Comeback Kidding Themselves

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I heard a lot of lazy thumbsucking yesterday about how the Dems’ lame duck accomplishments somehow gave Barack Obama his mojo back, etc, etc, comeback kid and whathaveyou. Riiiiight.

Let’s face it, Obama and the Democratic Congress got four headline-making things done in lame duck: a very popular tax cut plan, a very popular international arms treaty, a very popular civil rights advancement, and a very popular bill to make sure sick 9/11 heroes get health care now. What you’ll notice about all four of those things is that they’re very popular — more popular than the somewhat popular immigration bill and unpopular spending bill, both of which failed during lame duck. That they didn’t pass before November says much more about the GOP’s pre-election political strategy, and the dysfunction of the Senate, than it does about Obama’s mojo.

What allowed congressional Democrats to do those things was a decision they made to wait out the GOP. With the election behind them, and holidays in front of them, Democrats made clear that they’d oblige GOP procedural delays right up until January 5, spotlighting their silly objections all the way.

Don’t confuse this for the new normal. The new normal will be tons of Republicans, and a bare minimum of common ground. Democratic elected officials seem to understand this, but based on the coverage yesterday, it’s not clear that the media, and therefore Obama supporters, really do.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Brian Beutler is TPM's senior congressional reporter. Since 2009, he's led coverage of health care reform, Wall Street reform, taxes, the GOP budget, the government shutdown fight and the debt limit fight. He can be reached at brian@talkingpointsmemo.com
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