And what, I wonder, have "th'opposed" learned from it so far? That the president has a glass jaw. That he has no stomach for a real fight, no willingness to get dirty and bloody, no appetite to push the procedural envelope or punish the wayward or take ownership. What we are witnessing, here and now, is the end of the Obama administration's domestic agenda--nothing less.
A couple nights ago I sat down with my father, and we were discussing the "crushing loss" of the 60'th seat by the Dems. We both agreed that the backlash was not exactly surprising, we both agreed that Ted Kennedy was scum and a GOP in his seat was delicious irony, and we both agreed, most importantly, that the Dems had been their own worst enemy during 2009.
Two things happened in 2009, and they both seem to be unsurprisingly painful for the Democratic Party now. The first is that they told the GOP to "drop dead" and decided to go on this extraordinarily partisan blowout of legislation. All I heard about last year was "supermajority this" and "can Pelosi get enough votes to overwhelm the House GOP?" And where was Obama, reining in his babbling little Dem children, telling them to behave and share the toys with the minority kids? Obama kept his mouth shut mostly, about the Dem free-for-all, and basically just said "let me know where to sign."
Second, the Dems decided they needed to squabble amongst themselves like voltures over a carcass. Having driven the hyenas away with their sheer numbers, they decided to get territorial and ambitious, and while they got no food eaten, they certainly made plenty of noise. Senators like Harry Reid and Ben Nelson decided that rather than get the single greatest piece of legislation evarrr through Congress as quickly as possible, it would be better to negotiate for their state, demanding absurd and unfair amounts of Medicaid dollars, because getting reelected is the sole reason they vote for or against legislation.
And look what happened. The quibbling went on, and on, and on. And now the Senate supermajority is gone and so is health care, so is Obama's ability to pass anything, and instead of a Democratic supermajority pushing around an angry GOP, you now have an angry GOP with filibuster numbers that feels righteous vindication; they are the saviors of America, the people have spoken!
I don't feel a lot of sympathy for the Dems, to be sure. I am sad that health care reform will likely founder and die, that was a pretty good idea. But when people are given a silver spoon and they use it to wipe their ass for 9 months, I have to feel a bit jaded. And so, apparently, did Massachusetts voters on Tuesday.
This all is especially sad, because the 59-41 Senate would already have made November campaigns aggressive enough, but now that the Supreme Court has opened the way for billions in campaign spending by corporations and unions, candidates are just going to get more and more vile, and their campaigns are going to become more and more saturating. I suspect in October to not see a single commercial break without at least 2 political candidate ads.