Ed Driscoll

2010: The Year That Humbled the DC Establishment

Hubris meets nemesis meets catharsis, courtesy of David Paul Kuhn of Real Clear Politics:

The media went from underestimating the tea party movement in 2009 to obsessing over it in 2010. Yet the establishment press still undervalued this movement’s appeal. A New York Times-CBS poll reported last spring that one-fifth of Americans identify themselves as tea party supporters. But Election Day exit polls found that two-fifths of voters considered themselves “supporters” of the movement.

The Republican establishment rode that tiger to the ballot box. Tea party activists rallied around deficit issues. And Republicans found religion because of it. The GOP offered a two-year sermon to Democrats on spending. But most Republicans quickly dispensed with those concerns by December, backing a tax-deal that added more to the debt than the stimulus bill. How the sanctimonious thrive in politics.

Several tea party favorites, Republican Senators Tom Coburn and Jim Demint, did oppose the deal. The GOP establishment has already learned that this tiger will not tame so easily. The tea party’s bite, among allies, will likely be worse next year.

So we are left with a liberal establishment that rode its hubris right out of town, a conservative establishment that rode back into town despite itself and a media establishment that was wrong about both directions. This is one story of our year in politics. And the moral matches the moral of our time. The political establishment often does not know best. Neither do the pundits that analyze it. And the smartest guy in the room might just be you.

Well, when compared to the legacy media and the outgoing class of far left Congressmen, who combined to massively overcrowd the dreaded short bus, that’s certainly grading on a curve:

If Pres. Obama’s signal fight in the coming year will be preserving ObamaCare, he can count on at least one ally in his struggle with Republicans: ABC News and in particular its Political Director, Amy Walter.

On GMA today, Walter issued a stern warning to Republicans who might have the audacity of hoping to repeal ObamaCare. The segment began with a montage of Republicans vowing to do do, including an oddly mocking replay of a Mitch McConnell moment.

Then Walter appeared and pronounced her admonition.  View video after the jump.

AMY WALTER: If Republicans decide they’re going to spend the first six months of this year going over and debating the individual mandate or ObamaCare or whatever they want to call it, I think that’s not going to sit very well with the electorate.

Yes, how dare they do precisely what they were explicitly elected to do!

Or as Kuhn wrote earlier in his essay:

The “professional left” blames its undoing on the bad economy. This is a convenient culprit. If the environment is at fault then liberals’ bear none. But awful economies do not dictate midterm collapses. Franklin Roosevelt proved that in 1934, when Democrats retained power despite failing, by that point, to lower the unemployment rate.

Some reporters still struggle to get their head around the public’s refusal to get behind Democrats’ major legislation. Politics Daily’s “Top 12 Political Surprises of 2010” included this telling thread: “The biggest mystery of 2010 may be Democrats’ failure to explain and sell their landmark health law, and the public’s sustained resistance to it despite the popularity of many of its components.”

The mystery is why it’s still such a mystery. About 85 percent of Americans had healthcare. Polls showed Americans were largely pleased with the status of that care. The one consensus complaint was cost. But Democrats sought to address everything but cost.

So from that point of view, perhaps ABC’s Walter is right: act fast by whatever means are available when dealing with political cancer, then debate the fine points later.

Further new year’s resolutions for Congress here.