Mr. Obama seems to have sincerely believed that he would face a different reception. And he made a real try at bipartisanship, nearly losing his chance at health reform by frittering away months in a vain attempt to get a few Republicans on board. At this point, however, it’s clear that any Democratic president will face total opposition from a Republican Party that is completely dominated by right-wing extremists.
For today’s G.O.P. is, fully and finally, the party of Ronald Reagan — not Reagan the pragmatic politician, who could and did strike deals with Democrats, but Reagan the antigovernment fanatic, who warned that Medicare would destroy American freedom. It’s a party that sees modest efforts to improve Americans’ economic and health security not merely as unwise, but as monstrous. It’s a party in which paranoid fantasies about the other side — Obama is a socialist, Democrats have totalitarian ambitions — are mainstream. And, as a result, it’s a party that fundamentally doesn’t accept anyone else’s right to govern.
In the short run, Republican extremism may be good for Democrats, to the extent that it prompts a voter backlash. But in the long run, it’s a very bad thing for America. We need to have two reasonable, rational parties in this country. And right now we don’t.
This is the very same thing that has been going on in Michigan ever since Mike Bishop has led the obstruction parade in our Senate - but you would never know it, because it does not get reported as such. We won't see a voter backlash like we might at the national level, simply because people don't know what's going on.
Unfortunately, our Democrats have not made it a practice to point it out, choosing to remain silent or even embrace the extreme themselves, and therefore they will share the blame for the Legislature's incompetance. If they think that will save them in the fall, if they think that they can simply pass this off on the governor - they are dead wrong.