The Democrats and President Obama have won the budget standoff. We’ll now be confronted with stories and polls showing that the shutdown/budget drama has changed everything, scrambled 2014, the Republicans will never recover, all glory and honor to King Barry the Magnificent. The media will turn him into the Denver Broncos of politics soon enough.
But hold your media horses and don’t walk behind them. The ground is slick with their droppings.
The fact is, President Obama has picked four major fights in 2013.
1. Gun control. Obama began the year exploiting the tragedy in Sandy Hook, NJ to push for new federal gun control laws. He gave speeches, he pushed legislation, he demagogued — all the things he usually does. And he lost big. Gun and ammunition sales soared, and no federal gun laws passed. The gun control push may yet flip Colorado’s senate from D to R through recalls. Obama started the opening battle of 2013 with a defeat, and went 0-1.
2. Immigration. Obama and the Senate Gang of 8 next championed “comprehensive immigration reform.” The Senate passed a bad bill, but the House rejected it. Obama wanted one of two things out of that fight — either to pass a transformative bill that paved the path to legalization, then amnesty, then citizenship for the 12-20 million illegal aliens in the United States, or see the bill fail and use that as a weapon against Republicans. The bill has failed but Obama is threatening to bring it back up again after the current debt war is over. He expects the GOP House to roll for him, but the anger is so pervasive that they’re not likely to give him anything at all, and his poll numbers show no strength to strongarm them. So he is likely to go 0-2.
3. Syria. Remember when President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry tried to get the US to intervene directly in the Syrian civil war? Remember when they called Assad another “Hitler”? Well, Obama wants you to forget all that. But don’t forget it. He lobbied Congress to get into someone else’s civil war and Congress rejected him. The Democrat-controlled Senate wouldn’t even bring it up for a vote, meaning Obama’s own party couldn’t even provide him any cover for this boneheaded idea. It was a humiliating defeat for him, and left him 0-3 on the year. He’s looking like the New York Giants at this point.
4. The Obamacare/government shutdown/debt fight. Obama doesn’t want to live under a budget and refuses to keep our national debt down. He brags that the deficit is shrinking, but to the extent that that’s even happening it’s because of the sequestration cuts that he proposed and then opposed. But in the current fight, he won this one, though he failed to grab the brass ring he wanted, which was to undo the settled law known as sequestration. Still, it’s a win for him. The government will re-open and Obamacare has survived another challenge.
Obama’s overall record for 2013: 1-3. That’s hardly an inspiring record. He is the Washington Redskins of politics right now. He looks talented on paper but hasn’t actually won many games this season. He could go on a run of wins, but he is far from unbeatable.
Next year, Republicans will keep control of the House and the Democrats will have to defend more vulnerable Senate seats than the Republicans do. Enough good candidates who stay disciplined can flip control, leaving Obama stranded for his final two years in office. His signature law is writing more bad headlines for him every day.
I’m not trying to be a Polyanna here. Obamacare is awful and this president is lawless. Two years as the lone Democrat in control may make him more dangerous. But all is not lost, just because we lost the most recent round.