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Susan Estrich
10 Feb 2016
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Who's Depressed Now?


It seems hard to believe that the election was only three short weeks ago, and that even as the results were coming in proving Nate Silver (the much maligned New York Times blogger) right and the pillars of conservatism (Dick Morris, George Will and, of course, Karl Rove) completely wrong, Republicans thought they had it won and Mitt Romney had only one speech prepared.

Could that have been only three weeks ago?

Was it only three weeks ago that Republicans still believed in no new taxes and no "amnesty" for "illegal aliens"?

Was it only three weeks ago that Romney was the head of the Republican Party?

Not to defend the man, but he didn't lose in the kind of landslide that forced Democrats to change direction after losing in 1980, 1984 and 1988. It was a two-and-a-half-point election. The lopsided electoral vote was significantly shaped by close contests in battleground states.

Now Republican Party leaders (and I mean the top of the heap of elected officials and highly paid talkers) are in one of the hastiest retreats I've seen since the 1980s.

Is this the party that for the past four years has been insisting that all Americans — and not just those making less than $250,000 — deserve tax cuts lest economic growth be stymied? Is this the party that embraced the Arizona law targeting people who "appear" to be illegal immigrants?

Not this week.

The obvious reading of a two-and-a-half-point election is that the only mandate it gives the winner is to pull the country together, not to raise taxes on the wealthiest Americans. President Obama managed to take the former and turn it into the latter, boxing Republican leaders into a negotiation from which they cannot hope to get what they turned down in the last round of talks.

Grover Norquist, the godfather of the "no tax" movement, is finding himself fighting to remain relevant, while Sean Hannity has bought into what used to be known as "amnesty" (even though it never was), and Weekly Standard-bearer Bill Kristol says "it won't kill the country" to raise taxes on millionaires. Three weeks and two-and-a-half points go a long way.

Can it last?

Maybe. Not all Republicans are going gently into the night. Laura Ingraham is signing off of her radio show temporarily, but she's not giving up the fight. Responding to those who have called on Republicans to moderate their stance, she says, "Now that is depressing."

My guess is that she isn't the only one. The president is in "divide and conquer" mode, and it's working. What he's dividing is the Republican Party, talkers and all. I can't imagine that in a Congress that is increasingly divided between ideologues of both parties (thank political districting for that) the Republican members are all ready to turn on a dime because some of its leaders think that might be necessary to avoid the public wrath. National polls may say that Republicans will be blamed if we go off the fiscal cliff, but that doesn't mean individual Republican members in overwhelmingly Republican districts will be held responsible.

The good news for the president is that he doesn't need Republican unity. He's not triangulating the way President Clinton did. What he needs is enough Republican votes (and it's not that many when you start doing the math) to give a "deal" a majority in the House and a filibuster-proof 60 votes in the Senate.

And if that produces a Republican civil war, a party divided, an ideological battle in which Republicans are embroiled in their own internal blame game? To paraphrase Ingraham, now that will be depressing — for Republicans.

To find out more about Susan Estrich and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at



8 Comments | Post Comment
I hope your glass fills in 2013.
Comment: #1
Posted by: pb1222
Tue Nov 27, 2012 2:41 PM
Wow, gloat much. Instead of kicking the republicans in the nuts when their down, how about enlighting us about how the second Obama term will save America. How about explaining how taxing the rich will solve all our problems. This nation faces so many challenges. Foreign wars, nation building, a failing war on drugs, a 16 trillion dollar debt, borrowing 43 cents on every dolllar in spends, insolvent social security, insolvent medicare, insolvent medicade, rising health care costs, inflation, a new housing bubble, artificially low interest rates, subsidy problems, government corruption, secession, just to name a few and the list goes on and on. But by all means, tell me what a victory for you this is and what an awesome time you're having.
Comment: #2
Posted by: Chris McCoy
Tue Nov 27, 2012 5:46 PM
The Democrats are depressed because they don't have a president they can kick around like they did with Bush.
Comment: #3
Posted by: Liam Astlel
Wed Nov 28, 2012 2:38 AM
Ms. Estrich wrote: "The good news for the president is that he doesn't need Republican unity. He's not triangulating the way President Clinton did. What he needs is enough Republican votes (and it's not that many when you start doing the math) to give a "deal" a majority in the House and a filibuster-proof 60 votes in the Senate. "

This would be important IF the dear leader had a coherent plan to deal with problems facing this country. I haven't seen anything in the last four years that indicates he has any such plan or is capable of producing a meaningful one. If he gets his much anticipated tax on the rich (amounting to maybe $ 60 billion) and it doesn't do anything for the economy or the deficit, then what? When the 'dream act' doesn't solve our immigration/border problems, then what? If he loses the "obstructionist Republicans" excuse, how will thge presidents supporters continue to explain away his failures?

Be careful what you wish for all you Democrats, you just might get it.
Comment: #4
Posted by: Old Navy
Wed Nov 28, 2012 3:14 AM
My fear and it should be that of all Americans is that the nation is now becoming a one party country. That amounts to becoming Cuba or the USSR. We the People will no longer have a say; it will be the Progressive Party all the way!
Terrible times are coming!
Comment: #5
Posted by: Oldtimer
Wed Nov 28, 2012 8:28 AM
Mitt Romney was a candidate of great integrity and all Americans, especially those who supported him, should be grateful that our nation could attract such a fine person and have the benefit of his dedicated commitment to better government.

Republicans are disappointed because he was so well qualified to face the fiscal problems of the US and because he suffered from the injustice of a biased media and the slanders of public officials.

It is a swindle for any Democrat to say she is trying to help the Republican Party. If all the chief Republican figures died in a plane crash Democrats would rejoice in a manner which would define new bounds of tastelessness. So don't give the Republicans any advice. You don't want them to win elections.

Romney probably lost more votes because he supported the Massachusetts health care bill and flip-flopped on abortion than because he advocated low taxes. Sixty million votes is an impressive number. The GOP won the House, the governorships, and the state houses. We will see how they do in a future which might contain ten dollar gasoline and ten per cent unemployment.
Comment: #6
Posted by: Cowboy Jay
Wed Nov 28, 2012 1:02 PM
Wow ... hey, liberals ... the election is over, you're little Santa Claus won ... nice to see you still want to kick people when they're down.

Couple funny things are going on here: First, I laughed out loud at the line "Obama is in divide and conquer mode". Glad to see you all finally adnit that Mr. "Post'Partisan" has actually been the most divisive President in history. Yeah - setting rich against poor, men against women, race against race works if you want to get elected. Is that really, however, what we all want in a true leader?

Second - (are here's where your gloating is going to destroy you) ... the terrible fact that you are about to have to live in an Ayn Rand world (no, not the best parts, the worst). When John Galt went on strike (and took the best and brightest with him) ... he told people his strike did not consist of making demands, but rather, granting them.

So then ... yes!!! Totally raise taxes on "the rich" ... which according to your definition (and because of the tax code) means raising them on a great number of small businesses in the US (that will simply hire fewer people if they have less money). And I cannot WAIT until 2014, when the first actual COSTS of Obamacare start to hit, and people realize that the promised benefits are not there (they simply cannot be - the numbers flat out do not add up).

You've got your reality ... and it is going to be fun watching you all try to live in it.
Comment: #7
Posted by: Bob Foster
Wed Nov 28, 2012 6:42 PM
Re: Bob Foster

Amen to that.
Comment: #8
Posted by: joseph wright
Thu Nov 29, 2012 5:34 AM
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