What is it with the cripplingly short memories of commentators when it comes to US politics? Here we have just a couple of the many wailings that the Republican party is down for the count, a party in ruins possibly never to arise again.
Harken back, oh, five years, and what was the dominant meme doing the pundit circuit? Why, that the Democrats were down for the count, a party in ruins possibly never to arise again. Heck, wander back a little further through the archives, and you hear the same gnashing of teeth as Clinton left office in 2000. The very same rhetoric is being used against the Liberal Party here in Australia.
It’s in the nature of (healthy) democracies to swing like a pendulum, left, right, left, right, perphas passing through the centre long enough for a coalition or centrist govenment to form. But it’s natural, normal and quite healthy for parties to overextend, be punished by the electorate for doing so, fracture, reform and come back fighting again.
So liberals (in the US sense) shouldn’t count the Republicans out. Not yet. The soul searching they’re going through right now, and the reformation that is sure to come, is going to be targetted squarely at the present administration. So Democrats shouldn’t be complacent. They should assume the Republicans will be back some day, and keep careful tabs on how they do it, the leaders they fall behind, and the values they adopt. For not to remain vigilant will only invite disaster, if not at the next election, then at the end of Obama’s term.