Sen. Gregg has withdrawn his name for consideration as Secretary of Commerce, citing “irresolvable conflicts” with the Obama administration. And I don’t think anyone out there would describe the stimulus package’s path through Congress as a smooth one. Why is Obama having all this trouble?

There is the obvious reason: the establishment Washingtonians are not ready to disarm from twenty years of sharp-elbowed partisanship. Nancy Pelosi has been exploiting the Obama victory to push a left wing agenda which rivals anything from the Lyndon Johnson years. John Boehner and Mitch McConnell are perfectly content to veer hard to the right, capitalizing on any minority party’s luxury of not having to govern, and acting as if the current crisis somehow results from the past eight years being not enough Bush-ish.

Into this viper pit comes President Obama, hopefully (naively?) believing that his election victory, seen by him as a national outpouring of sentiment for a new political sensibility, will somehow crack these hardboiled eggs. He offers up a plan rich in both Republican and Democratic plums; in his view, he started with the bipartisan compromise. He checked disingenuity at the door. And the hyenas came howling from both sides.

No wonder the ride is bumpy.

Then there is a second reason for the turbulence, a far more terrifying reason. Maybe he is wrong. Even the most die-hard Obama supporters surely must gulp in anxious worry about the sheeer magnitude of this plan. He showed up at the poker tournament, and on the very first hand went all-in on a huge pot… using all of our retirement money. And this time, there is no mini-cam looking up through the table. I can’t tell if he’s holding pocket aces, or nine / deuce off suit. He is making a huge gamble, and the markets know it. International economies know it. And whether we supported or opposed his candidacy, we all know it too.

No wonder the ride is bumpy.