Philip Klein on setting realistic expectations for the GOP during a second Obama term:
To be sure, I think the fact that Republicans maintained control of the House still means that they can and should prevent sweeping new expansions of government from being enacted. But I don’t think that they can achieve meaningful reforms to entitlements, the tax code or health care. In tangible policy terms, the existence of a Republican House means that Obama’s second term isn’t going to see a repeat of the type of big bills we saw last time – an $800 billion economic stimulus, financial regulatory reform and Obamacare. House Republicans have the power to block gun control, “cap and trade,” and new stimulus legislation. But they aren’t going to get any policies passed that reduce the nation’s long-term spending trajectory in a meaningful way.
“Not making things much worse” isn’t such a bad thing in any political season. The trouble is that our current path is unsustainable, and action must be taken if we’re to get off of it.
That doesn’t mean Klein is wrong, of course. It just means we get to spend the next four years, at least, fighting vainly the old ennui.