After all the sturm und drang -- four crucial years in America simply wasted thanks to a smallish group of politicians on the make -- we're back in business, or so it seems. The Republicans have been forced to recognize that, effectively, they're in the minority.
Preparing for a cascade of fiscal battles and a presidential push on guns and immigration, the House GOP is adopting a minority posture, hoping to achieve modest goals incrementally while serving as a check on Obama’s ambitious second-term agenda.
Republicans “have to recognize the realities of the divided government that we have,” said Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), the party’s budget chief and 2012 vice presidential nominee.
Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and his aides have taken to referring to the “Democrat majority in Washington” in statements in recent weeks.
The stance is a significant shift from the party’s mantra in the immediate aftermath of the November election, when Boehner and other leaders claimed one half of a dual mandate from voters who had reelected both Obama and the House Republican majority.
It also represents a resetting of expectations for Republican lawmakers and voters alike. ...The Hill
Mark Halperin writes at Time:
Right now, the most important dynamic in the fiscal cliff fight is the advantages the Democrats have: the President is more popular than congressional Republicans; Democrats are more united than Republicans on strategy and tactics; and the President is about to have unmatchable platforms with the inauguration and State of the Union.
My current hunch is that the immigration negotiations are going to help the White House in the cliff talks and guns aren’t going to be as big a gear jammer as some are saying.
And Alex Koppelman writes in the New Yorker:
... Liberals talk about House Republicans and their position on the ceiling the way conservatives talk about the leaders of Iran and the possibility that they’ll acquire nuclear weapons: as irrational actors, willing to risk annihilation—economic or literal, respectively—for their beliefs.
It’s not totally fair to paint the House G.O.P. this way, but it’s not completely unfair, either; they’ve certainly shown (in public, at least) every indication that they were willing to push the country and its economy to the brink in order to get what they want. And the stubborn, petulant behavior of the hard-liners in the caucus—rebelling against Speaker John Boehner without first devising a real plan for successfully topping him and trying to tank the Sandy relief bill are just the two most recent examples—has provided observers with plenty of reason to wonder about the Republicans’ ability and willingness to compromise in order to do what’s best for the country.
Come to think of it, that's what gerrymandering'll get you. Seats in the House but not the respect you want and need to sell your "agenda." The tea party may turn out to have been the 'flu bug Republicans needed to remind them of their mortality.