Huffpost Politics
THE BLOG

Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors

Donnie Fowler Headshot

The Republican Zenith Is Now

Posted: Updated:
Print

As Jon Stewart said in January, the Democrats still have 59 votes in the U.S. Senate, more than George Bush ever had when he did whatever the f**k he wanted. In the U.S. House, 14 Republicans have announced their retirement while only 12 Democrats are looking for the exits. And among the 50 state governors, Democrats hold a commanding majority that is unlikely to fall very far, if at all. To top it all off, President Obama's average approval rating during his first year is 57%, better than Bill Clinton and the same as Ronald Reagan in their first years.

Nonetheless, one would think that the Democrats' sky has fallen down around their ankles and that the Republicans' impressive wins in the Massachusetts Senate race, combined with wins for governor in New Jersey and Virginia last fall, mean there's no stopping that tea party express anymore. Git 'r done!

Look who's buying this poppycock. Right-wing talk radio and Fox News. Lots of lefty bloggers. The analysts in the mainstream press.

Good grief. Let's all go jump off a bridge, huh?

One year into Democratic rule, it's already over. Right? Go home, Nancy. Get out of town, Harry. Vacate the premises, Barack.

Twelve months ago, a black man with the middle name Hussein was inaugurated President of these United States. Ten months from now, Americans will decide how big a majority the Democrats get to keep in Congress. Do the math. This means we are about equidistant between that historical day last year and the elections this year. And think how far we have come and how much has changed politically in that time.

We simply can't know what's going to happen in this November's elections. But we could sit on our hands and fret. Or worse, we could copy the Republicans and re-ignite a Democratic civil war that will do nothing but make it all worse.

So, here's your question: how in the world do all these smart people know -- just simply and irrefutably know, as sure as the sun's gonna come up tomorrow -- that the Republicans are on the way to 1994 all over again? (Look! There's Newt Gingrich on a white horse!)

Here's another: why do folks think that Barack Obama -- who beat the next president of the United States (at least Hillary was in 2007) and then beat John McCain in states like Indiana and Virginia where no Democratic presidential candidate had won since 1964 -- is not going to figure things out?

Where is that bridge from which to launch ourselves? I'm getting impatient!

No doubt, the White House and the Democratic Senate have spent a lot of political capital trying to get the country out of the mess that the GOP has put us in. They have simultaneously pursued an agenda that prioritizes middle class economic opportunity (and tax cuts, too! no way.), health insurance reform (watch how much your health care costs rise without a change), a new way on energy & climate (Mother Nature bats last, ladies and gentlemen, not Limbaugh and Palin), and foreign policy (no more democracy at the end of a bayonet).

As a good friend of mine likes to say, with President Obama we are debating health care and climate change and with President McCain we would be debating more tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans and when to invade Iran. Change has indeed come a knockin'.

So, as the Republicans continue to pretend that George Bush was never president (when was the last time you heard one of them mention his name without prompting?) and with a strategy that even they admit has no coherent message, a White House that will learn and pivot, and an economy that is improving day-by-day ...

Mark this: the Republicans are enjoying their highest political point now. Right now.
But the GOP has problems -- short on money and (even more than the Democrats) fighting a civil war as purist jihadists fight their leadership. Come this November, the Democrats will still hold the chairmanships of those really cool committees in the House and Senate. And a Democrat will still have the keys to the White House.

Apparently, that bridge you were looking for leads nowhere.

---
Donnie Fowler
San Francisco