Party Over

It is popular now for media analysts to play taps for the GOP, acting like this routine moment is an paralleled one. But Republicans have seen down moments like this several times in my lifetime, and Democrats have rarely seen moments of dominance since FDR. No doubt, Obama is a celebrity. His team, however, is not so tough. As Pat Buchanan observes,
without its new superstar in the lineup, the Democratic Party is a second-division ball club. Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi are not terribly formidable. Last fall, the Congress they ran had an approval rating below Vice President Cheney.
And there's no reason to think this moment is going to last for very long.
After all, in 1952, Eisenhower was elected in a more impressive victory than Obama's, and ended the Korean War by June. And, in 1954, he lost both houses of Congress.
Things weren't much better for LBJ, who came into office basking in the raw emotion surrounding JFK.
Lyndon Johnson crushed Goldwater by three times the margin of Obama's victory. He got Medicare, Medicaid, voting rights and a host of Great Society programs. And, in 1966, he lost 47 House seats.
The Johnson years were, of course, a tragedy for the country, and we must fight to assure that Obama doesn't succeed in inflicting similar damage.
For if cap-and-trade passes, and Obamacare becomes law, the government share of GDP rises to European socialist levels, and, as we saw after the Great Society, there is no going back.
But to suggest that losing control of the government represents a permanent shift in voter preferences when it took an economic debacle to get Obama elected is a farfetched interpretation of events.
Ronald Reagan won a 44-state landslide in 1980, cut tax rates – and proceeded to lose 26 seats in 1982.
While the President enjoys the normal support of the American people at the 100 day mark, he faces an abnormal number of perils. That he will survive these without some strong concerns developing over the next year seems not very realistic.
Bill Clinton recaptured the presidency for his party in 1992 after 12 years of Republican rule. In 1994, he lost 52 seats and both houses of Congress.
The GOP is in a very strong position. What it needs is for some leaders to emerge. It can't move forward with Boehner and McConnell as its public face.
A party defines itself by what it stands for, and what it stands against. After the Bush era, the Republican Party has been given the opportunity to redeem and redefine itself – in opposition to a party and a president who are further left than any in American history.
On the other hand, who do Democrats have to match up against Bobby Jindal, Mitt Romney or Sarah Palin?