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Nothing is the same this time around, other than the fact that Barack Obama once again got elected President. He isn’t the same as he was four years ago. The nation isn’t the same as it was four years ago. Even the Republicans aren’t the same as they were four years ago, and now they have lost the element of surprise that played such a large part in their ambush of a then first term President. I’m a long time hard core cynic of Republican politics, and I’ll admit that they caught me off guard at first also. I honestly didn’t expect Republicans to rival Stalinists of old in the lock step unbending public unity of their Party Line – full bore un-nuanced opposition to anything and everything that the newly elected President Obama proposed.

I can’t fully fault the President for failing to see it all coming. A lot had changed since the Republicans in Congress impeached the last Democratic President. Nine Eleven happened for one, and Democrats and Republicans frequently worked closely together in the months and years that followed to respond as one nation to an attack on American soil. Obama took office in the midst of another major crisis, a global economic melt down. The times again called for laying aside partisan differences wherever possible, so no doubt Obama didn’t anticipate Republicans holding a secret war council on the day of his first inauguration to plot defiance toward his every step. But now he’s seen it all, and so has the nation.

In January of 2009 we were, by and large, a frightened people. Most of us put our hope in a newly elected President, but fewer of us were firmly convinced that he had all the right answers. Obama was as yet untested and therefore he was also unproven, which left the Republicans room to sow their seeds of doubt. People, lots of people, were angry over what was happening to our economy, and anger breeds bitterness and the President is an obvious target when times are hard and stay hard.

Republicans milked that anger, and because President Obama made it his priority to fix our financial system rather than to demonize it, that gave the Right the opening they needed to demonize government instead. Hence the emergence of the “Tea Party” movement and the red electoral mid term tide that restored the House to Republicans in 2010. I don’t need to go into all those details because all of us were there, and that’s the point. We all saw that movie, we all were actors in it, America knows how it all played out and there is no need for any spoiler alerts. We even had another national election that rehashed everything that happened and Barack Obama won it, soundly.

America reelected the President and gave Democrats more seats in both he House and Senate. Despite what George W. Bush used to like to say, the voters are the real deciders in America and they decided – and did so without equivocating. Republicans may still hold a (smaller) majority of seats in the House of Representatives due to their gerrymandering after 2010, but Democrats got more votes. Voters don’t like to be ignored. They want our problems fixed and they chose a team to fix them, and this time they did so with their eyes wide open with none of the guess work that 2008 entailed.

We have fully experienced Republican imposed gridlock; it did not win rave reviews. If Republicans choose obstruction again they do so at their own deep peril. They don’t possess a winning hand, our economy is recovering. Mitt Romney tried to slip in under the recession wire and ride a rebounding economy to 8 years in the White House. He was confident promising voters 12 million new jobs because that is what experts agree can be expected naturally from a recovering U.S. economy. Americans wants to put the Great Recession behind us, and that means putting the politics of the Great Recession behind us also.

Public approval for the Tea Party has plummeted since 2010 and Sarah Palin is little more than a punch line for political jokes. America has little patience now for more of those extremist antics. Choose wisely G.O.P. The course they have been plotting is headed toward the Whigs.

Originally posted to Tom Rinaldo on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 06:47 AM PST.

Also republished by Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  The Republican brand won't survive (17+ / 0-)

    in the form we know it in today. Look for big changes in coming decades, because it's going to have to get more honest about its niche appeal.

    The oligarchs are going to need to find another vehicle, they know it, and they're terrified.

    It's here they got the range/ and the machinery for change/ and it's here they got the spiritual thirst. --Leonard Cohen

    by karmsy on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 07:01:38 AM PST

  •  They don't care. (12+ / 0-)

    They'll happily destroy the village to "save" it. They literally do not care.

    •  Many of those currently in office "don't care" (8+ / 0-)

      They got elected because of the right wing lurch of the Republican Party. Some of them no doubt actually believe they have to destroy the village to save it. But that does not make for a winning national coalition - and their zealotry could push the Republican Party into a death spiral that it would only pull out of weakened after much internal division after a number of years.

    •  They're safe in Gerrymanderstan (11+ / 0-)

      Another reason why they don't care - they've created districts for themselves where they MUST act as insane as possible - this actually HELPS them get elected, and re-elected. And when it comes down to a choice of helping the country they took an oath to protect, or being in office.... well I think we all know the choice that will be made.

      "Teach a man to fish, he can feed himself for a life. Don’t feed fish." - Future President Paul Ryan

      by Fordmandalay on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 07:44:40 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  We all should avoid complacency. (13+ / 0-)

        With the recent Virginia gerrymander, and the ongoing attempts to rig the states in the Electoral College vote, the Republicans are making a naked power grab that goes far against the intent of the Founders, and in fact the entire concept of democracy. The saddest thing of all, to me, is the Republican voter, who doesn't seem to care that this destroys their rights as well, for if the R's pull it off, they have shown an insensitivity to the rights of the people that is unprecedented in a "free" country.

        •  Agreed, but that is a risky move for them also (8+ / 0-)

          What form will the backlash take when Americans understand that had Republicans rigged a system like that for the 2012 elections BarackObama would have won over 5 million more votes than Mitt Romney and still the latter would have easily "defeated" him?

          If we go down that stream we are heading into uncharted waters. George W. Bush lost the popular vote and was elected but it was a narrow margin, and the electoral vote was razor thin. Even so it was at a low level unsettling to the nation.

          I think the response would be "explosive" if Republicans attempt to rule in the way you point to, though I'm not sure what "explovive" would mean in that context. Can you imagine the protests in Washington if a Republican President elect shows up to be sworn in after losing the popular vote by 6 millioin - which could happen under the Republican scheme?

          We need to make Americans understand where this could lead us before it is attempted, so that even making that attempt becomes toxic for the Republican Party.

    •  They don't care about their own families. Why (0+ / 0-)

      should they care about the rest of us. I am referring to their destructive behavior in climate change, the economy, health care and their stance on gun laws. This doesn't make any sense. Their own families have to live in this world too.

  •  Can we reserve the comparison of "Stalinists" (5+ / 0-)

    to politicians who send its citizens off to the Gulags to die by the millions (even thousands would be an OK comparison), and routinely "liquidates" its own military command and political allies? Because I am tired of hearing Dems being compared to Goering because of being "propagandists", Hitler because of gun control and about everything else, Bolsheviks because of Medicare, and every other kind of hyperbole?

    "You can die for Freedom, you just can't exercise it"

    by shmuelman on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 07:38:34 AM PST

    •  A fair concern (5+ / 0-)

      I see your point and you make a sound argument. I don't think it really applies here because my comment was very focused on a specific aspect of Stalinism that was not ideological - presenting a seamless united public front. And I chose not to resist the temptation of making that colorful charge given the obvious irony of Republicans, who so profess to believe in individualism, operationg in such a collectivist manner on the political front.

      Somehow it seems to me that invoking the metaphor of "Stalinism" doesn't carry the same explosive charge as a direct invocation of Stalin himself. I'm not sure why it sseems that way to me but it does.

      But you could be right. The fact that I am an unknown blogger who did not center my critique on accusations of Stalinism makes it unlikely to deeply offend either powers to b or the public, but you raise good food for thought.

    •  The GOPs policies will cause Americans to die... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      a2nite, ontario

      ... by the millions by depriving them of health care and the opportunity of basic subsistence living, all so more capital can be diverted up to the oligarchs.

      It IS a matter of life and death. Don't be afraid to say so.

  •  The "Confederacy Obstructs"! Face it! n/t (4+ / 0-)
    •  ^ Yes, really feel southern teahadists doing (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      SilentBrook, a2nite, ontario

      via political shenanigans what their forebears couldn't do via military might during the civil war

      History will look back and record Obama having weathered this political civil war ( as vs a millitary civil war) and pulls us through it lincoln esque with both the Fed Gov and the POTUS stronger

      •  PS another Lincoln esque issue Obama dealing with (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        SilentBrook, a2nite, Tom Rinaldo, ontario

        during the civil war with lincoln dealing with southern traitorous rebels he also had Banks at his back causing him trouble and even said  something (need to find exact quote)...southern guns at his front and northern banks with knives at his back

        The whole economic Banking system run amok that Obama is trying to re- re-regulate without them going into full revolt as well

        Obama is very much like Lincoln just the difference is political shenanigans as vs millitary revolt

  •  you 'didn't expect' the GOPs to relentlessly try.. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SilentBrook, ontario

    ... to derail, demolish and discredit Obama?

    Did you forget he is, uhhh .... black?

    What else did you expect from a pack of reactionary racists?

    That's what they are. Time to quit the disingenuous fiction they are anything else.

    •  I expected much of it... (6+ / 0-)

      ...but I still underestimated it. But that was then, now that America has knowingly re-elected Barack Obama after seeing him serve 4 years as President, Republicans risk paying a higher political price for pursuing the same strategy. They can permanently lose generations of younger voters and growing numbers of minorities if they stay at it.

      •  As repulsive as the Repubs are... (4+ / 0-)

        ...and as directly responsible for the effects of their "partisan at all costs" manifesto, I am still pissed at Dem leadership for enabling 2010 to happen.  That wasn't just your typical mid term counter-balance election.  That was an election that set the stage for the next 10 years with redistricting.  Reid, Pelosi and the president botched that one big time and we are going to suffer for it for a decade.  They are in large part responsible for why Michele Bachmann is still my "representative."  I will not donate to the Democratic party.  Only to individual candidates cuz the party structure is an in-club good ol' boy network that sucks sack.  

        "The opposite of faith is not doubt. It's certainty."

        by Simul Iustus et Peccator on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 08:29:08 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I have to agree here (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ontario, offgrid

          Democrats began 2009 in a very strong position having just won a sweeping victory in the 2008 elections. There was a powerful grassroots movement at their back but sadly it was virtually deactivated. Thankfully that lesson appears to have been learned though with the new follow up to the campaign action PAC Obama's team has just launched

        •  To me, Democratic voters let the side down after (0+ / 0-)

          the 2008 victory. They should have been on the phones, in the streets as soon as the GOP hijinks started, and have demanded that the President's agenda go through . They let him down and emboldened the GOP to continue the mayhem, and this allowed a perception to arise that the President was  not up to it. How else to explain  a shift to  the other end of the spectrum in 2 years? They should have got his back, then

          "...stories of past courage can define that ingredient..... But they cannot supply courage itself. For this each man must look into his own soul." JFK Profiles in Courage " Ontario

          by ontario on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 10:48:22 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  While I largely agree (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            ontario, offgrid

            The National Democratic Party in 2009 and 2010 alowed populism to be largely seized by the Right during a national economic crisis - that is often a prescription for electoral defeat.

          •  We were tired after 8 years of Bush and then the (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            fight to get Obama elected. We campaigned our hearts out.
            I had to explain Obama to Democrats. Some were mad at me for not voting for Hillary. I had to listen to insults from fellow Democrats about Obama being an empty suit. It got ugly.

            I still maintained an interest and participated in politics but boy was I tired of all of it.

            What I learned was that the non-presidential election years were really the most important. I still say that to everyone.

            But you ignore all the nasty voter disenfranchisement that has been going on much longer than Obama. I saw it happening in 2007 when low income families were enticed into loans they couldn't really afford. When the mortgages failed , they had to move. They  had to get their kids back in school and worry about things like driver's license updates later.

            In Ohio, the warning came with provisional votes and poorly trained poll workers. Many of us were treated like conspiracy theorists for questioning the vote count in 2004. I am more convinced today that Rove had a hand in Bush's winning. Rove's behavior on Fox news when told Ohio went for Obama was strange. I expected him to say,"What do you mean we lost? But I thought we already took care of this like in 2004". He sure worked hard to disenfranchise voters. He wasted a lot of GOP money. Now look at Virginian and tell me if things aren't getting crazier?

            •  Yeah, we were tired. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              And complacent only-vote-during-presidential-years voters sure dropped the ball big time.  But there is very little an individual voter can do in the face of machine politics that kow tows to the beltway.  I remember the vividly disheartening feeling of being resoundingly ignored by Dem pols.  I almost didn't vote myself in 2010 because I was so exasperated by Democratic leadership -- and that is not complacency, it is despair.  I started to believe that trope about how "all politicians are the same so it doesn't matter."  You work your ass off to elect a president and have 59 senators and a majority in the House and they did jack shit with it.  Gets me mad all over again just thinking about it.  And here I am stuck with Guano Lady...again.

              "The opposite of faith is not doubt. It's certainty."

              by Simul Iustus et Peccator on Thu Jan 24, 2013 at 01:52:32 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

    •  well, few thought they would start Inaug Night (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Tom Rinaldo

      at a restaurant in DC

      •  Since they had been carrying on like hyenas (0+ / 0-)

        ... since it had become apparent Obama was going to win, a couple weeks before the election, what the hell did you think they were going to wait for?

        Go back and Google it. The right-wing flacks and pundits were absolutely hammering Obama from the morning after the election, "No honeymoon, " "no learning curve," "everything's his fault," etc etc blah blah.

  •  Very well stated. (2+ / 0-)

    The Republicans are in a quandary of their own making, reduced to short-term tactics designed to win the next election but will prevent them from building a winning long-term coalition.

  •  "our economy is recovering" Huh? (2+ / 0-)

    Which country are you living in?

    • We have 20 million + people out of work.
    • We are adding part-time, low paying jobs to this economy.
    • Our GDP is languishing at 2% or under.. without government spending we'd be close to a recession.
    • Employees were unexpectedly hit with 2% payroll tax this month and were not happy to see they were hit when it was supposed to be only the rich who got a tax hike.
    • This month, millions of Americans are getting a look at how ACA (Obamacare) will affect our insurance premiums.. they are going up to cover all the mandated stuff that is starting to kick in.

    While you are correct the American public is not happy with the GOP, you may be surprised that Americans don't have a whole lot of slack for the Dems or the President either if things don't start turning around soon.

    Distractions like gun regulation "crises" will only last so long.

    As a matter of fact, I would go so far to say Dems ignore the budget and spending at their peril.  2014 comes very soon.

    •  18 million vacant housing units in the USA (2+ / 0-)
      Approximately 86.3 percent of the housing units in the United States in the third quarter 2012 were occupied and 13.7 percent were vacant.
    •  Yes the Economy IS recovering my factless friend (9+ / 0-)

      When he entered office at the beginning of the 2nd Great Depressionm unemployment was climbing past 7.5%.  It peaked at 10.3% at it's worst.  And now has declined to 7.5% and will continue to fall.

      So yes, we are recovering.  Because of the moves PBO made, including the most ballsy and foresighted move he's made so far.... the Bailout... which he help make happen BEFORE he was even President... (remember Grandpa McCain sitting in silence during his "campaign suspension")

      People who don't yet understand this guy Barack is in the top 5 most incredible Presidents this country has ever had, need to hit the history books on our Presidents and learn what great Presidents do.

      And he's just starting his 2nd term.....

      Take a breath brother and see the good that's been done and relish it.  Yes, there's still work to be done, but that's what second terms are for aren't they?

    •  for the record (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Eyesbright, SilentBrook, Tom Rinaldo

      20 million americans out of work is a republican talking point. the number as calculated by BLS is 12 million unless you are a conspiracy theorist and please spare me that the numbers are rigged. if they are rigged, they have been rigged since the beginning of tracking this information.

      wingers are responsible for close to 1.0 million high paying jobs through policies that cut teachers and first responders and by failing to pass American Jobs Act which they have sat on for 18 months, another 2.0 million jobs remain unfilled.

      In addition to the above, in the last half of 2008, 4.4 million jobs were lost due to recession in the last half of that year.

      GDP in last half of 2008 was -5.3% so while growth since is a whole lot better than that and in fact 3rd quarter GDP beat lower expectations of 48 economists. Growth will come from demand, demand comes from jobs. republican action.inaction has cost the economy 3.0 million jobs. In addition, it is now widely recognized that stimulus spending was too low given the financial crisis also due to republican intransigence.

      the wingers have the lowest approval number since they have been tracked and Boenher personally is below sea level. the wingers have to do a whole lot of repairing to prove to voters they can govern and be trusted and they have wasted two months after the election doing so and that trend is less likely to improve than GDP.

      if you look at a list of items voters are concerned about, dems passing a budget is no on even the extended list, also another right wing talking point.

      indeed 2014 comes soon and wingers don't look good less than two years from the election.

      mittens=edsel. no matter how much money is spent to promote it, if the product sucks, no one will buy it.

      by wewantthetruth on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 09:30:20 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Uh, no.. not sure what lists you are looking at, (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        but the budget is quite high on the list of American's concerns.

        Debt, Gov't Dysfunction Rise to Top of Americans' Issue List

        January 14, 2013
        Debt, Gov't Dysfunction Rise to Top of Americans' Issue List
        Fewer Americans now cite unemployment as most important problem

        PRINCETON, NJ -- Americans' concerns about the federal budget deficit and government dysfunction rose high enough in January to knock unemployment out of the top two slots on Gallup's "most important problem" list for the first time since 2009.

        The poll finds 20% of Americans mentioning the federal budget deficit as the top problem, compared with 18% mentioning dissatisfaction with some aspect of government or government leaders, and 16% naming jobs or unemployment.
        If you only get your news from dKos, I'm sure this surprises you.

        And as far as unemployment goes, yes, 12 million is the official number.  But all the people who have stopped looking make up the other 8 million or so.. and that's the only reason the UE rate is 7.8%.

        •  but I guess you will say (0+ / 0-)

          that it's Gallup, so it's a "right wing talking point"..  

        •  The Federal Defiicit is now the Right's core issue (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Lava20, a2nite, DianeNYS, offgrid

          It is virtually their basis of unity. Even tax cutting has lost some luster for them in comparison. I am not at all surprised that 20% of Americans view it as a top concern. 47% of Americans voted for Mitt Romney.

        •  Remember "Deficits-don't-matter-Cheney"? (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ontario, Bon Temps, Tom Rinaldo

          Americans weren't concerned about deficits until they were told to be by the GOP. They certainly weren't concerned when the GOP let two unpaid for wars go on during their watch.

          They weren't concerned enough when the FBI caseloads of mortgage fraud increased 5 fold 2001-2004.

          Americans weren't told to be concerned when they were fed the long standing claims by Greenspan that free markets let to more stable economies and long-term prosperity. Most of them do not read books by Nobel Prize winning economists like Joseph Stiglitz or Paul Krugman.

          No, we weren't concerned because we had faith that government actually cared about these things and would not leave us to default on our loans.

          Well,its a new day and we do care. Obama must care too because under his watch the creation of a Consumer Finance Protection Agency was created to avoid the deception to homeowners by mortgage brokers. Or did the Republicans do it behind his back?

          I think Americans also learned there is no magic pixie dust to get us out of the fix we are in. There is just a lot of hard work by sincere legislators to be done. Unfortunately,  there are more than a few frauds in the bunch. It will take time to get things right again.

          •  Agree it will take some time.. (0+ / 0-)

            And I couldn't agree more that we relied on government to have our backs, when all along both parties were stabbing us in the back rather than protecting us.

            But this American has always been concerned about deficits.  I understand the need to deficit spend in a crisis, but two wars should have been paid for up front.  And so should a lot of what we are spending on now.

    •  The economy is recovering as slowly as the GOP can (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      janetsal, Kimba

      let it. What more can they do to obstruct it?What do you want from them, anyway?

      The Democrats aren't ignoring spending or the budget.That's GOP trash talk.

      Obama can't afford to ignore the gun crisis. He really can't.
      I am shocked you can't see that. No, he isn't perfect but he is so much better than Romney and he is leaving a legacy that will change American voters notions of what good governance is: It is not leading your country into unnecessary wars and not paying for them. It is not ignoring the reality of climate change. It is not failing to do anything about health care because the bill you create won't be perfect but it is better than nothing which is what the GOP wants-nothing.

      After forty years of wandering in the desert of false notions of governance and you want change and perfection right now? You'll have to summons Reagan's ghost and tell him to fess up to phony free-market b.s. in front of the GOP and that might not even work.

  •  The GOP still dominates state level politics (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a2nite, slothlax

    and all politics is local.

    It is by no means "over" for either the oligarchs - nor the Republican party.

    They have a lot more "losing" to do, before the right wing considers and real "change".

    If not us ... who? If not here ... where? If not now ... when?

    by RUNDOWN on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 09:20:59 AM PST

  •  Find and replace "Obstruction" with "Sabotage" (9+ / 0-)

    and I think you have the proper tone for the situation.

    This is a great piece though, Tom. Very measured and rings true.

    The thing is though, that the Republicans tried to sabotage our economy to hurt Obama, and the stated endgame of those who run with Grover Norquist is to starve the beast - is that obstruction?

    Starve the Beast and drown it in a bathtub is sabotage, not obstruction.

    Tank the economy to hurt Obama is not obstruction, it's sabotage.


    Democracy - 1 person 1 vote. Free Markets - More dollars more power.

    by k9disc on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 09:22:37 AM PST

  •  Agree with all but the last word (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    The GOP itself will not go away nor will the Democratic Party. Their name brands are too valuable. The political centers of gravity w/in each party will always change, but I suspect the brand names are here to stay. To stay as long as the US Constitution stays.

    Scratch that. I agree with the last word.

    What I mean is, eventually GOP members will agree the party is gotten too Whiggy with it. The crazy leadership will collapse and more moderate hands will steer that party. Out of simple self-survival if for no other reason.

  •  No, I think it is to their benefit. (0+ / 0-)
    Among the senators up for election in 2014, there are currently 20 Democrats and 13 Republicans.
    Pretty much every single one of those Republicans is in a safe seat.  Most of the Democrats aren't.

    They'll almost certainly gain seats in 2014.

    •  Republicans most likely would do well (0+ / 0-)

      in those states whether or not their candidates were hard right or center right. Republicans have already blown winning several Senate seats that should have been theirs for the taking by nominating candidates too extreme for the mainstream. And while running hard right candidates may not cost them in some very red states, it costs the Republican brand significantly outside of hard red states to be associated with such candidates.

  •  The Republicans single (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    measure of the economy, the stock market, has had a considerable rally in the last few days-- which I suspect is attributable to the Republicans backing down a little on their obstructionism.

  •  Um, what? (0+ / 0-)
    Nothing is the same this time around, other than the fact that Barack Obama once again got elected President.
    Since the whole Republican strategy was based on doing nothing to make Obama look bad and thwart his reelection, I'd say the fact that he got reelected is the most important detail in the whole equation.  Now they're stuck with a failed strategy that doesn't even have a purpose anymore.  Why they don't adopt a new one is beyond me, but that's fine with me.

    There is truth on all sides. The question is how much.

    by slothlax on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 05:57:03 PM PST

    •  Yes of course (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      I meant that in a very literal sense. There was a Presidential election in 2008 and Obama won. There was a Presidential election in 2012 and Obama won. That is about it for sameness. The fact that Obama got reelected changes so many things and yes the Republicans seem stuck now with a failed strategy, as you said.

  •  Nothing will change. (0+ / 0-)

    Harry Reid is going to fold and Obama's second term is going to waste. That is all, carry on.

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