Fruits of Victory

Just last month Republicans seemed bitter that the State of the Union Address wasn’t some elaborate tip-of-the-hat by Obama to the power and glory of the Republican Party’s success in the midterm elections. Now the GOP’s new position is beginning to look a lot less formidable that one might have imagined. At the Plum Line, Paul Waldman sums it up succinctly:

Ironically, the Republicans had a lot more power when they were in the minority than they do now. With a Democratic Congress, the administration set out an ambitious legislative agenda, which Republicans were able to obstruct and subvert as long as they stayed unified, which they did very well. But once they took control, the administration all but gave up on legislating (apart from unavoidable tasks like passing budgets to keep the government open), which leaves Republicans with no fights to wage apart from the meaningless ones they manage to concoct on their own. And they can’t even figure out how to win those. Winning Congress has put Republicans in a position where they have little choice other than to make things worse.

No wonder these elephants with no memory want to believe the midterms represented some sort of unstoppable trend that will manifest itself again in 2016–you know, just like the 2010 elections. What they are experiencing now is like spoiled fruit.

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Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.