthy situation.
• Veteran TV news anchor Bill O'Reilly is host of the Fox News show "The O'Reilly Factor."